Probiotics 101: What You Need to Know

By

Jennifer Larson

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Yogurt

The next time you're in the dairy aisle of the grocery store, pick up a carton of yogurt and look for the words "contains live and active cultures." The label might even include a list of active yogurt cultures such as  Lactobacillus acidophilus and  Bifidobacterium lactis, which are the most common. Those cultures are also known as probiotics.

But what are probiotics? An international group of experts met in 2001 and agreed on this definition for probiotics: "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amount confer a health benefit on the host." Or, in simpler terms, probiotics are microorganisms that help maintain a healthy balance of "good" bacteria in your gut and can aid in digestion. Sometimes you might hear them called "friendly bacteria," too.

Debunking digestive health myths means you’ll have a better chance at detecting tummy trouble when it occurs.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 13, 2017

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Medical References

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What I Need to Know about Peptic Ulcers. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. National Institutes of Health. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/pepticulcers_ez/#6
Rubio-Tapia, A., et al. The Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Oct. 2012;107(10):1538-44.