Friendly bacteria

Some bacteria are really good for you

We’re so used to using products—liquid hand soap, dishwashing liquid, tissues, etc.—that tout the fact that they are “anti-bacterial” that it is easy to forget that bacteria can actually be good for you in certain cases. According to the Harvard Medical School’s online Family Health Guide (, a category of beneficial bacteria called probiotics can help treat conditions such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, children’s allergies and vaginal infections.

Lactobacillus GG—a strain of friendly, probiotic bacteria that normally inhabits the intestines—can be bought as a dietary supplement to support gastrointestinal function. Similarly, a number of probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and miso. For more on whether probiotics are right for you, consult your physician.