What Should I Take Probiotics For?
There are many different uses of probiotics, a.k.a. "friendly bacteria". They can be taken preventively all year round to ward off food poisoning-type infections, coughs and colds, to improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and to aid the detoxification of excess hormones and other toxins from the body. A 2009 randomized, controlled study showed that children who took probiotics twice daily had significantly decreased fevers, coughs and runny noses.
Probiotics are also important for helping to prevent complications in pregnancy; this may be in part due to prevention of group B strep and urinary tract infections, which can bring about pre-term labor.
Probiotics with Antibiotics
Probiotics should definitely be taken during and after antibiotics to prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea and opportunistic yeast and Clostridium difficile infections. Probiotics do not interfere with the efficacy of antibiotics in killing the infective germs, but should be taken as far apart in time from antibiotics to preserve their survival. This is because antibiotics are non-specific: they kill the infective or "bad" bacteria as well as the good guys.
Probiotics for Travel
When traveling or camping in a new area, you may have low natural resistance to the microbial life in that environment and in the food and water you consume. When probiotics are in good supply in your gut with supplemental extras on the go, you'll be in better shape to have a trip uncomplicated by traveler's diarrhea.