When someone mentions probiotics, they’re referring to actual bacteria that live in your gut. Your gut is populated with all kinds of microorganisms — some good and some bad. In order to keep a healthy balance, good bacteria needs to keep the harmful variety in check. But, due to modern diets and lifestyles, the good guys can drop in numbers, allowing for what you might want to think of it as a hostile takeover. One particular probiotic strain, Streptococcus thermophilus, is an important strain that may support colon health, support the immune system, protect against small intestine irritation, and also fight against antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Streptococcus thermophilus: A Strain You Want
As a popular probiotic choice, S. thermophilus is also used to create lactic acid, so you can find it in fermented products like yogurt. And because it breaks down lactose into the acid, it’s also often prescribed to lactose-intolerant individuals (to make it easier to digest dairy.) But it doesn’t stop there! Not only can it boost a person’s immune system, but it can also help with colon health, possibly even lowering the risk for colon cancer. 
There is some research that S. thermophilus may be helpful during chemotherapy by protecting the intestinal tissues from irritation caused by chemotherapy drugs.  Another study shows S. thermophilus correlates with better growth in children.  Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a growing issue today, and people are seeking natural methods for relief. Since antibiotics kill good bacteria and sometimes allow harmful bacteria to grow, diarrhea is often a result. Certain strains of S. thermophilus have been shown to reduce AAD.  This isn’t surprising, considering that many other probiotic strains also provide similar benefits.
Supplementing with Streptococcus thermophilus
Probiotics are important for a lot of reasons, and Streptococcus thermophilus is one that needs to be in your probiotic supplement formula. Keep in mind that the best include a combination of different strains as well as prebiotics. The addition of prebiotics to a probiotic supplement allow the probiotic bacteria to proliferate in your intestines by providing nourishment. We recently released a brand new, advanced probiotic supplement called Global Healing's Ultimate Probiotic that fits the bill and is getting a lot of good feedback.
- Wollowski, I. et al. Protective role of probiotics and prebiotics in colon cancer. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 73 (2).
- Whitford EJ, Cummins AG, Butler RN, et al. Effects of Streptococcus thermophilus TH-4 on intestinal mucositis induced by the chemotherapeutic agent, 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU). Cancer Biol Ther. 2009 Mar 15;8(6):505-11.
- Nopchinda S, Varavithya W, Phuapradit P, et al. Effect of bifidobacterium Bb12 with or without Streptococcus thermophilus supplemented formula on nutritional status. J Med Assoc Thai. 2002 Nov;85 Suppl 4:S1225-31.
- Ripudaman S. Beniwal, Vincet C. Arena, Leno Thomas, et al. A Randomized Trial of Yogurt for Prevention of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. October 2003, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 2077-2082.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.