Skip to content

What Do Probiotics Do?

What Do Probiotics Do?

Understanding the Role of Probiotics and What They Actually Do for Your Health

Probiotics are a fascinating and integral part of our health journey. But what exactly are probiotics, and more importantly, what do probiotics do for our health?

At their core, probiotics are live microorganisms, primarily bacteria and yeasts, that are beneficial to our health, especially the digestive system. They are commonly referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria (Fioramonti et al., 2003). You can find these microscopic allies in a variety of fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha, as well as in dietary supplements. 

The primary function of probiotics is to maintain a healthy balance in our bodies. They do this by ensuring the gut flora—the community of microorganisms in our intestines—is balanced. This balance is crucial for efficient digestion, nutrient absorption, and a robust immune system*.

Probiotics** play a pivotal role in supporting our body's overall well-being. Here's a breakdown of their key benefits:

- Gut Health: Some probiotics help keep the gut flora balanced. This is crucial for optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients. They can also be instrumental in managing and supporting gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and constipation (Scarpellini et al., 2021).

- Immune System Support: A substantial part of our immune system is housed in the gut. Some probiotics aid in strengthening our immune defenses (Yan & Polk, 2011).

- Overall Well-Being: Some probiotics have been linked to numerous benefits beyond the gut (Bodke & Jogdand, 2022).

Incorporating probiotics into your diet can be a simple yet effective way to enhance not just your digestive health but your overall well-being. As with any supplement, it's wise to consult with a healthcare professional to determine what's best for your individual health needs.

Probiotics and Digestive Health

The gut, often referred to as our "second brain," plays a vital role in our overall health (de Vos et al., 2021), and some probiotics are key players in maintaining our well-being. Let's delve into the relationship between probiotics and various digestive concerns, exploring both the benefits and the misconceptions.

  1. Do probiotics help with constipation?

    Some probiotics can help regulate bowel movements and soften stools, making them easier to pass. This is particularly true for certain strains like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which have been found effective in improving bowel frequency and consistency (Shang et al., 2022).

  2. Do probiotics help with diarrhea?

    Some probiotics are widely recognized for their ability to combat diarrhea, especially when it’s antibiotic-associated or caused by infections. They work by restoring the balance of gut bacteria disrupted by antibiotics or pathogens (Guarino et al., 2015).

  3. Do Probiotics Cause Diarrhea or Constipation?

    The concern that some probiotics might cause digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation is valid but largely unfounded. While there may be a period of adjustment when first taking probiotics, leading to minor digestive changes, these symptoms are typically short-lived. In fact, as discussed above, some probiotics are more likely to support these conditions than cause them.

  4. Do probiotics cause gas?

    Some individuals might experience increased gas or bloating when they first start taking probiotics. This is usually a temporary response as the gut flora adjusts to the new balance. For most, this settles down with continued use (Williams, 2010).

    While probiotics are generally beneficial for digestive health, understanding the specific strains and their effects is crucial. They can provide support for digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea but might initially cause minor side effects like gas or bloating in some people. As always, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider to choose the right probiotic supplement for your specific health needs. 

Factors to Consider When Using Probiotics

Incorporating probiotics into one’s daily routine can be a game-changer for health, particularly digestive well-being. However, there are several factors to consider to ensure you get the most out of these beneficial microbes.

  1. How Long Does It Take Probiotics to Work?

    The answer isn't one-size-fits-all. The duration of noticeable changes can vary depending on the individual’s gut flora, the specific probiotic strains, and the condition being targeted (Sniffen et al., 2018). Generally, some people may start to notice improvements in their digestive health within a few days, while for others, it might take two to three weeks.

  2. Potential Side Effects

    While probiotics are safe for most people, some may experience mild side effects, especially during the initial period of use. These can include digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, or mild stomach upset. These symptoms are usually temporary and often resolve as your body adjusts to the increased levels of good bacteria.

    In rare cases, some probiotics could cause more serious side effects, especially in people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems (Didari et al., 2014). It's essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any probiotic supplement, particularly if you have health concerns or are taking other medications.

  3. Best Practices for Safe Consumption

    To make the most of probiotics and minimize potential side effects, consider the following best practices:
   - Start Slow: Begin with a lower serving and gradually increase it. This can help your body adjust to the probiotics without causing significant discomfort.

   - Choose the Right Strain: Different probiotic strains offer different benefits. It's crucial to select a strain or combination of strains that targets your specific health needs.

  - Storage and Quality: Pay attention to the storage requirements of your probiotic supplement. Some may need refrigeration, while others are shelf-stable. Always choose high-quality products from reputable sources.

  - Balanced Diet: Probiotics work best in conjunction with a balanced diet rich in fiber, as dietary fibers act as prebiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut.

  - Monitor Your Health: Keep track of any changes in your symptoms and overall health after starting probiotics. This can help you gauge their effectiveness and decide if you need to adjust your regimen.

By understanding these considerations, you can make informed decisions about incorporating probiotics into your health regimen. Remember, while probiotics can offer significant benefits, they should be part of a broader approach to maintaining healthy digestion.

Choosing the Right Probiotics: Schiff Vitamins' Digestive Advantage 

Digestive Advantage offers a thoughtful approach to supporting digestive health, encompassing a variety of product forms such as capsules, tablets, and gummies. Central to its effectiveness is the inclusion of the BC30 probiotic, a strain designed to endure the acidic environment of the stomach more effectively than many traditional probiotics found in foods like yogurt. This resilience ensures that a significant amount of beneficial bacteria reaches the intestines, the key area for gut health.

The BC30 probiotic in Digestive Advantage is notable for its durability, a critical factor in its efficacy. By surviving the journey through the stomach, BC30 delivers its benefits directly to the intestines, promoting a balanced gut environment. This balance is essential for easing common digestive discomforts such as bloating, abdominal pain, and occasional diarrhea, contributing to overall digestive well-being.

Digestive Advantage represents a balanced and effective option in the realm of digestive health supplements thanks to its targeted strains, high survivability, and user-friendly formulations. Its ability to withstand harsh stomach conditions and provide substantial benefits to the digestive system makes it a noteworthy choice for those seeking to support their gut health.

It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement. By doing so, you can make an informed decision that supports your journey towards improved digestive health. This is especially crucial if you have existing health conditions or are taking other medications. A healthcare provider can offer personalized advice and ensure that your choice of probiotic supplement is safe and suitable for your unique health situation.

*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.

**Disclaimer: Not all probiotics are the same. Certain benefits are tied to the specific strains that have been studied.


Bodke, H., & Jogdand, S. (2022). Role of Probiotics in Human Health. Cureus, 14(11), e31313.

de Vos, W. M., Tilg, H., Van Hul, M., & Cani, P. D. (2022). Gut microbiome and health: mechanistic insights. Gut, 71(5), 1020–1032.

Didari, T., Solki, S., Mozaffari, S., Nikfar, S., & Abdollahi, M. (2014). A systematic review of the safety of probiotics. Expert opinion on drug safety, 13(2), 227–239.

Fioramonti, J., Theodorou, V., & Bueno, L. (2003). Probiotics: what are they? What are their effects on gut physiology?. Best practice & research. Clinical gastroenterology, 17(5), 711–724.

Guarino, A., Guandalini, S., & Lo Vecchio, A. (2015). Probiotics for Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 49 Suppl 1, S37–S45.

Scarpellini, E., Basilico, M., Rinninella, E., Carbone, F., Schol, J., Rasetti, C., Abenavoli, L., & Santori, P. (2021). Probiotics and gut health. Minerva gastroenterology, 67(4), 314–325.

Shang, X., E, F. F., Guo, K. L., Li, Y. F., Zhao, H. L., Wang, Y., Chen, N., Nian, T., Yang, C. Q., Yang, K. H., & Li, X. X. (2022). Effectiveness and Safety of Probiotics for Patients with Constipation-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 10 Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients, 14(12), 2482.

Sniffen, J. C., McFarland, L. V., Evans, C. T., & Goldstein, E. J. C. (2018). Choosing an appropriate probiotic product for your patient: An evidence-based practical guide. PloS one, 13(12), e0209205.

Williams N. T. (2010). Probiotics. American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 67(6), 449–458.

Yan, F., & Polk, D. B. (2011). Probiotics and immune health. Current opinion in gastroenterology, 27(6), 496–501.

BACK TO Digestive Health