Probiotics are made of good live bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body. You constantly have both good and bad bacteria in your body. When you get an infection, there’s more bad bacteria, knocking your system out of balance.
Good bacteria helps eliminate extra bad bacteria, returning the balance. Probiotic-supplements are a way to add good bacteria to your body.
How Probiotics Are Good for You
They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.
Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:
- Diarrhea , especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission (a state of little to no disease activity) and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
- Irritable bowel syndrome . Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isn’t as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:
- Preventing and treating yeast infections
- Preventing and treating urinary tract infections
- Lactose intolerance
- Skin conditions such as eczema
- Treating certain stomach and respiratory infections, especially in children
- Treating allergies and asthma
- Decreasing inflammation, such as from rheumatoid arthritis