Some Bacteria May be Good for You

One of the latest trends is health has to do with putting bacteria in your body.

Cotton-O'Neil gastroenterologist Dr. Curtis Baum says there are good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria known as "probiotics" are capturing new attention.

Dr. Baum says probiotics aren't essential to live, but he says there's accumulating evidence that there are certain types of bacteria that could treat certain gastrointestinal conditions.

The beneficial bacteria are found in acidophilic milk and some yogurts. You'll also find probiotic supplements. The conditions they may help include Crohn's disease, infectious diarrhea, "pouchitis," and even irritable bowel syndrome. Some people even take probiotic supplements daily to maintain digestive health.

Dr. Baum says there is no scientific evidence to document it's effective. But he says, in most cases, it's not harmful - people who are immunocompromised shouldn't use them - and there is a chance it could help. Dr. Baum says it's been tough to know because there are different types of probiotics and studies have looked at them in different numbers.

As the research unfolds, Dr. Baum says, if you want to give it a try, look for yogurt with live active cultures. But keep in mind it may take several servings a day to make a difference.

For more information on probiotics, click on the following articles:

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