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Johns Hopkins Health - Probiotics: Pros and Cons

Fall 2011
Issue No. 14

Probiotics: Pros and Cons

Date: October 12, 2011


There is a lot of talk about how probiotics can help you achieve optimal digestive health. But which claims are true?

Evidence suggests probiotics offer certain health benefits, says Linda A. Lee, M.D., a Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist, but there is no proof yet that they’re a cure-all.

“Probiotics may help some people who have diarrhea when they take antibiotics, or women with bloating from irritable bowel syndrome,” she explains. “They may also be helpful when used along with medical therapy in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.”

Probiotics exist in many different strains, and Lee recommends you ask your doctor or pharmacist about ones that have proved effective in clinical trials. As for yogurt, she says, be aware that not every brand contains the beneficial microorganisms.

Unless your doctor says probiotics may help with a specific issue, Lee says a healthy diet is the best way to achieve optimal digestive health.

Save the Date
Women’s Health Conference
Join Linda Lee, M.D., and other Johns Hopkins experts at A Woman’s Journey, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s annual women’s health conference, on Nov. 12. For more information, call 410-955-8660 or visit

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