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The “Pros” of Probiotics

Healthier skin. Check.

Better sleep. Check.

Less bloating and fatigue. Check.

When it comes to improving health, probiotics check all the boxes.


“Microbes in the lower intestinal tract help with digestion and immune system regulation. A disruption in bacteria levels can lead to gut inflammation and other problems. So, when the body experiences an imbalance, bloating, diarrhea and other health problems can follow,” said Elizabeth R. Raskin, M.D., colorectal surgeon and surgical director for the Margolis Family Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program within the Digestive Health Institute at Hoag.

To learn more about how to get the most out of what you put into your body, schedule an appointment with your Hoag primary care physician today:

In the meantime, if you’re considering adding probiotics to your diet, here are some things to consider:


Find Your Balance. “The bacteria in our intestines protect the lining of the GI tract and regulate the brain-gut connection. Fatigue, mood disorders, even “brain fog” may be signs of bacterial imbalance. The key is making sure your gut is filled with ‘good’ bacteria,” Dr. Raskin said. “Ask your doctor what form of probiotic is right for you.”

Keep It Real. “Natural probiotics are found in certain fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread, sauerkraut and kimchi,” Dr. Raskin said. “Eating diverse foods that contain probiotics helps to maintain or restore the natural pH balance of your gut.”

Know What’s Good For You. Dietary supplements and food ingredients are not subject to the same level of scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medications, so it’s not always clear what – or how much – you are ingesting.

“If you are thinking about adding a probiotic supplement to your diet, consult your doctor first,” Dr. Raskin said. “It is important to know what you are ingesting and how it may affect you.”

On the whole, Dr. Raskin is “pro” probiotics.

“Seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gut,” Dr. Raskin said. “Nutrition is the path to good health. Though we’re still learning about probiotics’ effect on the immune system, several studies have pointed to probiotics improving overall health, reducing inflammation and making people feel better.”