Ask the expert

Andrey

How long should I be taking probiotics?

How long should I be taking probiotics? Is there a time limit? Or can I take them limitessly? Thanks

16 March 2021

Probiotics are microbial food supplements that help keep your digestive system healthy. Currently there is no recognised or definitive duration of use of probiotics, but it is noted that there is no evidence of harm caused by them.

Evidence from randomised controlled trials suggests that probiotics are effective at relieving some of the symptoms in a variety of gastro-intestinal disorders. For example, in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the use of probiotics is a valid discussion point between patient and doctor in the lifestyle and diet management. NICE guidance suggests people who wish to try probiotics be encouraged to select one brand and take it at the recommended dose for at least four weeks while monitoring the effect. However, there is insufficient evidence to recommend named bacteria or probiotic products.

Further studies and research are required into the duration of use, likewise the results of long-term use of probiotics, type vs type and the dose taken.

In summary, probiotics are a recognised option in symptom management in some gastro-intestinal disorders, with no evidence to suggest harm, but the selection and treatment length is independent to the original need and should be continued under careful monitoring.

We hope this information is helpful.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.

Further reading and resources

Diet and nutrition hub - AXA Health

How to take better care of your health and wellbeing - AXA Health

How to have a healthy gut - AXA Health

Exercises to improve digestion - AXA Health

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