Will taking probiotics help prevent me from getting the stomach flu (norovirus and others)?
I don't know if having a tummy full of good bacteria would actually help fight off norovirus, though. There is some research showing that certain strains of bacteria actually HELP norovirus infect human cells. Here is a paper explaining that. I do feel confident that eating regular yogurt every day WILL NOT stop you from getting a stomach bug. I eat a yogurt every day and still caught an intestinal virus from my baby in February 2012. (He threw up all over me and put his vomit covered fingers in my mouth so I had very little chance.) Also, when my 1st son was 22 months old, he used to eat two Yo Baby Yogurts each day. These are great yogurts with several strains of healthy bacteria. Even though he was eating so much yogurt and still breastfeeding, he still got a terrible stomach virus that sent him to the ER. Here is a research paper where they fed probiotic-fermented milk to elderly patients in a nursing home. The milk contained Lactobacillus Casei strain. Continuous intake of this fermented milk did not protect these patients from norovirus.
There is a lot of research going on in the field of probiotics. Hopefully, we will learn more soon about how helpful they really are. In the meantime, I'm sure the probiotic companies are making lots of money.
I don't usually take a probiotic, but I have taken this Renew Life Ultimate Flora in the past. I don't know whether it helped or not. However, I have no complaints about it. It does not cause me to have a stomachache or gas pains or anything.
"Stomach flu" is just a nickname for viral gastroenteritis. It is not related to influenza, the real flu.
I like to kill germs in sinks and on toilets. I like to wash germs off hands. But I certainly don't want to mess with healthy intestinal flora. A healthy intestinal tract contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms that are essential to our health. Taking an antibiotic, like clindamycin, for an extended time can wipe out too much of your good bacteria and leave you vulnerable to terrible infections like Clostridium difficile (c. diff).
Please send me your stories if you think probiotics helped you avoid a stomach virus or didn't help at all. I will post other people's comments about probiotics. So, if you love them or hate them, please let me know. phd.annie at gmail.com.
Please remember that I am not a medical doctor and nothing I say is intended to be medical advice.
--Annie Pryor, Ph.D.
Tummy Tune Up did not work for my daughter.
My 2 younger children started vomiting from a stomach bug on the same day. I started giving my older daughter Tummy Tune Up that day in hopes of helping her escape the illness. I gave her Tummy Tune Up 5 times each day for 2 days. Then, later on that second day, she got sick. She was actually the sickest and couldn't stop vomiting. Luckily, her doctor called in a promethazine suppository to stop the vomiting.
Grape Seed extract and Probiotics did not work for us.
My husband and I were taking 4 grape seed extract pills 200 mg, Ultimate flora 15 billion probiotics, alternated with tummy tuneup, and vitamin d pills every day. When my son came down with a stomach bug, we also took one shot of apple cider vinegar each day. Unfortunately, both my husband and I caught the stomach bug about 48 hours after my son. When we started to get nauseous, we each took a zofran 4mg and had no relief. My husband vomited and we each took another zofran. I felt relief after that second zofran but my husband still kept vomiting. I did end up giving him a third zofran and a little later the nausea was relieved for him. My stomach felt very bubbly the night after so I took 2 teaspoons of activated charcoal powder which I do believe helped me never get diarrhea after. Once my husband could keep liquids down I did give him some activated charcoal powder and he didn't get diarrhea again.
We take different kinds of probiotics, for daily use we take a high potency but less expensive kind for the kids I get one I can easily mix in juice, and I take a multi strain one. But when stomach problems arise I PUMP the kids full of a kinda called Tummy Tuneup...they claim to stop the stomach flu right in it's tracks.. It is on the more expensive side but if it is a peace of mind for me then I am completely ok with it! I get it from www.morethanalive.com. I also give my kids a multi vitamin from there called Superkids it has aloe in it which is supposed to have a stomuch virus fighting property. Supposedly aloe vera helps keep the intestines (slippery) so the virus can not "hang on" and from everything I have read a stomach virus is really in the intestines. My mother in law also told me a old rememdy that she swears by she said someone told her of it when she had a bad bad bad stomach virus and it worked immediately...club soda and 4 splashes of bitters (the kind bartenders use). She said it is a miracle and always drinks it at any sign of nausea! Hope some of my secrets can help someone!
I took my 1.5 year old son Jack to the doctor when he was sick recently with terrible diarrhea. We saw someone other than our regular doctor and she had me go to a special health food store and get a probiotic called Ultimate Flora. It has 10 different probiotics in it instead of 1 that Culturelle has. I had been giving him Culturelle because it's what my regular doctor told me to do on several different occasions when he had diarrhea and I never thought it helped at all. The Ultimate Flora worked in a day!! He was finally back to normal!