Why Should You Take a Probiotic Supplement?

Katelyn Hagerty

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 5/27/2022

If you think your gut is off-kilter when it comes to good and bad bacteria and a diet rich with those probiotic-laden foods aren’t for you, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement. 

There’s not a ton of research to fully support what probiotic supplements can do for you. That said, some research suggests that they can boost digestion, increase immunity and help with gas and bloating.

It is also thought that taking a probiotic may help people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

But the benefits don’t end with your belly — they could also help your vaginal health. There's evidence that taking a probiotic may prevent vaginal infections (like yeast infections) and urinary tract infections by keeping your vaginal flora, the bacteria that live there, balanced.

Understanding Your Gut Microbiome

It may make you squirm, but your gastrointestinal tract is filled with trillions of different types of bacteria. This collection of bacteria is called the gut microbiota. The good news is that most of this is actually helpful — or “good” — bacteria, rather than harmful bacteria.

In fact, having a balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut makes it function better. It can also help your immunity and aid in proper digestion. However, this is a delicate balance and if it gets out of whack, it can cause tummy problems.

If the balance of bacteria in your gut is off, your most likely symptoms will be gastrointestinal issues, but you may also notice problems with your immunity — and even infections.

Probiotics are meant to address these imbalances. While probiotic supplements may be everywhere, it’s thought that the best way to get probiotics into your system is through fermented foods, like yogurt, pickles, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh and miso. 

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daily probiotic supplement designed to support your whole system

Why Should You Take a Probiotic Supplement?

If you think your gut is off-kilter when it comes to good and bad bacteria and a diet rich with those probiotic-laden foods aren’t for you, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement. 

There’s not a ton of research to fully support what probiotic supplements can do for you. That said, some research suggests that they can boost digestion, increase immunity and help with gas and bloating.

It is also thought that taking a probiotic may help people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

But the benefits don’t end with your belly — they could also help your vaginal health. There's evidence that taking a probiotic may prevent vaginal infections (like yeast infections) and urinary tract infections by keeping your vaginal flora, the bacteria that live there, balanced.

Choosing a the Right Probiotic For You

Most experts recommend making sure your probiotic supplement contains at least one billion colony forming units (CFU), which is the number of cells per dosage. 

There are many kinds of bacteria in probiotics, and different types contain different bacterial strains or mixes of strains. Some of the most common probiotic strains are lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and saccharomyces boulardii.

But, here’s the thing: Everyone’s microbiome is different and no two unbalanced microbiomes look the same. That means that there’s not one type of probiotic that will work for everyone. 

If you’ve been taking one for a little while and don’t notice a difference or, worse, you notice tummy troubles, you may want to consider taking a different probiotic with different bacteria.

Oh, and you should know that probiotics are pretty safe. However, experts recommend that people with weakened immune systems avoid probiotic bacteria supplements. You should also know that probiotic supplements are not regulated by the FDA. 

Before you take anything, it’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider. This way, you can talk about potential risk factors and make sure whatever probiotic you take won’t interact with any other type of medication you might be taking.

start women's probiotic

daily probiotic supplement designed to support your whole system

Why Take a Probiotic Daily?

From vitamins for hair loss to collagen for anti-aging, there are tons of supplements on the market. Probiotics are one of the most popular, but is it worth it to take a daily probiotic supplement? 

The bottom line is that while more research is needed to determine if it really has health benefits, a daily probiotic may help address imbalances of beneficial bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut microbiome. 

This may improve your digestive health, discomfort in your intestinal tract, gas and bloating and may even relieve certain health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.

Different probiotic supplements have different bacteria strains in them and you may need to try a few before you start to see the benefits. You should also remember that dietary supplements of any kind are not regulated by the FDA.

And if supplements aren’t your thing, you can also get this healthy bacteria in the form of probiotic foods — like yogurt and miso.

If you are interested in taking a probiotic, it’s never a bad idea to start by consulting with a healthcare provider.

5 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. How to Pick the Best Probiotic For You. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-pick-the-best-probiotic-for-you/
  2. 5 Things to Know About Probiotics. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/things-to-know-about-probiotics
  3. How to Get More Probiotics. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-get-more-probiotics
  4. Probiotics. National Institutes of Health. Retrievd from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/
  5. Probiotics: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.