What amount of a probiotic dietary supplement should I take?

Consuming yogurt products with probiotic content is a good option if you want to get more probiotics in your diet. When you choose a yogurt, look for the seal "Live and Active Cultures" on the product label. This indicates that the yogurt has at least 100 million active cultures per gram of yogurt. For other types of probiotic products, how much you should take varies by bacteria type and the reason you're taking the product. If you choose to take an encapsulated probiotic supplement, a good place to start is with a combination that contains strains from the Lactobacillus family and Bifidobacterium family, because these strains are normally found in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Are there any side effects from taking a probiotic dietary supplement?

Probiotics are safe in the amounts you normally find in food. In general, most healthy adults can safely add foods or dietary supplements that contain probiotics to their diets. Some individuals might experience gas (flatulence), but that generally passes after a few days. But which strains of bacteria are most helpful or which doses are best isn't always known. And if you are lactose intolerant, you can experience stomach discomfort if you try to get your probiotics from dairy products. In that case, consider using a dairy-free probiotic.

Is it safe to take a probiotic dietary supplement with other medications?

Take a probiotic dietary supplement with caution if you:

  • Are taking an antibiotic or prescription drug that affects your immune system
  • Are being treated for a fungal infection
  • Have pancreatitis

Taking a probiotic dietary supplement may not be safe if you:

  • Get infections often
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Are allergic or sensitive to the sources of the probiotics (dairy, for example)

If you are considering taking a probiotic dietary supplement, check with your health care professional first, especially if you are pregnant or have a health condition.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

April 14, 2017