Probiotics are all the rage – but are they really good for you?

August 21, 2021by custmedrx

Google “probiotics” and you’ll be overwhelmed by the ads – dozens and dozens of brands, formulas and concoctions that are supposed to improve health. With all this hype, you might ask yourself – what are probiotics? What are they good for? Are there any side effects? Can anyone take them?

Tablets Pharmacy is here to answer all your questions to ensure the health and safety of your residents. 

What are probiotics?

Probiotics, or acidophilus, are beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in food like yogurt and kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, pickles and buttermilk. While the antidotal evidence strongly suggests benefits to including probiotics in a health regimen, research has not conclusively proved this. 

What can probiotics help?

The most common benefit from probiotics is digestive help, treating diarrhea and bloating, even diarrhea caused by antibiotics.  There is also indications that probiotics help reduce the severity of inflammation in C. difficile infections. Probiotics also improve the immune system, generating nutrients that feed the healthy cells in the intestines. New research is connecting gut health to mental illness, so probiotics may help improve depression and other conditions too. Probiotics is indicated in improvements in:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Constipation 
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Gun disease
  • Eczema
  • Upper respiratory infections

Are there any side effects?

Most healthy adults can eat the foods known to contain ample probiotics with no side effects. 

However, the effects and benefits of probiotic supplements are not clear. As probiotics are “dietary supplements” and not medications, they do not need FDA approval. This means there is no consistency about ingredients, dosage recommendations or effectiveness, even among different bottles of the same brand. When taking probiotic supplements, patients may actually experience more constipation, gas and bloating. Those who are lactose intolerant may experience this more acutely. 

Can anyone take probiotics?

Healthy adults can add foods that contain probiotics to their diets without concern.

Probiotic supplements are not recommended for those who have serious chronic medical conditions, are on antibiotics, have had a recent infection or have recently had surgery. 

If you have questions about probiotic foods or probiotic supplements for your residents – or for yourself – contact Jay at Tablets Pharmacy by calling 708-272-1212 or emailing by clicking here. Our board-certified pharmacists are always happy to help.