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How do probiotics help reduce the risk linked to traveler’s diarrhea?

How do probiotics help reduce the risk linked to traveler’s diarrhea?

As business and leisure travels have resumed, although within the circumstances of the ‘new reality’, are you well prepared to deal with the concerns of the ‘old reality’?  If you are traveling abroad and have three or more unformed stools in a 24-hour period accompanied with abdominal discomfort, with an urgent impulse to visit the bathroom rather than visiting some ancient monuments, chances are you have got traveler’s diarrhea. While this condition is usually self-resolving and doesn’t generally last more then a few days, it is likely to make your trip a little less enjoyable. Luckily, there are ways to prepare your microbiome for these changes beforehand and to fast forward things back to normal.

How to avoid traveler’s diarrhea?

Travelers’ diarrhea is the most common gut disturbance that affects travelers, and it occurs within 10 days of travel to an area with poor public hygiene. It is easily spread from person-to-person or by consuming local food and water. Hygienic measures, like washing hands, avoiding certain risky foods, and drinking clear water, are basic behavior to minimize chances of being unwell. Probiotics can also help to avoid it and get you back on track if you start feeling that your microbiome is changing with your new environment.

What are probiotics modes of action?

Some research shows probiotic bacteria and yeast help travelers keep bowel habits steady. The strongest evidence showed that the strains Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii, can really maintain the balance within the gut microflora. How would they do that? Well probiotics, by being friendly and alive bacteria or yeast, if taken in sufficient amount, provide beneficial actions by competing with opportunistic bacteria for food and space within the gut, taking command of the situation. Probiotics also bind to intestinal cells and regulate the immune system present in the digestive system. The main advantage of using probiotics in these circumstances is mediated through changes in intestinal microflora in response to exposures incurred during travel. Probiotics are biologically active, but they do not disrupt the reestablishment of the protective normal microbial flora.

Specially, S. boulardii is a unique probiotic yeast proven safe and naturally able to supports optimal digestive health and a healthy digestive balance. It has been widely studies and is commonly known to help with occasional diarrhea and promote gastrointestinal comfort. Specific clinical studies have been performed on the use of S. boulardii by tourists. The conclusions revealed the effectiveness of this probiotic yeast on the reduction of travelers’ diarrhea, when taken five days prior to trip and every day of the journey abroad (1). Read further on S. boulardii in these previous articles What health benefits hide in yeast? and Probiotic Yeast: How Does It Work?

Specific Canadian Health Claims Confirming S. boulardii’s Potential

Research supports the benefits of combining probiotic bacteria and yeast for their complementary modes of action.

S. boulardii:

  • Provides intestinal comfort in travelers*
  • Helps reduce the risk of traveler’s diarrhea*
  • Helps reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea*
  • Helps prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in adults*

*Claims are based on specific to dose, direction of use, or the Canadian monograph

So, next time you will be able to cross borders, do yourself a favor and stock-up on S. boulardii before leaving!



(1) McFarland, 2007. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. Travel Medicine and  Infectious Disease, 5, 97–105.

Published Aug 10, 2022 | Updated Mar 5, 2024

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