By Dr. Janet Brill

Q: With all of the probiotic culture drinks, cheeses and other dairy products on the market, can the use (or overuse) of these products be detrimental to my digestive system?

A: Probiotics are live, “healthy” bacteria that are added to the diet and function to promote better health. They reside in the colon. Common names of these “friendly” bacteria are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (this strain of healthy bacteria is included in Dannon Activia yogurt).

Why is it good for your health to increase the number of these bacteria? Probiotics ingested in the diet:

Overpower bad disease-causing bacteria.
Help boost the body’s immune system.
Help the body absorb vitamins and minerals and increase the body’s internal production of B vitamins.
May help bone health by increasing the absorption of calcium and the ability of the bones to absorb calcium.
Decrease diarrhea and diaper rash in babies.
May improve constipation in the elderly.
May reduce the conversion of bile into carcinogenic substances (decreasing risk of colon cancer).

Because probiotics are the good kind of bacteria, and promote health, they would not be detrimental to your health, regardless of the amount ingested.

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