Health Tip: Understanding Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms (such as bacteria) that are sold as supplements, included in topically-applied skin creams and added to food products such as yogurt.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any health claims for probiotics. But the some people take probiotics for potential health benefits.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers this information about probiotics:

  • Probiotics may help prevent diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics. They also may help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Although some probiotics have shown promise in research, strong scientific evidence to support the use of probiotics for most conditions is lacking.
  • Studies indicate probiotics typically have few side effects.
  • Probiotic products contain different types of microorganisms and have different effects that vary from person to person.

The agency says you should talk with your health care provider before you take a probiotic supplement.


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