Daily Dosage of Probiotics: 1-10 billion organisms daily; 3-4 doses
Probiotics are “healthy bacteria” naturally found in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems. They help maintain the natural balance of organisms living in these areas. They help break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off “unfriendly bacteria” that can cause diseases and cases of diarrhea. These friendly bacteria have been shown to provide benefits when consumed in the appropriate amount daily.
Probiotics are commonly used to treat and prevent a variety of general digestive problems. Other than preventing and treating diarrhea caused by viruses, they are also used to treat diarrhea caused by antibiotics. Antibiotics not only kill bad bacteria that cause illness, but they kill the good bacteria as well. Taking probiotics can help restore the lost beneficial bacteria. Loss of beneficial bacteria in the body can also lead to infections in other areas such as vaginal yeast and urinary tract infections.
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Fermented foods like yogurt contain billions of the probiotic Lactobacillus, which is the most common and largest group of healthy bacteria. There are other groups of probiotics, and within each species are different strains. Supplements can be very helpful when seeking a specific species to treat symptoms.
The probiotic supplements are regulated as food and not as drugs. The strength of the product is measured by the number of living organisms in the supplement or in the food. Depending on what symptom you need treat, the amount of living organisms may vary. A typical dose can range from 1-10 billion living organisms per day divided into 3-4 servings. A cup of yogurt or milk product can contain about 5 million living organisms. For treating vaginal infections, however, vaginal tablets and suppositories containing Lactobacillus are available.
- Szajewska H, Skórka A, Ruszczyński M, Gieruszczak-Białek D. Meta-analysis: Lactobacillus GG for treating acute gastroenteritis in children–updated analysis of randomised controlled trials. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Sep;38(5):467-76. PMID: 23841880.
- Singh VP, Sharma J, Babu S, Rizwanulla, Singla A. Role of probiotics in health and disease: a review. J Pak Med Assoc. 2013 Feb;63(2):253-7. PMID: 23894906.
- Power SE1, O’Toole PW1, Stanton C2, Ross RP2, Fitzgerald GF1. Intestinal microbiota, diet and health. Br J Nutr. 2014 Feb;111(3):387-402. PMID: 23931069.