Probiotics are live cultures of bacteria that work to maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are found in certain foods, but can also be taken as over-the-counter concentrated supplements. There are several different strains and types of probiotics, with different health benefits as well. Here are some of the most common.
This is the most common type of probiotic strain, with over 50 different species. Lactobacilli are naturally found in the digestive, urinary, and genital systems in the human body. They are also found in foods that are fermented, such as yogurt. This type of probiotic is most commonly used to treat and/or prevent several conditions, such as yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), antibiotic-related diarrhea, infectious diarrhea, lactose intolerance, respiratory infections, and skin disorders such as fever blisters, eczema, acne, and canker sores.
This is the second most common type of probiotic strain, with over 30 different species. This type of probiotic makes up most of the healthy bacteria that are found in your colon. The conditions that are treated with bifidobacteria include blood lipids, glucose intolerance, and certain symptoms of digestive disorders such as pain, discomfort, bloating, and urgency.
This is the only probiotic that is a yeast. Recent studies have shown that this type of probiotic is the most effective at treating and preventing diarrhea that is associated with traveling and antibiotic use, as well preventing C. difficile and treating acne.
This strain of probiotic produces large quantities of the enzyme lactase, which makes it very effective at prevention and treating lactose intolerance.