You know that probiotics are the "good" bacteria that live in your gut, or digestive tract, and that they're commonly found in Greek yogurt and other fermented food. Probiotics help to "balance" the good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut, which can lead to boosting your immunity not just in your intestines, but body-wide.
A study from the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that athletes had 40 percent fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to when they took a placebo.
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Taking a daily probiotic wouldn't hurt, but you should be wary of the kind of probiotic you're taking. The FDA regulates probiotics like food, not medication, so manufacturers are not actually required to prove that what they are selling actually works. So that's great news. If you're serious about implementing probiotic supplements into your daily diet, ask your doctor about which ones you should be taking. You usually need to be taking 2 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) every day for about two weeks before you start to see any results. There are two main types of probiotics: Lactobacillus, which contains 2.6 billion CFUs, and Bitidobacterium, which contains 0.2 billion CFUs. To see the top 10 probiotic supplements, click here.
WebMD says that in general, probiotic foods and supplements are thought to be safe. Mild side effects might include upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first few days after you start them. They may also trigger allergic reactions. If you have problems, stop taking them and talk to your doctor.
While many have seen positive outcomes in their immune system thanks to probiotics, the jury is still out on a definitive answer on whether they have a direct effect on your immune system.