What Are Probiotics: Definition and Health Benefits of Friendly, Live Bacteria

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are typically consumed in order to promote health benefits. These benefits are thought to be mediated by improving or restoring the gut microbiota. Probiotics are found in various food sources, such as yogurt and fermented milk, and can also be taken as supplements.

Although probiotics are generally considered safe to consume, there is a potential for bacteria-host interactions and unwanted side effects in some cases. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before beginning probiotic therapy.

Losing weight is all about diet and exercise, but did you know that your gut flora can also play a major role in how much weight you lose?

Probiotics are live bacteria found in many foods like yogurt.

They help with digestion and may even reduce bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive symptoms.

You might want to give probiotics a try if you’re having trouble losing weight or keeping it off.

Losing weight is not easy. It requires a lot of commitment and dedication, but it can be done if you follow the right process.

Probiotics help women lose weight by helping your body maintain lean muscle mass as well as regulate blood sugar levels so that you feel better and have more energy throughout the day.

This article discusses how probiotics can improve your health and help with weight loss in an effective manner.

What Are Probiotics?

woman eats probiotic foods for beneficial bacteria
Probiotics have a ton of health benefits, but most people only think of them in terms of gut health. Not only do probiotics help with gut health, but they can also help you lose weight, improve your immune system, and even reduce stress levels.

Probiotics are considered by some scientists to be one of the most important advances in health and wellness.

Often called “friendly” or “good” bacteria, probiotics have a myriad of benefits.

Did you know that there are more than 500 different types of bacteria inside your body right now?

The majority of these bacteria exist in the large intestine, where they help with digestion. You may have heard people refer to them as “good” or “friendly” bacteria.

The word probiotic is used to describe live microorganisms (in most cases bacteria) that are believed to have health benefits when consumed.

The microorganisms themselves are sometimes referred to as “probiotics” or “friendly germs.”

They help to maintain the balance of organisms (called microbiota or microflora) that live inside your body and are considered essential for good digestive health, immune function, regular bowel movements, protection against allergies and food intolerances.

Though they are naturally present in many foods, it is possible to improve the levels of friendly bacteria in your gut by taking a daily probiotic supplement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes health claims made about probiotics and supports the view that foods containing live microbial cultures, including those with probiotics, are generally healthy and provide a benefit to those who consume them as part of their fat loss diet.

Which Probiotics Are Best For Weight Loss?

woman takes probiotics for weight loss and gut health
Probiotics are bacteria that line your gut and support digestion and overall health. But that’s not all! These friendly bacteria have also been linked to weight loss, improved moods, better skin, and enhanced cognitive function.

The best probiotics for weight loss are Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium longum.

All three of these strains have been shown to help you lose weight by stimulating your metabolism so that your body burns more calories throughout the day.

They’ve also been shown to reduce hunger and sugar cravings as well as decrease the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that causes weight gain.

Probiotics have been researched for their effects on weight loss, and the results are not only encouraging but enlightening.

Probiotics have a large number of benefits that can also be attributed to weight loss including increased energy levels, improved moods, lower cholesterol levels, and better digestive health.

One study, in particular, found that women who took probiotics had significant reductions in belly fat, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol after just one month of treatment!

6 Benefits Of Probiotics

Some important health benefits which have been reported from the consumption of probiotics include:

  1. Reducer risk of infections including UTIs and yeast infections
  2. Improved skin appearance, reducing acne
  3. Improved mood, may help with anxiety and depression
  4. Healthy digestion, reduced bloating, and gas
  5. Improved allergy response
  6. Probiotics are also thought to reduce the risk of diabetes and help with weight loss.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract contains millions of bacteria – both good and bad.

These bacteria help to digest food, produce certain vitamins, prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system.

Probiotics work by helping the body maintain a balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria so that harmful strains do not take over.

The term dysbiosis is used when this bacterial balance is disrupted and bad bacteria become dominant. This usually results in several digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, or bloating.

There are many different strains of probiotic bacteria – the most important being lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

These “good” bacteria can be found naturally in some foods, but it is possible to increase levels by taking a supplement.

You can also increase your intake of friendly bacteria by eating a diet that is rich in probiotics.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt have all been shown to contain beneficial microbes.

How Do You Know If Your Digestive Tract Is Healthy?

One way to find out if you have sufficient levels of friendly bacteria is to run a stool test.

This involves sending a sample of your stool to a lab, which will then send back information on the number of different types of friendly bacteria found in the sample.

If friendly bacteria levels are found to be low, then a course of supplementation with a high-quality probiotic supplement can help to restore them.

What To Look For In A Good Probiotic Supplement

There are many factors you should consider when choosing a probiotic supplement. These include:

  1. The number of different strains
  2. How many live bacteria are in the supplement
  3. How long it works for after opening (shelf life)
  4. The number of bacteria that survive after passing through stomach acid and bile salts, to reach the intestine intact

Strains Of Beneficial Bacteria

There are many different types of probiotic strains. The most common include:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

The first four strains listed above are the most common and have been shown to benefit the digestive system.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus has also been proven to be beneficial for intestinal health, while Bifidobacterium lactis can help to ease symptoms of IBS.

The ideal probiotic should contain a range of different types of bacteria, including many different strains.

For example, a supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis would be a better choice than one which contains only Lactobacillus acidophilus.

It is also important to find a supplement that provides at least 10 billion live bacteria in each dose, to ensure that enough survive the journey through the stomach and reach the intestines intact.

Live bacteria are also better than freeze-dried cultures. Freeze-drying helps to preserve them while shipping, but it reduces the number of live bacteria in each dose.

How Many Bacteria Should Be In A Probiotic?

The amount of live “good” bacteria found in a probiotic supplement can vary from strain to strain and brand to brand, but you should aim for at least 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) per day when choosing a probiotic supplement.

One way to check this is to look at the number of live bacteria that are guaranteed at the time you open the bottle.

If the bottle states that there are 5 billion CFUs, then this means that you will receive up to 5 billion live bacteria when you take one capsule.

However, many experts recommend taking around 30 billion CFUs per day, so it is better to find a supplement that contains at least this amount.

It’s also important to choose a probiotic which has been stored within the correct temperature range, and away from direct sunlight.

The helpful bacteria in these supplements are very fragile and need to be kept as cool as possible for transportation and storage.

Shelf-Life Of A Probiotic Supplement

If you are taking a probiotic supplement every day, it is important to find one that has a long shelf life.

Ideally, the supplement should have plenty of live bacteria when you take your first capsule. This will help to ensure that they survive until they reach the intestine intact and can start doing their job.

The bottom line is that you need to do some research before choosing a probiotic supplement.

This will ensure that you buy one which contains enough live bacteria, has been stored correctly within the required temperature range, and contains several different strains of helpful bacteria to support your overall health.

Taking Probiotics With Prebiotics

You may also want to consider buying a probiotic with prebiotics.

Prebiotics stimulate the growth of “good” bacteria in your intestines and help them to multiply quickly.

This can improve digestive function and help to strengthen your immune system – especially if you suffer from yeast overgrowth in the gut (candida albicans).

Prebiotics also come in supplement form, but you can also get them from foods.

Foods that include prebiotics:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Soybeans

In addition to these foods, you can also get prebiotics from legumes, whole grains, and vegetables.

Also, remember that the friendly bacteria in yogurt are good sources of prebiotics for your digestive system.

However, it is best to use them sparingly until you know that you have the correct balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your intestines.

Some of the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt are also lactose intolerant, so they may not be able to survive if you eat a lot of dairy products.

However, there are plenty of other food sources of prebiotics without this problem, including supplements that contain galactooligosaccharides.

These supplements contain prebiotics that is made from lactose, but they do not cause symptoms in people who are lactose intolerant.

What Is The Difference Between Prebiotics And Probiotics?

The difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics feed the good gut bacteria already present in your body, whereas probiotics introduce new varieties of bacteria into your digestive system.

If you have a healthy balance of different types of bacteria, both good and bad, then they will play nicely together and support each other’s growth.

However, if you have too many unhealthy bacteria, such as yeast overgrowth (candida albicans), then this can cause digestive problems and make it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients from the food that you eat.

Probiotics help to restore a healthy balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your intestines by introducing helpful bacteria into your digestive system.

However, prebiotics work by stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria that are already present in your body.

Why Are Probiotics Good For Women?

Women should take probiotics because they are good for the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, vaginal health, and may even help you lose weight.

Taken along with collagen, they’re phenomenal for your skin.

Probiotics have been specifically studied in women for their ability to promote vaginal health.

These supplements have been found to improve overall vaginal health by helping to restore the correct balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Probiotics are good for women because they

  • Promote digestive and immune health
  • Restore the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your intestines, helping you to fight yeast overgrowth (candida albicans)
  • Improve your vaginal health
  • Improve the overall health of your urinary tract
  • Help you to control yeast infections and may even help prevent them from occurring in the first place

What causes yeast infections?

Yeast infections can be caused by an overgrowth of candida albicans in the body.

This is a type of yeast that naturally lives in humans and other warm-blooded animals (including dogs and cats).

However, it is kept in check by the immune and digestive systems and other “good” bacteria.

If this balance gets disrupted, or if there is an overgrowth of candida albicans for some reason, then yeast infections can occur.

Drinking alcohol, taking antibiotics (which kill all types of bacteria), and consuming a lot of sugar can all lead to an overgrowth in candida albicans.

Some women also experience recurrent yeast infections when they are taking hormone-based contraceptives (because these upset the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina).

Probiotics help to restore this balance by introducing beneficial bacteria into the body, which compete with candida albicans for food and space.

They also produce substances such as hydrogen peroxide, which help to keep yeast infections at bay.

Yogurt and kefir contain probiotics that can restore the balance of bacteria in your gut, leading to better digestive function and stronger immunity against other types of harmful bacteria and viruses.

This should make it harder for candida to take hold, or to cause an overgrowth in your body.

Should I Take Probiotics With Food?

Probiotics daily should be taken with food, as this decreases the chances of developing stomach upset or gas.

If your product contains prebiotics, take it at a different time of day than your probiotic supplement to avoid conflict.

When Should I Take Probiotics?

Probiotics should be taken every day, even when you are feeling healthy.

Even if you do not currently have yeast problems, these supplements can still help to keep your body in better balance and improve your overall health.

You should take probiotics after finishing a course of antibiotics, as this will help to restore the “good” bacteria that you need for good health.

How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work?

How long it takes for probiotics to work can vary depending on the person, but most people start to notice an improvement in their gastrointestinal health after about 5-10 days; however, you could start noticing an improvement much sooner.

It is best to take them every day for at least two months before you decide whether or not they are effective for you.

Do Probiotics Expire?

Probiotic supplements typically have a shelf-life of between two and four years.

If the bottle has an expiration date, this is usually printed clearly on its label.

After opening, store your probiotic supplement in a cool, dry place to make sure it stays fresh for as long as possible.

Are There Any Side Effects to Taking Probiotics?

When you first start taking probiotics, you may experience some side effects like gas or stomach cramps; however, this should only occur for a short period (a few days at most).

If your symptoms become severe or don’t stop after two weeks, call your doctor.

10 Foods Containing Probiotics

Here are the 10 most popular probiotic foods:


Plain, whole milk yogurt is a good source of probiotics. It also a high protein food that contains calcium, and vitamin D which are important for your bones.


Sauerkraut, made from fermented cabbage, is another great source of beneficial bacteria. However, it usually has to be bought in a store and is high in sodium so eat in moderation.


Kombucha is a drink that contains beneficial bacteria; however, it can be expensive and may contain large amounts of sugar, so only consume occasionally.

Miso soup

Miso soup also has probiotics in it, which can help boost your immune function and maintain a healthy gut-bacterial balance.


Tempeh (a soy product) is fermented using the bacteria Rhizopus oligosporus or another Rhizopus species. It also contains a substantial amount of dietary fiber and protein, as well as vitamin C.


Natto, which is made from fermented soybeans, and tamari or shoyu, both of which are varieties of soy sauce.


Kefir is a fermented dairy product that contains large amounts of B vitamins, vitamin K2, iron, calcium, and protein.


Lassi is a drink made with fermented milk, yogurt, or coconut milk and it also contains probiotics.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread is another source of probiotics because the fermentation process breaks down phytic acid which makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.


Pickles are another popular source of probiotics as they are fermented using lactic acid bacteria. You should eat them in moderation, however, because pickles are high in sodium.

Many vegetables are fermented during processing, including sauerkraut, beets, cucumbers, and pickles, so they also contain the healthy bacteria your body needs.

The fermentation process also increases their levels of vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 is essential for the formation of calcium-binding proteins in your body. It also helps to transport calcium from your bloodstream to your bones, where it belongs.

The K2 in natto, sourdough bread, and miso are not the same as vitamin K2 supplements. The two types of vitamin K2 work synergistically, but they are very different from each other.

What Is Vitamin K2?

Although both forms of vitamin K2 help to support the health of your bones, vitamin K2 is not directly responsible for this.

Vitamin K2 helps deposit calcium into the right places in your bones, but calcium doesn’t help you develop strong bones by itself. This is where vitamin K2 comes in.

K2 tells your body that it needs to start building strong bones, and it also tells your kidneys that they need to stop excreting calcium into your urine.

Why Is Vitamin K2 Important?

Vitamin K deficiencies are responsible for osteoporosis, tooth decay, hemorrhagic disease of the newborn, heart disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, inflammation in general, and cancer.


Many people don’t realize that vitamin K is essential for the formation of osteocalcin, a protein in your bones that is responsible for binding calcium into your bones.

Without enough vitamin K2 in your body, your bones can’t hold onto their calcium and you develop weak brittle bones.

Tooth decay

Vitamin K2 is also important for the health of your teeth. It promotes healthy gums and strong bones in your jaw, which means that you are less likely to develop cavities or gum disease.

How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Work?

The effects will depend on what type of probiotic is in the food or supplement, and your personal situation.

The best-case scenario for any kind of probiotic is that it contains Bifidobacterium infantis, which has been shown to reach the colon alive and establish itself within hours or days.

They can also take up to several months to start working if you’ve killed all of the probiotics in your gut by eating poorly or being exposed to antibiotics so it’s going to take some time for new ones to repopulate your gut.

When Is The Best Time To Take Probiotics- On An Empty Stomach Or With Meals?

This depends on the product and it’s best to check your supplement labels in order to determine whether or not it can be taken with food.

Probiotics usually begin working in the intestine, so either way is fine as long as you’re taking them orally.

What matters most is that you take them consistently over time.

When Is The Best Time To Take Probiotics Morning Or Night?

The best time to take probiotics is at night. Your digestive system slows down at night, which decreases the absorption of nutrients and speeds up the elimination process.

The best time to take your probiotics is before you go to bed to get the maximum benefit from them while also helping your body get rid of toxins stored in your lymphatic system (where most waste product travels).

Which Yogurt Has The Most Probiotics?

The yogurt with the most probiotics is plain whole-milk yogurt.

The reason why plain yogurt usually contains more probiotics than flavored yogurts is that manufacturers want to make their products as tasty as possible, so they often use pasteurized milk instead of raw milk.

Raw milk, which is used to create homemade yogurt, has a much lower pH and a higher concentration of healthy bacteria.

Fruit-flavored yogurts are usually packed with sugar and artificial flavors so they’re best avoided, but plain yogurt is another great source of probiotics.

Greek yogurt has more probiotics than other varieties because it’s strained to remove the whey, which makes it thicker.

The process of removing the whey also increases the concentration of beneficial bacteria.

Non-dairy yogurts don’t usually contain many probiotics at all unless they’re specifically marketed as containing live active cultures.

And even then, you should still check to make sure that it’s made with whole milk instead of low-fat milk.

How Long Do Probiotics Stay In Your System?

Probiotics can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to leave your body.

They begin working in the intestinal tract, so it’s going to take some time before they start making an impact on other parts of your body.

How Long Are Probiotics Good After The Expiration Date?

Probiotics usually remain active for a few weeks or months after their expiration date, depending on the specific probiotic and how it was made.

The length of time also depends on whether you kept it at the right temperature- room temperature is recommended for most products, but it can be refrigerated if necessary to extend its shelf life (the same is true of packaged probiotics as well).

The best-case scenario is that you keep your probiotics in a cool, dry place and they’ll remain active for several months even after they’ve expired.

What Probiotics Are Good For Acne?

The best probiotics for acne are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium longum.

They’ve all been shown to help reduce inflammation by decreasing the number of free radicals in your body while also balancing your pH levels.

Prebiotics Vs. Probiotics: Which Is Better?

Prebiotics and probiotics are both great for your overall health, but they provide different benefits.

Probiotics help balance the bacteria within your gut while prebiotics feeds your good bacteria so that they can multiply even more.

If you suffer from any sort of digestive disorder like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s Disease, prebiotics is a great option for you.

Meanwhile, if you want to increase the number of good bacteria in your intestinal tract so that it can fight off yeast infections and other harmful organisms, probiotics are best for this purpose.

What Probiotics Are In Kombucha?

The bacteria in kombucha that’s good for you contains acetic acid, gluconic acid, and glucuronic acid.

These acids fight off harmful organisms and increase your metabolism while also increasing the number of vitamins in your body.

Kombucha is a fizzy drink that contains yeast and bacteria.

The combination of those two things makes Kombucha an extremely potent probiotic.

The best thing about it is that you don’t have to consume large amounts of Kombucha to reap its benefits, because even just one bottle provides your body with lots of healthy live bacteria.

The SCOBY “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” is what makes kombucha so healthy.

There’s a lot of debate about whether this should be called a probiotic because it also contains yeast, but we’re going to go with yes because there are such high quantities of good bacteria in this sweet tea drink.

Probiotics in kombucha are going to be a little different from regular probiotics because they have a slightly different reaction in the body after being consumed.

They still provide health benefits, but it takes longer for them to do their job.

Kombucha contains other types of good bacteria as well that aren’t found in other yogurts or fermented foods.

Specifically, it’s made up of acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, as well as some yeast cultures.

Kombucha also contains a couple of different probiotics, but it’s unlikely that they will be alive when you drink them since the high acidity levels kills them so rapidly.

Which Has More Probiotics Kefir Or Kombucha?

Kefir has a wider range of strains, but kombucha’s bacteria cultures may be better at protecting the liver and fighting off cancer.

Both kefir and kombucha contain a wide variety of good bacteria that help improve your immune system while also balancing the pH levels in your body.

How Much Sauerkraut To Eat Daily For Probiotics?

A great way to get more probiotics in your diet is by eating about a cup of sauerkraut per day.

Sauerkraut is made up of finely cut cabbage which has been fermented so that it’s extremely high in both lactobacillus and lactic acid.

It also contains other types of healthy bacteria that will improve your digestive system and reduce inflammation.

We hope you enjoyed our list of the top probiotics for women. As always, we’re here to help answer any questions.

Please share this article with friends and family so they can get all the information they need to make their own choices about which probiotic is best for them!


  • Mike Collins CPT- ISSA. Specialist in Performance Nutrition. Expert Fat Loss Consultant. Founder of MCNewsletters- Weight loss for Women, and co author of the Black Book of Secrets, Dirty Little Book of Dieting, and Man on a Mission. Has held the World Championship Title of Fitness Professional for 23 years. Got hooked on turning ordinary bodies into extraordinary bodies in the gym at night, while working his way through school. Now he observes the nuance and distinctions that generate success and slings insight straight to you from his laptop while eating pizza in Brooklyn or fish tacos in Sausalito. Easily Bribed w/ Tickets: U2. Baseball. Football. Basketball. Tennis. ✈ NYC ✈ Nor Cal ✈