Probiotic Bacteria

Probiotics: Bacteria in Yogurt

The science behind 'feel-good' probiotic yogurts

How often do you see a product, mainly yogurt (but also yogurt-based drinks etc), that claims to be a probiotics containing 'friendly bacteria'? You may ask yourself what are these 'friendly bacteria' in my probiotics yogurt, and are they all they are cracked up to be?

The case for Bacteria

Up until a few years ago the general opinion was that all bacteria were bad. Some more bad than others, but all were thought to be detrimental to health. We now know that this in fact isn't the case and some bacteria can be beneficial to us, partially bacteria that is found in our intestines

Why Probiotics Bacteria?

Probiotics bacteria are cultures mostly made up of the bacterium, Lactobaccullus spp and Bifidobacterium spp strains of bacteria. Some companies make special 'blended' cultures which they give brand names to, but the bacterial species are generally similar. Recent research shows that when these bacteria are cultured with intestinal epithelial cells (the cells that make up your gut lining), unlike other bacterial or bacterial products, they induce an anti-inflammatory reaction. This is why it is suggested that they are beneficial in gut conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or for lesser conditions, including that 'bloated' feeling.

Do Bacterial Probiotics Yogurts work then?

In the intestine there are 10 to the power 14 bacteria (that's 1000,000,000,000,000 bacteria - a million billion bacteria), so it isn't particularly likely that a few million bacteria from a will come near to the intestinal epithelium. Moreover these bacteria are unable to replicate themselves in the gut to colonise it. Therefore the bacteria are liable to be easily flushed out of the gut - hence the recommendation of eating the probiotics yogurt once a day (and you just thought that was a marketing ploy!)

The role of probotics bacteria in the gut

Probiotics do have role in the treatment of intestinal disease but additional research is required to determine the most efficient way they can be delivered to the gut environment. Until then by all means eat the probiotics yogurt - just don't rely on the bacteria as a cure all!

Probiotics and Bacteria in Yogurt

"What\\\'s the difference between probiotic and prebiotic. Thanks"

Jean Fleming

"hello, i love yoghurt! i love this site!"


"helpful and clarifying- thank you"


"I have pretty bad diverticultis, which is a very problematic condition affecting the intestines. Almost the day I started taking a daily probiotic yogurt drink, my symptoms eased up and my digestive system started to work a whole lot better. So from my perspecitive this stuff seems to work just fine."

K. Allan

"In one shop I bought'live yogurt' and in another 'probiotic yogurt'. Are these the same?"