Probiotics, have recently become a topic of significant focus. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases, so the idea they are beneficial can be tough to understand. We take antibiotics to kill harmful bacterial infections and use antibacterial soaps more than ever before. And while the wrong bacteria in the wrong place can cause problems, there is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that the right bacteria in the right place can have benefits and even prevent some illnesses.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, often termed “good” or “helpful” bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. The secret to good health is all about balancing the good and bad bacteria in your gut. It may come as a surprise but 80 percent of your entire immune system is located in your digestive tract. 1

Are they all the same?

It’s important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics. The probiotic benefits experienced with one strain may be completely different from the health benefits seen from another.

If you want to use probiotics to help with a specific health concern, it’s vital to select the right probiotic for the right condition. Strain selection should focus on quality tested products with clinically demonstrated benefits for the given condition. That is why it is always best to consult your Naturopath or health care provider for a recommendation.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

1. Diarrhoea

Certain strains of probiotics have shown positive results in treating diarrhoea and gastroenteritis. According to a report published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition2, probiotics are “useful in the prevention or treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders”, such as infectious diarrhoea, antibiotic diarrhoea, and traveler’s diarrhoea.

One study published in the Journal of Pediatrics 3, concluded Lactobacillus species are a safe and effective form of treatment for children with infectious diarrhoea. In particular, studies have shown the use of specific strains of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG provide the most benefit against infectious diarrhoea in children. 4, 5

Studies using L Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, S. boulardii and L Lactobacillus plantarum 299v suggested a protective effect of probiotics in preventing antibiotic associated diarrhoea. 5,7,8

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Several clinical trials have investigated the potential for probiotics as therapy in IBS patients.

It’s been found that certain strains or combinations can reduce the symptoms and severity of IBS.

Different probiotic combinations, most often including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Streptococcus, have shown a significant effect in improving IBS symptoms such as bloating.9




  1. Axe, J Dr, “Probiotic Benefits, Food and Supplements” Dr Axe Online. Accessed 15 June 2016 at
  2. Vanderhoof JA, Young RJ. “Use of probiotics in childhood gastrointestinal disorders”. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1998 Sep;27(3):323-32.
  3. Szajewska H, Kotowska M, Mrukowicz JZ, Armańska M, Mikołajczyk W. “Efficacy of Lactobacillus GG in prevention of nosocomial diarrhea in infants”. J Pediatr. 2001 Mar;138(3):361-5.
  4. Eom TH, Oh EY, et al. The therapeutic effect of Lactobacillus reuteri in acute diarrhea in infants and toddlers : A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Korean J Ped. 2005;48:986-9.
  5. Szajewska H, Mrukowicz JZ. Probiotics in the treatment and prevention of acute infectious diarrhea in infants and children: A systematic review of published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2
  6. Lonnermark E, Friman V, et al. Intake of Lactobacillus plantarum reduces certain gastrointestinal symptoms during treatment with antibiotics. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010;44(2):106-12.
  7. Kale-Pradhan PB, Jassal HK, Wilhelm SM. The use of Lactobacillus in the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea: A meta-analysis. Pharmacotherapy. 2010;30(2):119-26.
  8. Can M, Besirbellioglu BA, et al. Prophylactic Saccharomyces boulardii in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: A prospective study. Med Sci Monit. 2006;12(4):19-22.
  9. Aragon G, Graham DB, Borum M, Doman DB. Probiotic Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 2010;6(1):39-44