Probiotics: Preventing Complications of Antibiotic Use
What are probiotics?
Genus Species
  • adolescentis
  • animalis
  • bifidum
  • breve
  • longum
  • acidophilus
  • casei
  • fermentum
  • gasseri
  • johnsonii
  • paracasei
  • plantarum
  • rhamnosus
  • salivarius

Probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on the host”.1

While many different microorganisms are purported for use as probiotics, not all have been assessed in clinical studies and of those that have been studied, not all have demonstrated a benefit with treatment or use.

The following bacteria are “well-studied species likely to impart some general benefits” and have been accepted by Health Canada as probiotics for which non-strain specific health claims can be made:12

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most studied and the most commonly found bacteria in probiotic products for human consumption. They have the following effects:13


  • Inhibition of the growth of enteric pathogens
  • Production of antimicrobial compounds
  • Reduction of inflammation


  • Inhibition of enteric pathogens
  • Help in the management of symptoms from lactose maldigestion
  • Modulation of the immune system
  • Reduction of symptoms related to allergy and hepatic encephalopathy