Advertisement

What should I consider when buying probiotic products?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Some companies are making different versions of naturally containing probiotic foods. Many of these I find worth exploring, especially if dietary preferences or intolerances restrict certain foods (such as dairy). But also be a knowledgeable consumer and be wary of marketing or food trends. For example, of the numerous amounts of yogurts being marketed for their probiotics, be cautious of consuming higher than necessary (and higher than healthy) amounts of sugar in the name of getting in probiotics (which are found naturally in good quality yogurts).

Find out how many probiotics are in these specially created probiotic yogurts (many don't say on the label) as opposed to a regular yogurt as opposed to a frozen yogurt marketed for its probiotic content. Per serving, my resources show them to all be similar, so make your choice based on what your palate desires and skip the sugar-coated probiotic unless you were going for something sugar-coated anyway!

For individuals without the health issues described above and who have never take antibiotics, increasing probiotic consumption through food should be sufficient to maintain bacteria balance. However, for those seeking to address health issues impacted by bacteria imbalance, I recommend a probiotic supplement in addition to dietary modifications which may include probiotic sources as well. Supplements can guarantee that one gets a probiotic dosage sufficient to begin to correct the balance. The necessary quantity ranges with the type and severity of the health issue.

A word on supplements -- they are not all created equal. The type of probiotic, "strain specificity", is critical when it comes to the selection of a probiotic supplement to address a health issue. Certain strains demonstrate greater effectiveness than others on symptoms. Additionally, probiotic supplements, absent government oversight of probiotic production may not contain what they say they do, or the bacteria may not be alive at the time you take the supplement despite it being packaged alive (probiotics are very heat sensitive which is why most require refrigeration. So caution with product selection is recommended, ask your healthcare practitioner.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

How Can I Shop for Reputable Brands of Vitamins and Supplements?
How Can I Shop for Reputable Brands of Vitamins and Supplements?
Are supplements that claim they block fat and develop lean muscle safe?
Are supplements that claim they block fat and develop lean muscle safe?
Can Dietary Supplements Be Dangerous?
Can Dietary Supplements Be Dangerous?
Should I Tell My Doctor About the Supplements I'm Taking?
Should I Tell My Doctor About the Supplements I'm Taking?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.