Read this before you buy probiotic supplements

Probiotics have a ton of potential for improving health, but the marketing for them is getting out ahead of the science and creating some big misconceptions about the true benefits of good bacteria supplements. At Food Matters, Julianne Wyrick talks to a microbiome expert about what supplements can and can't do.

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  1. Wait, are you trying to tell me that an untested health food fad might not be grounded in science? How am I supposed to cleanse my toxins or realign my chi now?

  2. With that profile pic I doubt it.

  3. actually many formulations are designed specifically to increase how many viable bacteria make it to your gut intact, but even formulations that aren't buffered or micro-encapsulated or pre-stressed have over a 50% transit survival rate. this is why we can get things like food poisoning or e-coli. The stomach isn't an efficient sterilizer, that is a pretty old misconception.

    Lactobacillus acidophilus the most common probiotic and the one in yogurt has an average survival of 75.4% +/- 18.3%

    if i read the linked article correctly, specific bacteria and formulations are indeed helpful and proven for specific conditions, and general formulations are also generally beneficial, but that many of the miracle curative health claims by the industry are overblown and she uses the term "ahead" of the research, meaning unsubstantiated.

    That sounds about right to me. Beneficial yes, a cure all or miracle cure, no. Reasonable stuff.
    Her analysis was pretty level headed and right in the middle of the road, she didn't claim they didn't work or didn't have benefits, she didn't claim they had miracle cure properties, she was practical and spot on in claiming that they do only what they have been proven to do, not less, not more.

  4. Keeping your gut bacteria in balance is a good thing, but I think people are going totally over the top with the whole idea. If you want to get probiotics from yogurt, eat some yogurt. We don't need a special yogurt with special labels and special marketing (not to mention ridiculous prices) to do it. Don't like yogurt? Hit your local health food store, grab some chewable acidophilus (most of it tastes like strawberry) and take it once a day. Done.

  5. Seeing as:
    - We all have more gut bacteria then all the rest of the cells in our body, by no small margin.
    - That the modern diet is more sterile and more refined.
    - The number of ailments that specifically arise from digestive issues.
    - How the gut bacterial balance affects body ph.

    That it is a gross misunderstanding to think that colonic cleansers are the only ones with flora imbalances or that would benefit from probiotic supplements. The research shows it to be beneficial, no one is arguing that. It just isn't the miracle cure all that the industry is hyping. Generally beneficial...yes, can help certain ailments...yes, miracle cure all...no.

    The science is pretty darn solid about what it does and doesn't do, anyone can look up the science and see what they can and cannot expect. The point is to avoid extremism on either side of the coin, in claims for, or claims against, and stick with the science. smile

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