What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) taken for health benefits. The effects of probiotic products vary by the type of microorganism in the product.

In the early 1900s, Russian microbiologist Élie Metchnikoff associated the longevity and good health of Bulgarians with the large amounts of fermented dairy products they consumed. He theorized that the acid-producing organisms in fermented dairy products were key. And so began the study of probiotics.

Probiotics help provide a simple balance for your busy life.*

In the human body, there are multitudes of microorganisms—including bacteria—in places such as the gut and mouth. When you think of bacteria, you probably think of disease. However, many bacteria help the body work properly. For example, “good” bacteria aid in the digestion of food and the absorption of certain nutrients.

Most probiotics contain good bacteria similar to those found naturally in the human body. The mixture of good bacteria regularly found at an anatomical site is referred to as the “normal flora.” In women, the normal flora can be easily disrupted by many factors including:

  • Antibiotic use
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • Spermicides
  • Diet

The use of a probiotic supplement may help to maintain or restore good bacteria to support digestive and vaginal health.*


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