What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are everywhere: in the cereal aisle, drugstore, even in your beauty products. Let's break down the basics of these good bacteria.

Probiotics are everywhere: in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, down the supplement section at the drugstore, even in the beauty and skincare world! While you may have heard a bit about the benefits of probiotics, but with so many options and ways to get probiotics, how do you know what’s right for you? Let’s break it down these good bacterial so you can incorporate them into your wellness routine and experience their health benefits.*

What is a probiotic?

The official definition of a probiotic, as outlined by the World Health Organization, is “a live microorganism which when administered in adequate amounts confers a health benefit on the host.”

Basically, this means probiotics are living microorganisms (often called “good bacteria”) that can provide numerous health benefits.* These good bacteria can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir, but can also be consumed via supplements.

What health benefits do probiotics have?

Generally, probiotics can help support your microbiome, a complex system of bacteria living on and in your body, and provide digestive balance and immune health benefits.* A great deal of your immune system — about 70% — is located in the gut, so keeping it in balance can help support your immune health.* When taken each day, certain probiotics can also help prevent occasional gas, bloating, and constipation.*

Probiotics have many benefits, including specialized strains that provide specific support, like women’s health. Certain formulas, including our Fortify Women’s 30 Billion, are formulated with a higher ratio of Lactobacilli bacteria to help support vaginal health and healthy vaginal microflora.*

As you age, the amount of Bifidobacteria in your system can decrease, so ensuring you’re getting an adequate amount of Bifidobacteria may help support digestive balance and colon health in adults over 50.* Try Fortify 30 Billion 50+ to start.

Should I take a probiotic?

It can be tricky to maintain the balance of good bacteria in your gut when things like travel, diet, and stress may throw things for a loop. Even if you eat plenty of probiotic-rich foods, it may not be enough, and a probiotic supplement can help keep everything in check.

Everyone can benefit from taking a probiotic, as we all have bacteria living in our guts – though the amount and the health of said bacteria may differ depending on your diet, where you live, and your overall health. Ideally, you want to have a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut, and probiotics can help you achieve it.

If you’re wondering how your body will react to a probiotic, know that probiotics are generally well-tolerated by most people. Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement to make sure it’s right for you and your lifestyle.

How often should I take a probiotic supplement?

Probiotics are “guests” in the digestive tract, so they need to be constantly replenished. It’s a great idea to make taking a probiotic part of your daily wellness routine to keep a thriving group of good bacteria hard at work in your gut. For best results, you’ll want to make sure your probiotic supplement has a special coating to help the cultures survive the journey to the digestive tract, especially against harsh stomach acid.
As for when to take your probiotic supplement? That’s up to you, though we often recommend taking your probiotics in the morning to start the day off strong.

How will taking a probiotic make me feel?

While at first some may experience an increase in gas due to the higher amounts of probiotic bacteria in the digestive system, this should subside within a few days as your body adapts. After the initial adjustment period, you’ll find that your body has adapted to the probiotic’s presence.

The bottom line

Probiotic bacteria may be small, but they do a lot of important work. Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to choose a probiotic that works for you and get ready to tackle everything life throws at you.