Is Yakult Good for You? Uncovering the Truth Behind the Probiotic Drink

If you’re looking to introduce a probiotic drink into your daily routine, Yakult might be on your radar. As a fermented milk drink containing billions of live bacteria, Yakult has been promoted as a beverage that supports digestive health. With the word “probiotic” often associated with positive health benefits, you may be wondering if Yakult is as beneficial as it claims to be.

As you explore the world of probiotics and their advantages, it’s worth taking a closer look at Yakult, considering its unique strain of bacteria, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Understanding the science behind this popular product can help you determine whether it is the right choice for your health and well-being.

What is Yakult?

Is Yakult Good for You

Yakult is a probiotic dairy drink made from fermented milk. It contains a specific strain of Lactobacillus casei Shirota, a type of bacteria that is believed to be beneficial to the digestive system. As you drink Yakult, you will receive a dose of these probiotics, which help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.

Developed by Japanese scientist Dr. Minoru Shirota in 1935, Yakult has become popular worldwide due to its potential health benefits. The drink is available in various sizes and flavors, making it a convenient add-on to your daily diet.

Some studies have indicated that Yakult may help improve digestive health and boost the immune system. The presence of Lactobacillus casei Shirota in the drink is thought to improve the gut microbiome and promote the growth of good bacteria, while inhibiting the growth of harmful ones.


  1. Water: The base liquid used in Yakult, providing hydration and serving as a medium for other ingredients.
  2. Nonfat Milk: Skimmed milk is used in Yakult, providing a source of nutrients while keeping the fat content low.
  3. Corn Dextrin: A type of soluble fiber derived from corn, it acts as a prebiotic, providing nourishment for the probiotic bacteria.
  4. Sugar: Adds sweetness to the drink and enhances its taste.
  5. Glucose: A simple sugar that provides a source of energy for the Lactobacillus casei Shirota bacteria during the fermentation process.
  6. Lactobacillus Casei Shirota: This is the specific probiotic strain used in Yakult. Lactobacillus casei Shirota is known for its potential benefits in supporting gut health by balancing the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

Nutrition Information

Yakult is a probiotic drink that contains Lactobacillus casei Shirota, a beneficial bacteria that can help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut. The primary focus of Yakult is its probiotic content to support digestion and immune health.

However, it’s important to consider other nutritional aspects, such as calories, sugar content, and ingredients.

Here is the breakdown per serving of Yakult Probiotic Drink, with the serving size being 1 bottle (80 mL):

  • Energy: 49.6 kcal
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Total lipid (fat): 0 g
  • Carbohydrate, by difference: 12 g (4% Daily Value)
  • Fiber, total dietary: 0 g
  • Sugars, total including NLEA: 10 g
  • Sugars, added: 8.96 g (18% Daily Value)
  • Calcium, Ca: 40 mg (4% Daily Value)
  • Iron, Fe: 0 mg
  • Potassium, K: 49.6 mg
  • Sodium, Na: 15.2 mg (1% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units: 0 IU
  • Fatty acids, total saturated: 0 g
  • Fatty acids, total trans: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Aside from the regular Yakult drink, there is also a light version of it called Yakult LIGHT, with the serving size being 1 bottle (80 ml):

  • Energy: 24.8 kcal
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Total lipid (fat): 0 g
  • Carbohydrate, by difference: 6 g (2% Daily Value)
  • Fiber, total dietary: 2 g (7% Daily Value)
  • Sugars, total including NLEA: 3 g
  • Sugars, added: 0.96 g (2% Daily Value)
  • Calcium, Ca: 40 mg (4% Daily Value)
  • Iron, Fe: 0 mg
  • Potassium, K: 49.6 mg
  • Sodium, Na: 15.2 mg (1% Daily Value)
  • Vitamin D (D2 + D3), International Units: 0 IU
  • Fatty acids, total saturated: 0 g
  • Fatty acids, total trans: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Yakult is a popular probiotic drink that offers several nutritional benefits. Each serving of Yakult typically provides around 24.8 to 31 kcal of energy, depending on the specific variant and serving size. It is a low-fat beverage, containing negligible to zero grams of fat per serving. This makes it a suitable option for those seeking a low-fat drink.

In terms of protein content, Yakult usually provides around 1 gram per serving. While this may not be a significant source of protein, Yakult primarily focuses on delivering probiotics rather than being a protein-rich beverage.

Carbohydrates make up the majority of the calorie content in Yakult. The carbohydrate content ranges from approximately 6 to 12 grams per serving, depending on the specific variant. This includes both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. It’s worth noting that the added sugar content is generally kept relatively low in Yakult.

Yakult may also contain some dietary fiber, typically ranging from 0 to 2 grams per serving. This fiber content can contribute to overall dietary fiber intake, although it may vary depending on the specific product variant.

In terms of micronutrients, Yakult is often a source of calcium, providing around 40 to 50 milligrams per serving. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. However, Yakult does not typically contain significant amounts of other micronutrients such as iron or vitamin D.

Yakult is generally low in sodium, with the sodium content ranging from 15.2 to 19 milligrams per serving. This makes it a suitable option for individuals who are monitoring their sodium intake.

It’s important to keep in mind that the specific nutritional values can vary between different 

Yakult products and serving sizes. To obtain accurate and detailed information about the nutritional content of a specific Yakult product, it’s best to refer to the nutrition label provided on the packaging.

Health Benefits of Yakult

Yakult is a probiotic dairy product made by fermenting a mixture of skimmed milk with a special strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Here are several health benefits associated with consuming Yakult or similar probiotic products:

  • Promotes Digestive Health: Probiotics in Yakult can help maintain a healthy balance of “good” bacteria in your gut, promoting better digestion and reducing symptoms of conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), constipation, and diarrhea.
  • Boosts Immunity: Some studies suggest that a healthy gut microbiome can help support the immune system. The Lactobacillus casei strain in Yakult may enhance your immune function and help your body fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Aids in Nutrient Absorption: Healthy gut bacteria can improve your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, maximizing the nutritional value of your diet.
  • Can Potentially Lower Risk of Certain Diseases: Some research indicates that probiotics might reduce the risk of certain illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel diseases, certain types of cancer, and cardiovascular disease, although more research is needed in this area.

It’s important to remember that while Yakult and similar products can support your gut health, they are just one piece of the puzzle. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep habits are also critical for overall health and well-being.

Additionally, Yakult does contain added sugar, so if you’re limiting your sugar intake or have diabetes, it’s something to be aware of.

Pros and Cons of Yakult


Yakult is a probiotic drink that contains millions of lactic acid bacteria, specifically Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, which are known to promote proper digestion and a healthy gut. Regular consumption of Yakult can have beneficial effects on your skin and body. Probiotics such as those found in Yakult may also contribute to improving mental health and reducing anxiety.

There’s a Yakult Light option containing less sugar and fewer calories, which can be a better choice for people with diabetes, or those who are watching their sugar intake. It is important to note that Yakult Light contains an artificial sweetener, so please be aware if you are sensitive to those.

Additionally, children could potentially benefit from consuming Yakult, as it may help in maintaining overall well-being and promoting a healthy immune system.


While Yakult has many potential benefits, there may be some risks or drawbacks to consider. For instance, its sugar content might be a concern, especially for adults with diabetes or those trying to control their sugar intake. Although Yakult Light is offered as a lower-sugar alternative, it contains an artificial sweetener that some people might avoid.

Yakult may not be suitable for those with lactose intolerance, as it is derived from milk. However, it is worth noting that the fermentation process reduces lactose content significantly. If you have severe lactose intolerance, you should consult your healthcare provider before consuming Yakult.

Some side effects may be experienced after consuming Yakult, such as bloating and gas. These are generally mild and short-lived, but if they persist or worsen, you should discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Lastly, though probiotics seem to benefit overall health, it is unclear if Yakult can have a direct positive impact on heart disease or eczema specifically. Further research is needed to confirm this potential association.

Related Studies

A pilot study conducted on Yakult’s fermented milk drink demonstrated a connection between consumption of the product and levels of certain immune markers in saliva, such as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), IgA1, and IgA2, in healthy volunteers. This study, available through Cambridge University Press, may indicate that consumption of Yakult could be linked to a potential positive effect on the immune system.

One study suggests that a 4-week course of a probiotic containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Bifidobacterium breve Yakult can significantly reduce symptoms in lactose-intolerant patients and decrease hydrogen production, indicating improved lactose digestion.

Notably, these benefits appear to persist for at least 3 months following the discontinuation of probiotic use. Therefore, this probiotic combination could offer a promising and sustainable approach to managing lactose intolerance.

Another study discusses how the commercial beverage Yakult, which contains the probiotic Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, impacts constipation. It involved 62 adults with constipation, grouped based on stool consistency (hard, normal, and soft). After a 4-week Yakult consumption, all constipation symptoms improved significantly, especially stool quality, shifting to normal consistency.

Stool short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) levels increased only in those with hard stools and decreased in those with soft stools. Additionally, there was a change in gut microbiota. The study raises concerns due to potential biases, like the awareness of Yakult’s probiotic effects, healthier demographics of the subjects, and sponsorship by Yakult. Despite this, the study implies that Yakult can improve stool quality and rebalance SCFAs and certain bacteria, improving constipation.

Lastly, probiotics, such as those found in Yakult, have a well-documented history in promoting good gut health. Yakult specifically contains the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus casei Shirota, which was introduced to the market in the form of a dairy product after its discovery. The history of probiotics in health and nutrition can provide a better understanding of the potential benefits of incorporating Yakult into a balanced diet.

What Do Health Experts Say About Yakult?

As a health-conscious individual, you might be wondering if Yakult is good for you. Health experts generally agree that probiotics, such as the Lactobacillus casei strain found in Yakult, provide numerous health benefits. These benefits include maintaining the balance of gut flora, which is essential for proper digestion and overall gut health.

When considering probiotic foods like Yakult, it’s important to understand the role probiotics play in your body. Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that help keep your digestive system in check. By consuming foods rich in probiotics, you’re actively supporting the healthy balance of good versus bad bacteria in your gut.

Many people turn to health professionals for guidance when it comes to foods with therapeutic claims, such as Yakult. Experts play a crucial role in advising and influencing consumer choices. So, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating Yakult or other probiotics into your diet.

Remember, everybody is different, and what’s beneficial for one person may not be suitable for another. It’s important to evaluate your individual nutritional needs and goals and discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional. That way, you can make informed decisions about whether Yakult or other probiotic-based products are the right choice for you.

Who Should Avoid It

While the consumption of Yakult may be beneficial for some individuals, it’s important to consider that not everyone can enjoy its positive effects. There are certain situations and conditions that may warrant avoiding Yakult.

If you or your child suffer from severe lactose intolerance, you might want to avoid drinking Yakult. Although the lactose content is low, it can still cause discomfort for those who are extremely sensitive to lactose. In such cases, it’s better to consult your doctor or choose a lactose-free alternative.

When it comes to infants and toddlers, it is essential to consult a pediatrician before introducing Yakult or any other probiotic drink. The digestive systems of young children are still developing, and it’s crucial to ensure that any new food or drink additions to their diet are safe and appropriate for their age.

For individuals with diabetes, it’s important to be cautious about the sugar content in Yakult. Each bottle contains a small amount of sugar which, in moderation, is unlikely to pose a significant risk. However, if you have strict sugar intake restrictions or are concerned about blood sugar levels, it’s a good idea to discuss the matter with your doctor or choose a low-sugar alternative.

Adults who have not yet developed a lactose intolerance or do not suffer from diabetes will likely find that Yakult is safe to consume. However, it’s essential to remember that moderation is key. Consuming excessive amounts of any probiotic drink could cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

In summary, while Yakult can offer health benefits for some people, it’s essential to identify your individual needs and restrictions and consult a healthcare professional if you’re unsure whether Yakult is suitable for you.

Natural Alternatives

If you’re seeking natural alternatives to Yakult, there are several options available that can provide similar health benefits. These fermented drinks are rich in probiotics and can aid digestion and overall gut health.

Kombucha is a popular fermented tea drink, which is made by fermenting sweetened black or green tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This fizzy drink contains various live bacteria that promote good gut health. You can find Kombucha in various flavors at your local health food store, or even make it at home by following specific recipes and using natural flavors such as ginger or fruit.

Kefir is another great alternative to Yakult. It is a fermented milk drink made by adding kefir grains, which are a combination of yeast and bacteria, to cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Kefir is packed with probiotics and provides an excellent source of calcium, protein, and essential vitamins. It is available in different flavors and can be consumed on its own or added to smoothies, cereals, and other recipes.

When choosing products in search of natural alternatives, remember to also pay attention to the ingredients. Many commercial options may contain artificial or natural flavors that could potentially alter the nutritional profile of these drinks. Therefore, it’s important to select products with minimal additives to ensure you’re consuming a truly natural option.

By incorporating beverages like kombucha or kefir into your diet, you are not only promoting a balanced gut flora but also enjoying flavorful and natural alternatives to Yakult. As you explore these options, don’t hesitate to experiment with various tastes and flavors to find the perfect match for your palate and health needs.


Incorporating Yakult into your daily diet can provide several health benefits due to its probiotic content. Probiotics aid in digestion, leading to improved gut health and potentially preventing gastrointestinal issues. 

However, it’s crucial to remember that Yakult is just one source of probiotics, and there are many other options available, such as yogurt and fermented foods. It’s always a good idea to maintain a well-balanced diet, including a variety of nutrient-dense foods, for overall well-being.

While Yakult can be beneficial for your health, be mindful of the sugar content in certain Yakult products. Sugar intake should be moderated, especially for those with conditions like diabetes, to avoid complications.

In summary, incorporating Yakult into your diet can offer digestive and mental health benefits, but it is essential to consider other factors in your overall diet and monitor your sugar intake.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Yakult cause side effects?

Though Yakult is generally safe for consumption, some individuals may experience side effects such as bloating, gas, and upset stomach, especially if they have lactose intolerance or sensitivity to certain ingredients. If you notice any discomfort after consuming Yakult, it’s best to consult with your healthcare professional.

What are the pros and cons of consuming Yakult?

Yakult has several health benefits, mainly due to the probiotics it contains. Probiotics are known to support a healthy gut, improve digestion and can strengthen the immune system.

The cons of consuming Yakult might be the presence of added sugar and potential side effects for those with lactose intolerance or certain sensitivities. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons according to your individual health needs and preferences.

What is the optimal time to drink Yakult?

There is no specific optimal time to drink Yakult. However, some people might prefer consuming it on an empty stomach to promote better absorption of the probiotics. You could also consider drinking it with or after meals if you have a sensitive stomach.

What are the benefits of Yakult for adults?

Yakult can provide several health benefits for adults, including promoting a healthy gut, improving digestion, and supporting the immune system. Additionally, the Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota present in Yakult has been shown to help maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestines.

Does Yakult help in digestion?

Yes, Yakult can help in digestion by introducing beneficial probiotics into your gut. These probiotics help break down food and promote overall gut health, potentially easing digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements.

Are there different types of Yakult and which is better?

Yakult offers several variations of its probiotic drink, such as the original Yakult, Yakult Light, and Yakult Ace. The difference between these products lies in the calorie content and the type of sweeteners used. The original Yakult contains added sugar, whereas Yakult Light uses a sugar alternative to lower the calorie content. Depending on your dietary preferences and restrictions, you may choose the type that best suits your needs.


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  • Marixie Manarang, MT, undergrad MD

    Marixie Manarang is licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). For one year, she completed her internship training in a government hospital, primarily catering to retired veterans and their dependents. Through her preceptorships in medical school, she gained exposure to patients from various medical departments. Marixie’s passion for writing stems from her excellent medical background, being a mother, and a strong desire to assist the elderly and others in need. Education: Our Lady of Fatima University Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2012-2015), Angeles University Foundation Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2009-2011), Angeles University Foundation Bachelors, Medical Technology (2004-2009)






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