Culturelle is a probiotic supplement that can help replace bad bacteria with good -- regulating digestion and helping to treat diarrhea. Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that aid in digestion and boost your immune system. According to Harvard Medical School, there are more than 100 trillion microbes of more than 500 different species in a healthy person's GI tract. Good bacteria keep harmful ones in check. Anything that upsets that balance can cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upsets.
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From the Latin "pro biota" meaning "for life" probiotics are beneficial bacteria that the National Institutes of Health says could be helpful in treating irritable bowel syndrome, colic in babies, yeast infections and diarrhea caused by rotavirus, traveling and antibiotic usage. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, pickles, sauerkraut and kimchi contain different strains of these beneficial bacteria. You can also buy probiotic supplements with specific strains. Not every type of friendly bacteria will treat every issue; results are strain-specific.
Culturelle contains 10 billion live cells of Lactobacillus GG, a well-studied strain proven to treat children's diarrhea caused by antibiotics and adults' diarrhea caused by traveling. NIH specifically notes that Culturelle "seems to help prevent diarrhea in travelers." It must be noted that the effectiveness of Lactobacillus GG varies depending on the destination because there are different bacteria in different locations. Culturelle can also reduce diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems of people taking 5-fluorouracil -- a chemotherapy drug with severe side-effects.
Culturelle can be taken daily to maintain good digestion. Capsules can be swallowed or opened and added to food or drink -- as long as the food is at 75 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Probiotics are live microbes, so do not expose them to heat. Each Culturelle capsule contains 10 billion organisms -- enough to treat traveler's diarrhea and antibiotic-related diarrhea. For 5-fluorouracil, you may need up to 20 billion cells. By comparison, yogurt usually contains about 1 billion cells per serving; Culturelle contains 10 times that amount.
Diarrhea can be dehydrating. While your body uses Culturelle to replenish good bacteria, make sure to replace lost fluids by drinking water or watered-down fruit juice, but avoid apple or pear juice because they can make diarrhea worse, cautions the Mayo Clinic. Avoid dairy, high-fat, high-fiber or spicy food for a few days and try eating low-fiber foods such as eggs, chicken, rice, soda crackers or gelatin. If diarrhea continues for more than three days and you develop a fever, seek medical attention.