Probiotics are very beneficial to overall health, but they are especially good for the digestive system, notes WebMD. Probiotics may help replenish the good bacteria in the gut after taking medication such as antibiotics, and they may also help lower the amount of bad bacteria, which can cause infections.
Probiotics are found naturally in the human body and intestinal tract, says WebMD. Consumers can find probiotics sold as supplements and in foods such as yogurt and chocolate. Probiotics are used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious or antibiotic-related diarrhea. Probiotics help food move through the intestines more efficiently. There is some evidence suggesting that probiotics also help eczema, prevent colds and allergies, and support urinary and vaginal health.
There are many different types of probiotics, but most are forms of lactobacillus or bifidobacterium, states WebMD. Lactobacillus is the most common type of probiotic and is found in yogurt as well as fermented foods. Bifidobacterium is found in some dairy products. Probiotic supplements are not regulated as a medication but as a food by the FDA. Manufacturers are not required by law to show that the probiotics they produce are effective. For this reason, it is important to speak with a doctor about the best type to take for individual needs.