- What are the best probiotics?
- How probiotics work in the body and their health benefits
- Which probiotic strains should I look for in supplements?
- Which foods contain probiotics? (How can I include probiotics naturally into my diet?)
- What are the side effects of probiotics?
- More information on probiotics
More information on probiotics
Should I be taking a probiotic supplement?
Most healthcare professionals do not recommend taking a probiotic supplement unless suggested by your doctor15.
That being said, the scientific community concludes that there is an increasing amount of evidence that alludes to the health benefits4 of probiotics, however conclusive evidence is still pending.
It is important to remember that these dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA or other health bodies. In fact, some research has identified issues surrounding the stability of this dietary supplements15 and findings have indicated that there is a discrepancy between the actual and stated probiotics levels found in many of the supplements currently available. Other considerations such as how the supplements should be stored (i.e. refrigeration etc.) may also influence these products.
Are all probiotics identical?
All probiotics are different. Although the most commonly found strains in foods and supplements include Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces boulardii, there are a large number of other probiotic strains that exist. Certain strains have been linked to the improvement of specific conditions and disease, in addition, combining probiotic strains may have beneficial benefits.
How will I know if my probiotic supplements are working?
A number of doctors or health experts will recommend waiting two months before making any judgements regarding the efficacy and dosage of these supplements – this rule applies regardless of whether you are taking probiotics through food or supplements. It is thought that this amount of time should allow for the bacteria to have adequate time to colonise the gut15.
4. Harvard Medical School. 2014. The benefits of probiotics bacteria. Available: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-benefits-of-probiotics [Accessed 20.03.2018]
15. Michigan University. 2014. The Pros and Cons of Probiotics. Available: https://www.med.umich.edu/docs/tip-2014/probiotics-0814.pdf [Accessed 20.03.2018]