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What do probiotics do?

ANSWER

Probiotics help move food through your gut. Researchers are still trying to figure out which are best for certain health problems. Some common conditions they treat are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)
  • Antibiotic-related diarrhea

There is also some research to show they help with problems in other parts of your body. For example, some people say they have helped with:

  • Skin conditions, like eczema
  • Urinary and vaginal health
  • Preventing allergies and colds
  • Oral health

SOURCES:

Medline Plus: "Saccharomyces boulardii."

American Gastroenterological Association: "Probiotics: What They Are and What They Can Do for You."

Ciorba, M. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2012.

Cleveland Clinic: "Probiotics."

Floch, M. Pharmaceuticals, Sept. 24, 2014.

Heller, K. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Oral Probiotics."

Neal-McKinney, J. PlosOne, Sept. 4, 2012.

The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: "Health benefits of taking probiotics."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on July 30, 2020

SOURCES:

Medline Plus: "Saccharomyces boulardii."

American Gastroenterological Association: "Probiotics: What They Are and What They Can Do for You."

Ciorba, M. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2012.

Cleveland Clinic: "Probiotics."

Floch, M. Pharmaceuticals, Sept. 24, 2014.

Heller, K. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Oral Probiotics."

Neal-McKinney, J. PlosOne, Sept. 4, 2012.

The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: "Health benefits of taking probiotics."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on July 30, 2020

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