What Are the Effects of Probiotics on the Digestive System?

Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez
Probiotics can be particularly effective in alleviating diarrhea.
Probiotics can be particularly effective in alleviating diarrhea.

Numerous positive effects occur within the digestive system as a result of taking probiotics, including relief from diarrhea and related gastrointestinal symptoms, such as cramping or infections. The beneficial effects of probiotics on the digestive system include a healthier colon, as well as overall better bodily health. Many experts have experimented with various probiotic strains to achieve the best digestive health outcome.

Probiotics can help the small intestine absorb more nutrients.
Probiotics can help the small intestine absorb more nutrients.

Probiotics are bacteria, or one-celled organisms. The human body has naturally occurring bacteria within the large intestine and lower small intestine. The effects of additional probiotics on the digestive system complement the natural bacteria in that more nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal wall from the digested food.

One key effect of probiotics on the digestive system is alleviating diarrhea. Many diarrhea episodes are caused by antibiotic medication. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to destroy harmful bodily bacteria, such as for an infection, but the natural intestinal bacteria is also harmed. Adding probiotics to the diet will bolster the intestinal bacteria to alleviate diarrhea. Long term diarrhea episodes can cause the body to become dehydrated, complicating the recovery period.

Intestinal infections can occur from bad bacteria strains, such as those that can be acquired from drinking contaminated water. Using probiotics on the digestive system can create a mass of good bacteria to reduce the infection time period. Shortening infection periods is especially important for the elderly or extremely young children to prevent further disease complications.

Many people suffer from lactose intolerance. People with lactose intolerance do not have the enzyme needed within the intestine to digest dairy products, causing uncomfortable digestive issues. Probiotics help alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal cramping, allowing the person to consume some dairy for its health benefits.

The immune system is supported with probiotic use, contributing to digestive health. With active probiotics in the system, the body can better fight off potential intestinal or other infections. The digestive system remains healthy, helping the person retain a fit and happy lifestyle.

Probiotics are found in capsule form, as a supplement, or integrated into foods, such as through consuming yogurt laced with specific bacterial strains. Each manufacturer uses a different probiotic mixture in the capsule or food choice. Some manufacturers specify the symptoms that the probiotic will target if consumed.

Scientists have observed some side effects to probiotics on the digestive system. The main negative effects are gas and bloating, although rare infections have occurred in some patients. Adding any probiotics to a person's diet should be monitored by a physician, especially if the patient has a chronic condition.

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    • Probiotics can be particularly effective in alleviating diarrhea.
      Probiotics can be particularly effective in alleviating diarrhea.
    • Probiotics can help the small intestine absorb more nutrients.
      Probiotics can help the small intestine absorb more nutrients.