Probiotics - why and then which one?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits. They're usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, and are often described as 'good' or 'friendly' bacteria.

They are thought to restore balance in the gut and manufacturers claim all sorts of health benefits including the prevention of antibiotic induced diarrhea, digestive issues, necrotising enterocolitis, allergy, colic, liver disease name a few! What we need to remember is that as probiotics are deemed as a "food supplement" they are not regulated by the FDA and therefore don't undergo rigorous testing.

We cannot be sure that

  • you will reap the benefit that has been "promised"

  • the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label

  • the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect

  • the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut

So what can probiotics ACTUALLY do for you?

- The prevention of antibiotic induced diarrhoea

There's fairly good evidence that taking high doses of some probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii) while taking antibiotics can help prevent children getting antibiotic induced diarrhoea.

- A reduced duration of infectious diarrhoea

They might shorten the duration of a tummy bug by approximately one day