When are probiotics worth a try?
Healthful bacteria may be useful in numerous situations. Here are a few supported by substantial evidence.
Taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off good microbes as well as bad, leaving people susceptible to infections. Probiotics may help fill the void until natural gut bacteria grow back. Lactobacillus casei immunitas (found in DanActive) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, or LGG (in Culturelle and Danimals yogurt), have been shown to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C-diff infections.
Battling other causes of diarrhea. Taking probiotics on a regular basis might prevent or shorten illnesses such as food poisoning and traveler's diarrhea. Some promising evidence exists for LGG, L. casei Shirota (in Yakult drink), and Bifidobacterium animalis lactis BB-12 (in Good Start Natural Cultures Infant Formula).
Managing irritable bowel syndrome. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (in Align) has been shown in some studies to reduce IBS symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, and irregularity.