You may be hearing and seeing more about probiotics these days, but these “friendly” bacteria are nothing new. Indeed, the word probiotic is of Greek origin and means “for life.” “Almost every culture has a fermented food that contains probiotics,” says Donald Novey, MD, an integrative medicine physician with the Advocate Medical Group in Park Ridge, Ill. Products like yogurt, miso (fermented soybean paste), and some juices and soy beverages contain probiotics.
Bifidobacteria were first isolated from a breast-fed infant by Henry Tissier, who also worked at the Pasteur Institute. The isolated bacterium named Bacillus bifidus communis[56] was later renamed to the genus Bifidobacterium. Tissier found that bifidobacteria are dominant in the gut microbiota of breast-fed babies and he observed clinical benefits from treating diarrhea in infants with bifidobacteria.
Probiotics are safe in the amounts you normally find in food. In general, most healthy adults can safely add foods or dietary supplements that contain probiotics to their diets. Some individuals might experience gas (flatulence), but that generally passes after a few days. But which strains of bacteria are most helpful or which doses are best isn't always known. And if you are lactose intolerant, you can experience stomach discomfort if you try to get your probiotics from dairy products. In that case, consider using a dairy-free probiotic.
"This suggests that probiotics should not be universally given as a 'one-size-fits-all' supplement," study co-senior author Eran Elinav, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said in a statement. However, it may be possible to tailor probiotic treatments to the individual, based on the types of microbes already in his or her gut, as well as other factors, so that he or she gets the most benefit from probiotics, the researchers said.

"We found an increase in the number of good bacteria" among the babies given the probiotic says Underwood. By measuring samples of the babies' poop, they documented a 79 percent increase in levels of bifidobacteria, a type of bacteria that is thought to be protective. At the same time, Underwood and his team also measured a decrease in potentially harmful bacteria such as clostridium in the babies' guts.


In addition to the prophylactic effect of stocking your gut with good bacteria, there are some probiotic strains that have also shown promise in treating symptoms of autoimmune disorders, including L. Paracasei and L. Acidophilus. Others, like B. Lactis, could help prevent respiratory infections. Renew Life Flora Extra Care has all three targeted bacteria strains at 30 billion CFUs per serving.
Matsumoto S., Hara T., Hori T., Mitsuyama K., Nagaoka M., Tomiyasu N., et al. (2005) Probiotic Lactobacillus-induced improvement in murine chronic inflammatory bowel disease is associated with the down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines in lamina propria mononuclear cells Clin Exp Immunol 140: 417–426 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
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If you’re seeking the best probiotic for women and men, you want a combination of proven effectiveness and excellent quality. Probiotic All-Flora is formulated with probiotics in clinically relevant amounts that work. A revolutionary approach to total microbiome health, Probiotic All-Flora delivers two types of clinical strength flora: friendly bacteria and beneficial yeast. Our probiotics are DNA-tested to assure quality and identity by delivering the exact, researched strains every time. The rebalancing yeast provides a more complete approach to supporting gut flora than just having friendly bacteria alone—since our gut is home to both bacteria and yeast species.
Your gut comes in continuous contact with important nutrients your body needs, but also toxins, food additives, microbes, and drugs that regularly pass through your digestive tract. Your gut has a huge task to not only serve as a porous filter for the building blocks of life but also to keep out all the detrimental substances you may be exposed to. Beyond being a gatekeeper, your gut digests food and absorbs nutrients, maintains an immune barrier, and helps you detoxify, all while maintaining the correct balance of healthy flora or probiotic (from the Greek pro = "for"; biota = "life") bacteria.
SCFA molecules are a subset of fatty acids that are churned out by some types of gut microbes during the fermentation of fiber. They're associated with maintaining gut health and protecting against disease, so a probiotic containing baby-poop microbes could provide health benefits by boosting SCFA production in a compromised digestive system, researchers reported in the new study. [5 Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health]
Ulcerative colitis (UC). Several trials have been published examining probiotics in the induction and remission of UC, however, only few of these are RCTs. Most are with different probiotic formulations and overall have been performed in a relatively small number of patients (Table 3). For induction of remission, the first and largest controlled trial to date published by Remnacken showed no additional efficacy of E. coli Nissle 1917 than steroids, mesalazine, and antibiotics [Rembacken et al. 1999]. Three additional trials, all small in number of patients and of short duration of therapy and with variable standard of care, showed improvement in various measures of disease activity and even cytokine profiles [Furrie et al. 2005; Kato et al. 2004; Tursi et al. 2004]. Mallon and colleagues performed a Cochrane database systematic review, but no formal meta-analysis was possible due to differences in probiotics, outcomes and methodology, and concluded that probiotics when combined with other therapies did not improve remission rates [Mallon et al. 2007]. However, this analysis showed a reduction in disease activity in mild to moderately severe UC. A second systematic review published recently also suggested a similar efficacy profile between probiotics and anti-inflammatory agents [Zigra et al. 2007]. With regard to maintenance of UC remission, probiotics have been tested in a larger number of patients (Table 3). One trial by Kruis and colleagues tested E. coli Nissle 1917 and found no difference in relapse rates in patients on a probiotic versus mesalamine [Kruis et al. 2004]. A trial by Zocco and colleagues also found no difference in relapse rates at 6 or 12 months when comparing Lactobacillus GG with mesalamine with a combination of the two [Zocco et al. 2006]. Those patients who took the probiotic did appear to have a longer time to relapse. All of these studies support the idea that probiotics may be as effective as mesalamine in maintaining remission in the short-term trials.

According to the NIH, probiotic supplements contain many microorganisms that are the same as or similar to the ones that naturally live in your body, but there's still a lot of research to be done on probiotics and how they work. It's important to keep in mind that not all probiotics have the same effects and that taking probiotics isn't a guarantee of better health. And while they're generally safe for healthy people to take, with side effects being limited to mild digestive discomfort, they could interact with certain medications or pose health risks to people with underlying medical problems — that's why it's smart to talk to your doctor before getting started with a supplement.
If you get recurring yeast infections... The itch-meets-ouch infection is caused by an overgrowth of bad bacteria. To "recolonize" your vagina, you want the good bacteria that's found there: lactobacillus acidophilus. Go the direct route. Use 2 to 5 billion CFUs in an OTC probiotic suppository, or wet an oral capsule to soften, then insert it. Pros suggest doing this every other day at the end of your period (three times total for prevention.
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Bacteria die out over time. Some supplements list the potency when they were manufactured (before they rode in a truck, sat on the shelf at the grocery store, or hung out in the kitchen cupboard for a few months). In this case, there could be dramatically fewer viable bacteria by the time you consume them than when they were first encapsulated, and good bacteria are no good to you dead.
Deep Immune Support Probiotics started with a simple premise: Most probiotic strains present on the market today cannot survive the acidic environment of the human digestive system. Additionally, most of the most powerful probiotics require refrigeration, meaning they won’t survive standard delivery services or even room temperatures during your commute or travel.
There are numerous types of probiotics and each has different characteristics. They may be combined with others or appear on their own in powder, tablet or liquid dietary supplements. At the moment, foods that naturally contain probiotics are not eaten regularly in the UK and supplements are becoming more popular. The most common probiotics include lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium. These differ as they are made up of different types or strains of bacteria, and are recommended for different clinical conditions. Lactobacillus acidophilus have been clinically shown to lower the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and can also result in a shorter length of stay in hospital for some. In order to experience this benefit, a vast quantity of food containing probiotics would need to be consumed. It is therefore easier and more effective to take a recommended probiotic supplement. 
Given that you can get probiotics from the food you eat, you don't necessarily need to take a supplement, and Keatley says she prefers food sources of probiotics to supplements. However, she adds that "There are times when you really need a boost." One example might be during or after a course of antibiotics, as long as you have your doctor's OK, since antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria: "Seeding your gut with good bacteria can lay the groundwork for a faster recovery and less constipation and diarrhea," Keatley points out. Angelone echoes Keatley's emphasis on food sources of probiotics, but also says that supplements can also play a useful role in "maintaining a healthy gut bacteria colony."
This is also known as S. boulardii and is the only yeast probiotic. Some studies have shown that it is effective in preventing and treating diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics and traveler's diarrhea. It has also been reported to prevent the reoccurrence of C. difficile, to treat acne, and to reduce side effects of treatment for H. pylori.
Previous studies have investigated the use of probiotics — those healthy gut bacteria — by testing their impact in guts already affected by disease, the researchers wrote in the study. For the new investigation, they wanted to see how a probiotic would impact SCFA production in a healthy gut. They chose to work with baby poop because infants' gut microbiomes are typically free from age-related diseases "such as diabetes and cancer," and because of the sheer abundance of infant feces at their disposal. ("Their poop is readily available," Yadav said.)
For guys who prefer to take a swig rather than swallow a pill, there are these liquid probiotic drops from Probonix. The grape-flavored adult liquid is formulated to help with everything from bloating and gas to sinus issues and allergies. Containing 12 strains of probiotics and 1 billion cultures per serving, the manufacturer says it passes into your gut 10 times more effectively than other probiotics.
Many women eat yogurt or insert it into the vagina to treat recurring yeast infections, a "folk" remedy for which medical science offers limited support. Oral and vaginal administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn't enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. (Vaginosis must be treated because it creates a risk for pregnancy-related complications and pelvic inflammatory disease.) Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.
For the generally healthy person, you can make a very good case to trust your own body to select and grow the best bacteria that are already in everyone. The foods you eat greatly influence your bacterial mix. Although probiotics offer many positive health benefits, there is no guarantee that they can make the trip from your mouth to your lower gut intact. Although adding more prebiotic fiber to your diet cannot guarantee safe passage of probiotics, it can influence the healthy bacteria that already live in your system. If probiotics help you, eating prebiotic foods or supplements will cause those healthy bacteria to flourish.
Eating more foods that are naturally rich in probiotics, like yogurt, kimchi and kefir, can help restore balance in your gut and create more “good” bacteria to fight off inflammation from “bad” bacteria. But what about food products that have probiotics infused into them? Indeed, manufacturers are banking on a new crop of gut-friendly products. From chocolates and granola bars to juices and tonics, nut butters, bottled water and even air sprays, you can’t escape the probiotic movement.
Hi Elaine - Most probiotics sold in pill form are dried in a way which keeps them in a dormant yet still viable state, coming "back to life" once exposed to water/nutrients. Although this helps to preserve them, it is not a guarantee that all will survive. If exposed to moisture or excessive heat during storage, they can become non-viable. This is why ConsumerLab.com tests probiotic supplements to determine how many viable cells they contain (see the results here: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/probiotics/#results). For more information about this and withstanding stomach acid, see the "What to Consider When Buying" section of the Probiotics Review (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/probiotics/#buying), and this CL Answer: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/probiotics_enteric_coating/.
While it produces no sensations for you to detect, an entire natural ecosystem is living in your digestive tract. In the average person, 100 trillion microorganisms reside in the healthy bowel with more than 500 different species accounted for in their vast numbers. Some of these bacteria are harmful and can produce symptoms of illness. However, there are healthy good bacteria present to keep them in check. Among these bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium or bifidus. In some people, levels of the healthy bacteria are below the norm. Low levels can be caused by taking antibiotics, which kill good bacteria. This allows harmful bacteria to reproduce rapidly and cause various symptoms. Probiotic rich foods and dietary supplements may help to re-balance the gut. They add live cultured good bacteria to the stomach. In addition, the healthy bacteria may assist with digestion, strengthen the immune system and help nutrients become absorbed more efficiently.
One review of probiotics benefits for necrotizing enterocolitis was bold enough to say, “The results confirm the significant benefits of probiotic supplements in reducing death and disease in preterm neonates. The … evidence indicate that additional placebo-controlled trials are unnecessary if a suitable probiotic product is available.” Regarding sepsis in developing countries (where it is overwhelmingly more common), a 2017 randomized, controlled trial claims that a large number of these cases “could be effectively prevented” if mothers are given a synbiotic (probiotic and prebiotic together) that contains the probiotic strain L. plantarum.
Because poor gut health is related to autoimmune responses like those found in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), probiotics have been a proposed treatment option for the condition. Only a few studies have been conducted in humans, and only one testing L. casei 01, a particular probiotic strain, was able to find a decrease in RA inflammation and progression of the disease. 

Caution: As with any dietary or herbal supplement, you should advise your healthcare professional of the use of this product if you have any medical condition or are taking any medication. If you are nursing, pregnant, or considering pregnancy, consult your healthcare professional prior to using this product. Discontinue use and contact a healthcare professional if you experience an allergic reaction or side effect. Read label ingredients carefully before use and avoid use if known sensitivity to any of the ingredients. Do not exceed suggested use. Keep out of reach of children.
^ Jump up to: a b c Maria Jose Saez-Lara; Carolina Gomez-Llorente; Julio Plaza-Diaz; Angel Gil (2015). "The Role of Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria in the Prevention and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Other Related Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Human Clinical Trials". Biomed Res Int (Systematic review). 2015: 1–15. doi:10.1155/2015/505878. PMC 4352483. PMID 25793197.
I didn’t know there was much of a difference between probiotics until I did some research. After realizing the ones I had been getting were probably not doing anything for me, I wanted to invest in a better option. This brand checked all the boxes and was still really affordable! I’ve been taking them for about a week now and I can tell a difference! The first few days I didn’t feel too great but realized it was because this probiotic was actually doing something for me and rebalancing my gut. Now I feel less bloated and all around healthier. I will definitely be getting more!
What's more, people who have serious heart issues commonly have S. mutans in their heart valves—this is an undesirable type of bacteria that’s actually more often found in the mouth. If your oral microbiome is in balance, S. mutans are normally kept in control by more beneficial species, but if things get out of balance, they can reproduce and make their way into your bloodstream via openings in your gums, compromising your cardiovascular function.3
What exactly do probiotics do? They are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestive tract. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

Dr. Vincent M. Pedre, medical director of Pedre Integrative Health and president of Dr. Pedre Wellness, is a board-certified internist in private practice in New York City since 2004. His philosophy and practices are a blend of both Western and Eastern medical traditions. He is a clinical instructor in medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and is certified in yoga and medical acupuncture. His unique methodology is best described as integrative or defined by a functional, systems-based approach to health. With his holistic understanding of both sides of the equation, he can help each patient choose the best course of action for their ailments to provide both immediate and long-term relief. His holistic approach incorporates positive, preventive health and wellness lifestyle choices. Dr. Pedre Wellness is a growing wellness platform offering health-enhancing programs along with informative social media and lifestyle products, such as dietary supplements, books, and weight-loss programs.
For moms-to-be who supplement with probiotics during pregnancy, there’s an added bonus. A study suggests that taking a probiotic supplement during the first trimester of pregnancy through the end of exclusive breastfeeding may help you lose weight after your baby’s arrival. This is in addition to the multitude of probiotic benefits for your newborn as well!

Probiotics' side effects, if they occur, tend to be mild and digestive (such as gas or bloating). More serious effects have been seen in some people. Probiotics might theoretically cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics, especially in people with underlying health conditions. They could also cause unhealthy metabolic activities, too much stimulation of the immune system, or gene transfer (insertion of genetic material into a cell).

Twenty-one volunteers were given a course of antibiotics and then split into three groups. The first group were left to let the microbiome recover without any interventions, the second group were given probiotics and the third were given a fecal transplant of their own gut bacteria which was collected before the antibiotic treatment. The study found that the probiotics easily colonized the gut of the second group, but worryingly, rather than aiding the return of the normal gut microbiome, the probiotics actually significantly delayed it for months compared to both the group that had no intervention and the people who received a transplant of their own gut bacteria.
"Want to feel happier, get off SSRIs? You have to mind your gut," I told Dawn before explaining the often-overlooked gut-brain connection. It isn’t just depression that gut health affects but headaches, migraines, allergies, autoimmunity, weight gain, acne, skin rashes, yeast infections, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, immune challenges, and even the way you sense pain can be linked to your gut health. So as a medical doctor who specializes in gut health, when I say things start in your gut—I really mean it!
Some of their benefits are universal, no matter your age or gender: supporting gut health, healthy skin, weight management, and strong teeth. But gender-specific probiotic benefits also exist. For instance, women who take probiotic supplements may be more likely to maintain vaginal and breast health, and expecting mothers who take probiotics can get support with some of the less pleasant side effects of pregnancy.
If you struggle with post-meal gas, bloating, and other problems, your body might not be making sufficient digestive enzymes. Gut imbalances, stress, and age are among the factors that inhibit the digestive process. For many patients, supplements that replenish digestive enzymes can reduce or eliminate those problems, especially while you’re healing your gut.
Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome. Archived Coursera course by Prof. Rob Knight. Imagine if there were an organ in your body that weighed as much as your brain, that affected your health, your weight, and even your behavior. Wouldn’t you want to know more about it? There is such an organ — the collection of microbes in and on your body, your human microbiome.
But what if investigators could design probiotics to treat specific individuals? Many researchers think personalized probiotics are the most promising path forward for patients with compromised gut microbiomes. Last year Jens Walter of the University of Alberta and his colleagues published a study that gives a glimpse of this potential future. The researchers decided to see what it would take to get the bacteria in a probiotic to successfully colonize the intestines of 23 volunteers. They chose a particular strain of Bifidobacterium longum that earlier studies had indicated could survive in the human intestine. In the study, the volunteers consumed either a drink containing 10 billion live B. longum bacteria or a placebo in the form of a glucose-based food additive (maltodextrin) each day for two weeks. Periodic fecal samples revealed higher than typical levels of B. longum in participants who did not consume the placebo.
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