When you hear about bacteria there is the connotation of something bad. That is because many bacteria are known to make human sick and that’s why doctors tell us to take antibiotics. But do you also know that there are good bacteria as much as there are bad ones? What are the good bacteria, these are called Probiotics. Why are they good? Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for our health. They help us keep the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestine or digestive system. Basically Probiotics are the bacteria that help keep your gut healthy. There are many types of probiotic bacteria in the human digestive tract; they help reduce the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. The largest group of these probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which lactobacillus acidophilus is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance.

When do you need probiotics – It can be used to prevent diarrhea, gas, or cramping caused by antibiotics. When you are prescribed antibiotics for a long time it may end up killing both the bad bacteria and the good bacteria in the process of curing your sickness. When this happens you will have a lot less of the good bacteria in your digestive system. The decrease of the good bacteria will lead to the development of digestive problems. Therefore taking probiotics will help replace the lost beneficial bacteria and can help prevent diarrhea. Probiotics has also been found to help prevent other causes of diarrhea, infection in the digestive tract or help control immune response as in inflammatory bowel disease.

Probiotics are regarded as food supplement so you can purchase it from health food stores without any prescription from a doctor.

Safety concern – Probiotics are just like what we already have in our digestive system so there is no special safety risk there. Some are already known historically like in fermented foods and cultured milk products. But to be on the safe side caution in case of very small children, elderly people or those with weak immune system.

Types of probiotics – the most common type are Lactobacillus. This is the one you get in yogurt; it can help with diarrhea or in lactose indigestion. The second available probiotics is Bifidobacterium which can also be found in dairy products. This one may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

In conclusion, as with any supplement you should notify your personal physician if you are taking any Probiotics for a long time or when you are under doctor’s care for a medical condition.