According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), probiotics are live microorganisms similar to microorganisms found in the human digestive system. Probiotics, which are believed to prevent disease by altering the microorganisms in the intestinal tract, are also called “friendly bacteria” and “good bacteria”.
In 2005, NCCAM and the American Society for Microbiology co-funded a conference about probiotics. Promising research discussed included:
- treating diarrhea, especially from rotavirus
- prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections
- prevention and treatment of the vaginal tract
- treatment for irritable bowel syndrome
- reduction of bladder cancer recurrence
- shortening the length of Clostridium difficile intestinal infections
- prevention and treatment of pouchitis, which can occur after surgery to remove the colon
- prevention and management of eczema in children
Researches believe there is a strong placebo effect in kefir, and further research is needed clinical benefits.