Do probiotics alleviate chronic gas? For several months I’ve had uncomfortable-and at times unbearable-gas. My doctor assured me that my GI health is fine and prescribed medication. But I heard that probiotics can be an effective remedy, and I’d rather go the drug-free route. What do you think?

Probiotics-especially Bacillus coagulans-can bring relief if the underlying cause of your gas is mild irritable bowel syndrome or sensitivities to certain carbohydrates, such as those in milk (lactose) and beans (oligosaccharides). Probiotics help by easing the digestion of these carbs, making GI distress less likely. In fact, due to promising research on the powers of Bacillus, it is now being added to fortified foods and beverages to quell digestive upset. You can relieve chronic gas by taking a Bacillus-containing daily supplement, like Digestive Advantage Gas Defense Formula. The bacteria will begin to colonize the intestines within a day or two, although for some, total relief could take up to two weeks. (Please note that probiotics aren’t a fix for symptoms stemming from hormonal changes or more serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease.)

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