Probiotics are one of Consumer Reports “11 supplements to consider”* as they have been shown to likely be safe for most people and equally likely to be effective in appropriate doses for certain conditions. Probiotic products contain helpful, viable, and safe bacteria and/or yeasts that assist in balancing the levels of indigenous microorganisms in the human body.
Claims and Purported Use
Generally speaking, the normal human gastrointestinal tract contains hundreds of different species of bacteria, referred to as intestinal flora. The right balance of bacteria types is what promotes digestive health. When the normal balance of these bacteria is altered by sickness or antibiotic treatment, the most common effect is diarrhea. Probiotics are possibly effective for preventing diarrhea while taking the antibiotics by restoring the balance of the intestinal flora to its optimal mix. Additionally, probiotics may also produce substances that inhibit disease-causing bacteria via nutrient competition and stimulate the body’s own immune system.
TESTED & TRUE
Selected Potential Side Effects
Gas. People with poor immune function should check with his or her physician prior to taking a probiotic.
Selected Drug Interactions
Might cause infection in people taking immunosuppressant drugs.
The recommended dosage for probiotic supplements varies by strain and use. The typical amount is usually around 1 billion to 10 billion cells (of CFUs) per day. On a label, they will appear as 1 x 109 or 109 for one billion units and 1 x 1010 or 1010 for ten billion units.
Reference Guide for Tested and True Dietary Supplements
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*reference: Consumer Reports Health