In this blog post we are going to discuss five of the most common questions around probiotic supplements.
Do probiotics need to be refrigerated?
Can probiotics be genetically modified?
Do probiotics use human strains?
Are probiotics a waste of money?
How do you know what is truly probiotic?
Do probiotics need to be refrigerated? This is a question that often comes up. The idea that probiotics must be kept in the fridge is outdated. If a probiotic can survive by living in a gut it can survive living in a bottle on the shelf. The benefit of refrigeration is to slow down the growth and maintain a high CFU count. Cool temperatures slow down the metabolism of the bacteria, so they don’t die. Similar to how a fermented food doesn’t keep fermenting at the same rate when it is refrigerated. It’s more of a control measure to maintain the efficacy and structure of the product with minimal change.
Can probiotics be genetically modified? Yes, like anything else probiotic strains can be genetically modified. Even though bacteria naturally alter their genetics constantly we suggest you look for strains that are not genetically modified on purpose.
Now this sounds like an odd thought but, have you ever asked, does this probiotic use human strains? This question does come up, after all many lactic acid formulas originate from the microbiome of cows. These bacteria are isolated to ferment foods since cows innately know how to ferment things in their gut. Now a lot of emphasis is being put on whether a strain needs to come from a human gut to be most effective. The jury is still out, and this isn’t a thing just yet but perhaps it does seem more natural to be taking probiotics that normally exist in humans and come from humans. What do you think?
Are probiotics a waste of money? Some people claim that probiotics don’t actually do anything or that they’ve never noticed a difference after taking one. If you have an overgrowth of bad bugs or have constant triggers such as chronic inflammation, then taking probiotics is probably not going to do anything for you. Probiotics won’t fix or override a bad diet. They can be an asset to the rebuilding phase, but you have to stop the insult to your microbiome and address any overgrowth first. Ultimately this is a personal decision. Probiotics don’t work for everyone but a focus on a healthy microbiome can benefit everyone no matter how they get there.
Everything seems to say probiotic from foods & drinks to supplements, how do you know what is truly probiotic? Another confusing point may be that probiotic now appears as a buzz word on all kinds of different foods and beverages not just yogurt anymore. While probably somewhat beneficial you won’t find the same amount of live bacteria in a food or beverage that you would in a supplement. And the bacteria present is more often a wild culture or have a probiotic supplement added back in. These are good foods to include in your diet, but they won’t compare to the strength or precision of what is found in a capsule.
Remember always consult with your doctor before taking or trying a probiotic supplement to make sure they are right for you.