Probiotics are good bacteria used to promote healthy digestion. Everyone has both good and bad bacteria but sometimes the balance in our bodies is disturbed causing digestive problems. Probiotics are advertised to help restore the balance of both bacteria, and with the recent surge on the market the question is are they as good as they are popular?
Every year consumers spend millions of dollars on supplements and the purchase of probiotics are leading the numbers. There are tons of commercials airing on a daily basis promoting probiotics in the form of a pill or yogurt. Media plays an important role in trends and with the constant circulation of commercials promoting the benefits it is no wonder the demand for the product is high. Live bacteria is another name for probiotics and researchers note it is the words on the packaging that consumers should pay attention to. If a consumer is purchasing yogurt the words active cultures should be on the label for it to be effective. For supplements containing probiotics consumers should look for multiple strains, and avoid products that highlight specific improvements as the Federal Food and Drug Administration have not supported claims to specific benefits.
Oxford University conducted a study and noted 57 percent of people who consumed yogurt containing active cultures reported relief with their symptoms of IBS. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract which symptoms include abdominal pain for at least 3 times a month for at least 3 months at a time. It should be noted in this study the placebo group also reported relief leading researchers to conclude yogurt and not the probiotic were the cause of the relief. However the University of California-Los Angeles conducted a different study in which they provided subjects with yogurt enriched with probiotics for four weeks, twice a day, responded better to emotional testing than subjects in the placebo group who had plain yogurt. Probiotics are working but not necessarily for what they are intended for. Stress and emotion have long been tied to digestive health, so if someone is stressed they would usually have symptoms of upset stomach or indigestion this study proved yogurt can help in emotional balance.
Although the exact benefits of probiotics are not conclusive doctors believe they are safe enough to include in your daily diet without having ill effect. Researchers advise the best probiotics are the ones found in food such as Greek yogurt and sauerkraut but a relatively healthy person taking probiotic supplements according to doctors will be just fine. week period than women who did not use a probiotics.
Probiotics are popular for a reason they are helping women lose weight and the belief is that it is responsible for regulating the digestive system. Half of all cures start with the belief it will work and although the specific benefits are not substantiated by the FDA probiotics aid in the support of a healthy digestive system and weight loss. Probiotics are popular because they work although they do not offer an overnight cure, the benefits seem to outweigh the doubt.
By Debra Pittman
U.S. Department of Health And Human Services