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Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore the normal environment in your digestive tract.

Lots of people take probiotics to help their digestive system.  But do they actually work?  There aren’t very many studies involving probiotics so the science is not actually there to prove their effectiveness one way or the other.

So far, information is available to confirm probiotics might prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in about 1 in 13 people.  The products most studied are Culturelle or Florastor so look for these in your drugstore or vitamin outlet.  Start the probiotics within 2 to 3 days of beginning an antibiotic and continue until 3 days after you complete them.  Separate the probiotic from the antibiotic dose by 2 hours.  There is not enough evidence to show that yogurt works for diarrhea related to antibiotics.  There is also little evidence that probiotics reduce the risk of C. difficile toxin from antibiotics.

Try Activia for constipation, Align for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Culturelle or Florastor for traveler’s diarrhea.  

There’s not much evidence that probiotics are helpful for Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis.

If you are immunocompromised, avoid probiotics due to possible risk of infection from the live microorganisms.    

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