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Not only are probiotics typically safe to take every day, but some health experts recommend doing just that, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. You'll find these "friendly" bacteria in fermented foods such as yogurt and Korean kimchi, as well as in a variety of over-the-counter supplements. For caution's sake, however, speak with your doctor before starting a probiotic regimen.
Probiotics are usually safe and already live in your digestive tract, Harvard Medical School notes 2. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not test nutritional supplements for safety, so stick with a reputable brand and research all supplement ingredients. UMMC also reports that doses exceeding 1 million to 2 million organisms may cause gas, diarrhea and upset stomach. In addition, the school warns that people with compromised immune systems, such as those on immunosuppressant drugs, should consult their physician before taking probiotics.
- Probiotics are usually safe and already live in your digestive tract, Harvard Medical School notes 2.
- UMMC also reports that doses exceeding 1 million to 2 million organisms may cause gas, diarrhea and upset stomach.
Should I Take a Probiotic Every Day?
Taking probiotics may help ease diarrhea, especially cases caused by antibiotics, according to Harvard Medical School 2. Probiotics may also promote a healthy vaginal environment, balancing internal flora to help manage yeast buildup and urinary tract infections. Scientists are still examining these uses, however, and probiotics are not a substitute for professional medical care.
Should I Take a Probiotic Every Day?
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- University of Maryland Medical Center: Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics
- Liu L, Zhu G. Gut-Brain Axis and Mood Disorder. Front Psychiatry. 2018;9:223. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00223
- Markowiak P, Śliżewska K. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):1021. doi:10.3390/nu9091021
- Mcfarland LV. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006;101(4):812-22. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2006.00465.x
- Oak SJ, Jha R. The effects of probiotics in lactose intolerance: A systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2019;59(11):1675-1683. doi:10.1080/10408398.2018.1425977
- Upadrasta A, Madempudi RS. Probiotics and blood pressure: current insights. Integr Blood Press Control. 2016;9:33-42. doi:10.2147/IBPC.S73246
- Wang L, Guo MJ, Gao Q, et al. The effects of probiotics on total cholesterol: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2018;97(5):e9679. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000009679
- Didari T, Mozaffari S, Nikfar S, Abdollahi M. Effectiveness of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: Updated systematic review with meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(10):3072-84. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i10.3072
- Kijmanawat A, Panburana P, Reutrakul S, Tangshewinsirikul C. Effects of probiotic supplements on insulin resistance in gestational diabetes mellitus: A double-blind randomized controlled trial. J Diabetes Investig. 2019;10(1):163-170. doi:10.1111/jdi.12863
- Hendler R, Zhang Y. Probiotics in the Treatment of Colorectal Cancer. Medicines (Basel). 2018;5(3):101. doi:10.3390/medicines5030101
- Su GL, Ko CW, Bercik P, Falck-Ytter Y, et al. AGA Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Role of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders. Gastroenterology. 2020 Aug;159(2):697-705. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.059.
- Govender M, Choonara YE, Kumar P, Du Toit LC, Van Vuuren S, Pillay V. A review of the advancements in probiotic delivery: Conventional vs. non-conventional formulations for intestinal flora supplementation. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2014;15(1):29-43. doi:10.1208/s12249-013-0027-1
- Stadlbauer V. Immunosuppression and probiotics: are they effective and safe? Benef Microbes. 2015;6(6):823-8. doi:10.3920/BM2015.0065
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Probiotics: In Depth.
- Iannitti T, Palmieri B. Therapeutical use of probiotic formulations in clinical practice. Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.