Probiotics can be bought as supplements and are often added to foods such as yoghurt, kefir and in fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut. They are good bacteria that can help maintain digestive health while boosting your immune system, but are they necessary?
Some people may benefit from taking probiotics in specific situations, for example when taking antibiotics it is thought they might help prevent diarrhoea. Probiotics can help to rebalance bacterial levels in the gut and some people take them to reduce the risk of getting a cold. They are also taken to treat gastrointestinal symptoms that aren’t caused by acute illness, but there’s little evidence to show they work, especially in older people.
It could be risky for people with weakened immune systems or who are being treated for cancer to take probiotics. If you do wish to start taking probiotics, it’s best to discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist.