Does Milk Contain Probiotics?
Does Milk Contain Probiotics?

Your questions answered by Registered Dietitian Nutritionists

Does Milk Contain Probiotics?

Your Questions Answered by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Probiotics are hot right now, as health-conscious consumers are learning more about the many health benefits of probiotics and are seeking out probiotic-containing foods like yogurt and kimchee .

does milk contain probioticsProbiotics are the trillions of helpful bacteria that live in our gut and help fight off the “bad” bacteria that make us sick, break down hard-to-digest foods and help treat uncomfortable problems like constipation and lactose intolerance.

Derived from the Greek and meaning “for life,” probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.”

The main source of probiotics in the American diet is milk products, like yogurt and kefir.

Yogurt is, of course, made from milk. While regular milk itself doesn't contain significant numbers of probiotics, it makes a great base in which “good” bacteria can multiply. Yogurt producers add safe, helpful bacteria to milk, and the bacteria go to work, creating the tangy flavor and creamy thickness that we know makes a delicious yogurt. People who want to get their probiotics from milk can choose acidophilus-fortified milk and other products in the dairy aisle.

Because there are millions of good bacteria in every serving of yogurt, we get the benefits of probiotics that are only now being studied in depth. Researchers have confirmed that probiotics are useful for preventing and treating diarrhea, improving some inflammatory bowel diseases and boosting the immune function.

While probiotics are available in pill and powder form, getting them from foods like yogurt means you’re getting all the health benefits of milk along with a dose of probiotics. Milk products contain calcium, potassium and vitamin D, three of the four nutrients of which the USDA says Americans don’t get enough (the fourth is fiber).

Want to know more about making milk into yogurt? Try it for yourself with our homemade yogurt recipe! By adding a spoonful of store-bought yogurt to milk, you’re able to control the fat content, sugar and flavor of your yogurt. It’s also a great way to teach kids about milk, yogurt and the power of probiotics. 





  • United States Department of Agriculture, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2012. Retrieved Nov. 2014.
  • Reid G, Jass J, Sebulsky MT, McCormick JK. Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice. Clin. Microbiol Rev. Oct 2003; 16(4): 658-672.
  • Guarner F, Khan AG, Garisch J, et al. Global Guidelines. Probiotics and Prebiotics. World Gastroenterology Organisation Oct 2011.