Yogurt

woman with abdominal pain

What other names is Yogurt known by?

Acidophilus Milk, Bulgarian Yogurt, Cultured Milk, Lait Acidophilus, Lait de Culture, Live Culture Yogurt, Probiotic, Probiotique, Yaourt, Yaourt Bulgare, Yaourt de Culture Vivante, Yoghurt, Yogourt, Yogourt Bulgare, Yogourt de Culture Vivante, Yogur.

What is Yogurt?

Yogurt is a dairy product made by fermenting milk using one or more of a variety of particular bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Enterococcus faecium, Streptococcus thermophilus, and others.

Yogurt is used for restoring normal bacteria in the intestine after antibiotic therapy and for treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea and acute diarrhea in children. Yogurt is also used for treating and preventing vaginal yeast and bacteria infections, and preventing urinary tract infections. Some people use yogurt for lactose intolerance and for treating high cholesterol and Helicobacter pylori infections that cause stomach ulcers. Yogurt is also used for preventing colorectal cancer and sunburns.

Some women use yogurt inside the vagina for treating vaginal yeast infections and vaginal bacterial infections in pregnancy.

Yogurt is also eaten as a food and used as an alternative to milk in lactose-intolerant individuals.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Diarrhea in children. Yogurt formula given as a replacement for milk formula in infants and young children seems to relieve persistent diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea associated with antibiotics.
  • Preventing vaginal yeast infections.
  • Lactose intolerance, as an alternative to milk. Eating yogurt with live bacterial cultures seems to improve lactose tolerance in children and adults who cannot absorb lactose.
  • Treating a bacterial infection that can cause stomach ulcers (Helicobacter pylori), when used in combination with other medicines. The standard "triple-drug therapy" for stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection involves treatment with lansoprazole (Prevacid), amoxicillin (Amoxil, others), and clarithromycin (Biaxin). Adding yogurt that contains lactobacillus or bifidobacterium to standard triple drug treatment seems to help patients stick to their treatment plan. This makes the treatment more effective in killing the H. pylori bacteria. However, consuming yogurt alone without standard triple-drug therapy does not appear to kill H. pylori.
  • High cholesterol levels. Taking yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and a combination of Enterococcus faecium and Streptococcus thermophilus seems to decrease cholesterol in patients with borderline to moderate high cholesterol levels. This type of yogurt seems to lower total and "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but does not raise "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Possibly Ineffective for...

  • Asthma.
  • Diarrhea in malnourished infants and children.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Bacterial vaginosis. Developing research suggests that eating yogurt enriched with Lactobacillus acidophilus daily might slightly lower the chance of developing bacterial vaginal infections that keep coming back. There is also some early evidence that pregnant women with bacterial vaginal infections might benefit from applying Lactobacillus-containing yogurt inside the vagina.
  • Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). So far, research doesn't offer much support for using yogurt for UTIs. Researchers have found that consuming a yogurt drink containing Lactobacillus does not seem to prevent recurrent UTIs when used up to 6 months in women with a history of UTIs.
  • Preventing colorectal cancer.
  • Treating peptic ulcers.
  • Preventing sunburns.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of yogurt for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

How does Yogurt work?

Yogurt contains bacteria which may help restore the normal bacteria in the digestive tract and vagina. This might help treat diarrhea and vaginal infections.

Are there safety concerns?

Yogurt is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth. Yogurt is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in the vagina. There aren't many reported side effects, but there have been cases of people getting sick from yogurt contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Be careful to choose yogurt that has been prepared and stored properly.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Yogurt seems to be safe in food amounts and might be safe when applied intravaginally during pregnancy. Pregnant women involved in a small study reported no side effects.

Yogurt seems to be safe in breast-feeding women when used in normal food amounts, but researchers haven't adequately studied the safety of intravaginal use of yogurt during breast-feeding. It's best to avoid intravaginal use if you are nursing.

Weakened immune system: There is some concern live bacteria in yogurt might reproduce unchecked, causing illness in people with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS or organ transplant recipients. Lactobacillus in yogurt has caused disease, but rarely, in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, avoid eating large amounts of yogurt that contain live bacteria for prolonged periods of time without advice from your healthcare professional.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Yogurt contains calcium. The calcium in yogurt can attach to tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking calcium with tetracyclines might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction, take yogurt two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.

Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).



Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) is an antibiotic. Yogurt might decrease how much ciprofloxacin (Cipro) the body absorbs. Taking yogurt along with ciprofloxacin (Cipro) might decrease the effectiveness of ciprofloxacin (Cipro). To avoid this interaction, take yogurt at least one hour after ciprofloxacin (Cipro).



Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Yogurt contains live bacteria and yeast. The immune system usually controls bacteria and yeast in the body to prevent infections. Medications that decrease the immune system can increase your chances of getting sick from bacteria and yeast. Taking yogurt along with medications that decrease the immune system might increase the chances of getting sick.

Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

Dosing considerations for Yogurt.

Yogurt should be labeled with a "Live and Active Cultures" seal from the National Yogurt Association, indicating the product reliably contains at least 100 million active cultures per gram of yogurt (e.g., Dannon, Yoplait).

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • For preventing diarrhea due to treatment with antibiotics: 125 mL (approximately 4 ounces) of yogurt containing Lactobacillus GG taken twice daily throughout the antibiotic treatment course. Some researchers recommend taking 240 mL (8 ounces) of other yogurt preparations twice daily. Take yogurt at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after antibiotics.
  • For diarrhea: 125 grams of yogurt containing Lactobacillus casei twice daily.
  • For lowering cholesterol: Several different doses have been tried depending on the preparation. A typical dose of 200 mL of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus per day has been used. A combination product of 125 mL Lactobacillus acidophilus yogurt with 2.5% fructo-oligosaccharides three times daily has also been used. A dose of 450 mL daily of yogurt containing the Causido culture (which contains Enterococcus faecium and two strains of Streptococcus bacteria) has also been used.
  • For preventing vaginal yeast or bacterial infections: A typical dose is 150 mL Lactobacillus acidophilus yogurt per day.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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