According to the WHO, probiotics are living microorganisms that, when administered in sufficient quantity, have beneficial effects on health. They can be found in some foods, as well as in medications and dietary supplements.
Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces... those Latin-sounding names don’t mean anything to you? Yet you probably consume them without knowing it, particularly when you eat yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, or saucisson. When ingested in high concentrations, these “good” bacteria and yeasts have beneficial health effects and acquire the status of probiotics.
All probiotics are not the same, and each has its own effects. Some survive only very briefly in the digestive tract and are destroyed in the stomach, while others last all the way to the stool. Probiotics don’t settle in bacterial flora (intestinal or vaginal) – in fact, their effect is only temporary. It is necessary to absorb them regularly for the effect to last.
Digestive disorders, primary proven indication for probiotics
Probiotics have great value: they can prevent dysbiosis in some clinical situations and promote the reconstruction of microbiota during and after dysbiosis.
For the moment, digestive disorders are the primary indications for which certain probiotics have demonstrated their effectiveness. The probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii reduces the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by half and can reduce the duration and severity of gastroenteritis, while the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis improves intestinal comfort in cases of irritable bowel syndrome. Other strains are being studied for other indications.