Should You Be Pro Probiotics?
You've probably heard of probiotics, especially if you spend any time in the yogurt aisles of supermarkets. But what are they exactly?
Are probiotics good for your health? And should you join the millions of Americans who already take them?
To answer those questions, here's a primer.
First, most probiotics are live cultures of microorganisms. These bacteria are similar to or just like those that are naturally found in your gut and help your body function properly.
You can find probiotics not only in yogurt, but also in other fermented dairy products (such as kefir and aged cheeses), some nondairy foods (including kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh,) and dietary supplements.
And what about their health benefits?
There's evidence that some probiotics may help prevent diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics. Some may also ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or lactose intolerance.
But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved any health claims for probiotics. And more research is needed to be certain of how they may—or may not—boost health.
Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any probiotic supplement. They have a good safety record in generally healthy people. But they may cause severe side effects in people with serious health problems.
Interested in other awesome content? Be sure to check out other Healthy Living articles too.
SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.
The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.