Natural and Live Probiotics: Everything You Need to Know

The probiotics are live bacteria that serve to regulate intestinal flora and help with the body's defenses. Taken through food or as a supplement, they have benefits and healthy properties.

There are different classes or types of probiotics, and they should never be confused with prebiotics.

The most well-known probiotic belongs to the class lactobacillus, although there are many variants that, taken at a certain time, will help with different processes.

Lactobacilli are bacteria that process lactic acid and, when consumed correctly, can protect against bacterial infections and improve intestinal transit, thus reducing some discomforts such as intestinal gas.

Many of them are taken with yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods, but also as probiotic pills or in the form of vaginal suppositories. Nowadays, there are several products that include live microorganisms that, when coming into contact with the inside of the body, release and colonize the intestines, urinary cavities, and the stomach.

Types of Probiotics

What are Probiotics or Prebiotics

Although both have very similar names, in practice probiotics and natural prebiotics are very different, although both complement each other and are very important for the proper functioning of the body. Here are their basic differences:

  • Probiotics: are live microorganisms that live in symbiosis with humans, meaning they inhabit our bodies.
  • Prebiotics: are a type of food for probiotics and, for humans, act as non-digestible fiber. They consist of different substances and molecules that serve as a food medium for beneficial bacteria for health.

Just like probiotics, prebiotics come in various classes, with inulin, dietary fiber, fructooligosaccharides, fructose, and galactose being very well known.

Foods that contain them

Here are some examples of foods rich in probiotics:

There are plenty of natural and processed products that can serve as a base for our diet, nourish us, and at the same time provide us with millions of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, Streptococcus, and Saccharomyces, to name a few.

What are natural and live probiotics

However, certain types of food are the most beneficial due to their high content. Save the complete list of foods with probiotics so you can use them when you need them.

Are they natural?

Yes. As we have indicated, natural probiotics are live bacteria, so there is nothing more natural than this.

Benefits of Probiotics

Properties and benefits of probiotics

Some of them are supported by various scientific studies (see footnote) and others are based on diverse experiences and opinions of those who have taken them.

But to verify all the information about probiotics, here we will indicate only the benefits of probiotics that have been studied and therefore demonstrated. If we add any benefit or certain properties that are yet to be validated, we will indicate it.

Without further ado, below we indicate the benefits of taking probiotics:

  • They help regulate intestinal flora.
  • They improve the body's defenses.
  • They prevent intestinal gas.
  • They are good for controlling digestive problems.
  • They eliminate bad breath.
  • They increase the absorption of nutrients from food.
  • They have properties to increase the production of B and K group vitamins.
  • They prevent intestinal inflammation.
  • They protect the skin against diseases.
  • They regulate the immune system, preventing allergies.

Can Children and Babies Take Them?

Anyone regardless of their age, gender, or condition.

Probiotics are ideal for preventing many diseases and reducing gastrointestinal discomfort, very useful for treating bacterial infections in the intestines, vagina, and urinary tract.

Although they are good for all ages, in children it is recommended to use them with caution and always in moderation, administering probiotics for children. These are special as the dose is calculated based on age and body weight. It is not the same for an adult to ingest 1,000,000 lactobacillus plantarum as for a baby or a small child.

Probiotics for babies and small children

The younger the age, the more advisable it is to consult a doctor. It should be noted that they modify digestive processes and, although they are beneficial, being live bacteria, the ingested amount could be too large.

To avoid this, always use them in indicated cases, and if you want probiotics for babies, consult a pediatrician. They will know the best brands to recommend, which you can then compare with the information on our portal.

Which Are the Best Probiotics?

There is some discrepancy because different strains or classes of probiotics can have slightly different benefits. For example, the so-called Lactobacillus brevis is used to increase intestinal flora but also to treat bad breath with the strain Brevis W63.

Another well-known probiotic is Lactobacillus plantarum. This one is suitable for helping people with atopic dermatitis (atopic skin), and in the case of Lactobacillus salivarius, it acts to reduce bad breath.

While all probiotics have benefits for digestion and reducing bloating, the slight variations between different types can greatly benefit certain disorders and diseases. So it matters which one we take; rather, the best probiotics should be chosen according to each moment.

But don't worry, at EntreProbióticos, we will group them by their characteristics so you can choose the best probiotic for you.



To eliminate constipation, it is important to have a balanced intestinal flora. This will facilitate intestinal transit and prevent some disorders like blockage in bowel movements, bloating, and heavy digestion.

When the microbiota is reduced, different digestive problems can occur, leading to bloating and stomach discomfort.

In case you didn't know, there are some bacteria that are good for activating defecation. So, here are the best probiotics for constipation:

If you have questions about the characteristics of each of them, we recommend that you use the search engine or select the one you want in the top menu.

Probiotics and Pregnancy

Probiotics and pregnancy

During the gestation period, caution should always be taken with supplements and products we consume. Although, in principle, probiotics during pregnancy are safe, it is always advisable to be careful.

The probiotics most commonly used for pregnant women are Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and Bifidobacterium. While in many cases they will be beneficial, it cannot be guaranteed that they will be harmless if you are pregnant.

Although they will benefit your digestive health, probiotics and pregnancy should be monitored. Comprehensive studies during the 9 months of fetal development are still pending. There is no data indicating that there are risks of miscarriages or malformations of any kind. However, as we mentioned, more data is needed to conclude their absolute safety if you are pregnant.

We recommend that you always consult your obstetrician, gynecologist, or specialist who is monitoring your health and that of the baby, and if necessary, they will tell you which of them is the most suitable for your situation.

Some brands develop probiotics for pregnant women, including in each pill a lower concentration of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria to ensure safety.


Probiotics for infants and during women's lactation

Sometimes we find that the baby cries repeatedly without us finding the reason. In other cases, colic may appear. In these cases, it may be convenient to use the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri as a natural remedy.

Probiotics for infants should be used in smaller doses than in adults. The best probiotic is L. reuteri, which should be used in a dose of 108 CFU, i.e., five drops a day for a period of 21 to 28 consecutive days (always consult before).

This amount is indicated for small babies, but always with a weight above 2.5 kg. They should also be in good health, without signs of other diseases or pathologies except for suffering from the so-called infant colic.

The benefits of using probiotics in infants include a reduced amount of crying, which can be noticed from the 7th day of administration. Results can be extended up to 21 days, during which it will be observed that each passing day, the baby feels better and cries less.

However, as in the case of pregnant women, although there are some control studies, their effectiveness is not fully demonstrated in the entire population. We recommend that, before administering it, consult your pediatrician or neonatology specialist.

Intestinal Flora

One of the main functions of probiotics is to restore the intestinal flora. This should be generated from birth and continue with us into adulthood.

How to increase intestinal flora

The microbiota or intestinal flora is key to having a healthy intestine capable of processing all foods. Additionally, it plays a key role in protecting against harmful bacteria and germs that cause infections.

By using probiotics for intestinal flora we ensure that our body is prepared to prevent harmful microorganisms from affecting us. The intestinal flora creates a barrier that, along with the intestinal mucosa, isolates us from many harmful bacteria and helps us digest food well.

An adult person has on average 100 trillion good bacteria in their body. So, it is really important to take care of the microbiota.

While most of the healthy bacterial colony increases by reproduction or through food intake, the use of probiotics, in certain cases, can be beneficial to regenerate the intestinal flora.

Probiotic Function in Intestinal Flora

  • Protection against harmful bacteria.
  • Increase in intestinal mucosa.
  • Improving the release of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA).
  • Establishing better functioning of central artery spaces, preventing adhesion and growth of pathogenic bacteria.
  • Proper digestion without stomach heaviness and gas formation.
  • Allowing the synthesis of vitamins B and K.
  • Boosting and strengthening the immune system.
  • Regulating the absorption of iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Probiotics for Candidiasis

Sometimes it can be good to complement antifungal treatment with some of the best probiotics for candidiasis.

Infection caused by Candida albicans is one of the most common vaginal infections. To treat it, antifungal drugs are necessary, but at the same time that these produce positive effects by eliminating fungi from the genitourinary tract, there is also a reduction of the normal vaginal microbiota.

This is one of the usual side effects and a significant inconvenience. The use of clotrimazole, miconazole, and other antifungals is quite common in the form of vaginal suppositories. Also, sometimes treatment can be done with oral doses of the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii for candida.

To avoid the side effects of antifungals, treating candidiasis with probiotics can be a viable and suitable way to reduce these adverse reactions and strengthen the vaginal flora after the drugs have done their work.

Both in their oral tablet form and as probiotic suppositories, they can improve the mycological cure rate. Additionally, they can reduce the recurrence rate, meaning they help prevent new reappearances of the C. albicans infection.

Probiotics for Vegans

Probiotics for vegans and vegetarians

While vegans do not consume animal-derived foods, which limits access to certain types of food, there are some valid alternatives for taking probiotics for vegans. These include:

  • Coconut milk yogurt.
  • Fermented soy products.
  • Fermented vegetables:
    • Kimchi.
  • Pickled vegetables.
  • Fruit pickles.
  • Kombucha tea.

When Should They Be Taken?

Many people know about their properties and have heard they are very beneficial but do not know the right time to use them. So, do not worry, we will explain, in a simple and truthful way, when to take probiotics.

  • After antibiotic treatment.
  • After having diarrhea.
  • When suffering from gastroenteritis.
  • When we catch a cold or the flu, respiratory diseases.
  • Infections such as cystitis, vaginitis, vulvovaginitis, etc.
  • In spring to prevent allergies.

Remember that probiotics have health benefits but are not a medical treatment. To fight infections, antibiotics are often needed. These drugs kill microorganisms, both good and bad, so the ideal time to take probiotics is right after.

This way, we restore the bacterial colony in the intestines, stomach, respiratory tract, and, if used in the form of suppositories, the vaginal flora.

Recommended Time of Day

Although they can be taken at any time of the day, there is a time when they are much more beneficial than at other times.

Since they act in the stomach and intestines, it is predictable that the best time is to take them when you are going to eat.

The perfect time to take probiotics is 10 minutes before eating or while eating.

By doing so, you will avoid many heavy digestions, and if you usually suffer from intestinal gas, they will be minimized. Probiotic microorganisms prevent food from rotting in the intestines. They inhibit the putrefaction of food that generates most gases, which are then released as farts and burps.

Can They Be Taken at Breakfast or Dinner?

Of course. Notice that we indicated it was appropriate to take them with meals, but we did not specify whether it should be morning, noon, or night. Simply with food, so you can process it better and thus avoid some of the typical digestion problems.

What you should keep in mind is not to take them with acidic foods and, whenever possible, avoid very hot drinks to ensure many of them do not die. Ideally, take them with room temperature water, neither too cold nor too hot.

Another important point is that if you open the protective container, consume them immediately. Light, oxygen, and heat can kill them quickly, so if you postpone taking them, store them in a cool, dry place, away from light. At the right moment, open and take them. And that's it. In a short time, you will start to notice all their benefits, increasing gradually so that after a few weeks, you will have restored the bacterial colonies throughout your body (bacterial flora).

Probiotics Before or After Antibiotics

Another big question that exists today, besides the right time, is whether it is good to take probiotics before or after antibiotics. Well, let's explain the reasons for doing so before, during, and after.

Probiotics before or after antibiotics

Probiotics before antibiotics prepare the body to better assimilate the drugs and result in less deterioration of the bacterial colony targeted.

Taking probiotics and antibiotics together helps prevent the beneficial microorganisms from decreasing in large numbers. This type of medication kills all types of bacteria (except some as they are specific), and while harmful bacteria are reduced, you retain the good ones as you incorporate them daily.

Probiotics after antibiotics will help restore and regulate the bacteria that were eliminated even though their number should not have been reduced.

Although treatments aim to be as conservative as possible and care for the parts of the body that should not be harmed, sometimes, due to the virulence of certain pathogens, there is no choice but to act with a strong drug. This can sometimes deteriorate the intestinal flora or the bacterial colony located elsewhere, so by including the probiotic after the antibiotic, we ensure there will be an expansion until the areas left free by the medication effects are colonized.

Is It Better to Take Them Before, Together, or After?

It will largely depend on the type of treatment and the person's health status.

If it is known in advance that the antibiotic is strong, it may be good to include a probiotic before to prepare the body.

Also, taking probiotics and antibiotics together will reinforce the intestinal flora, preventing it from declining significantly, which could otherwise lead to stomach discomfort.

The disadvantage of taking them at the same time is that while you are adding them to the body, you are also eliminating them due to the drug's effect. However, the advantage is that you will never completely eradicate the probiotic colony; rather, it will decrease and increase each day.

Are They Medicines?

No. Probiotics are not medicines although they are often recommended to be taken with them to avoid many side effects and contraindications.

Since many of them are sold in pharmacies, there is confusion about whether they could be medicines. But to clarify, for example, yogurt is a probiotic food, and although it can be sold in pharmacies, it is not classified as a drug.

The difference between so-called pharmacy probiotic medicines and those that are not is that they are manufactured by pharmaceutical laboratories. It is assumed, and we say assumed, that they must have higher quality control to be supplied in these establishments. But as with everything, we advise you to choose the brand and type of probiotic you will use carefully, as well as the purpose for which you want to use it.


References on Probiotics and Pregnancy:

  • Dugoua, Jean-Jacques et al., “Probiotic Safety in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces spp, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada, 2009; 31(6).
  • Johnson, Kate, “Probiotics in Pregnancy, Lactation Reduce Dermatitis,” American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 2014.
  • Elias, Jackie, Bozzo, Pina, and Einarson, Adrienne, “Are probiotics safe for use during pregnancy and lactation? National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health.
  • Baral, Matthew, “Probiotics and Pregnant Women,” Natural Medicines Journal, 2015.
  • Azad, Meghan, et al., Probiotic supplementation during pregnancy or infancy for the prevention of asthma and wheeze: systematic review and meta-analysis, British Medical Journal, 2013; 347.

Probiotics for Candidiasis:

  • The Smarter Probiotic.


  • Rondanelli M, Giacosa A, Faliva MA et al. Review on microbiota and effectiveness of probiotic use in older. World J Clin Cases 2015, 16: 156-62.
  • Mearín F, Montoro MA. Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In: Montoro MA, Garcia-Pagan, eds. Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Common Problems in Clinical Practice. 2nd Edition. Jarpyo S.A. Madrid 2012.
  • Hungin A, Mulligan C, Pot B et al. Systematic review: probiotics in the management of lower gastrointestinal symptoms in clinical practice – an evidence-based international guide. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013; 38(8): 864–886.