Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"What is the purpose of having probiotics in your diet?"


I have some mild stomach issues that bother me from time to time. Then I read an article about probiotics and how they can regulate your stomach for you. Would eating yogurt or something like that help my stomach?


Your question is actually a fairly common one. The honest answer is -- we don't know. Probiotics are a relatively new idea.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Gastroenterologists near you

That being said, the theory behind them makes sense, so people are really supporting their use. I would recommend discussing this with your doctor. Firstly, I would recommend talking to your doctor about these stomach issues. While likely something small -- there are many causes of stomach issues that can develop into a major problem if left untreated. Also, there are many more standard medications that can be used. As such, just checking in with your doctor regarding your symptoms is warranted. As for probitoics, the data behind them is unclear. Essentially, probiotics are supplements and bacteria that help bacteria grow in your digestive system. There are normally many different types of bacteria in your digestive system however problems can occur when they are wiped out or the wrong ones grow. So the thought behind probiotics is to help the right bacteria grow and survive and therefore limit the wrong ones from growing. Despite the fact that the above makes sense -- there is no convincing data that this theory actually works in otherwise healthy people. There are some specific diseases, like irritable bowel syndrome, where there is better data to support its use, but not in general. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.