Probiotics have been used to improve digestive health by increasing the number of good bacteria in the stomach. They can come in tablet form or liquid when they are added to yoghurts. When an individual is ill their levels of good bacteria can be affected by the illness itself or in some cases the treatment. When Probiotics are consumed, they compete with the bad bacteria for space and food in the stomach. Probiotics also help stimulate the immune system to help prevent illness and infection.
Probiotics are thought to be helpful in the prevention of diarrhoea when taking antibiotics as well as helping to ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome/ IBS symptoms. There are however several myths about the benefits of Probiotics. There is currently no evidence that Probiotics can treat Eczema.
For most people taking Probiotics is safe, if your immune system is healthy you should not need to worry about any negative side effects.
As they are food supplements Probiotics are classed as food not medicine. This means that they do not need to go through the rigorous testing that medicines do. This means that some of the benefits may be exaggerated by the manufacturer. It is likely that there will be a large difference in benefits between the medical grade Probiotics which have shown promise in clinical trials compared to what can be purchased in retail shops.