Probiotics, a.k.a friendly bacteria have taken the spotlight in 2016 as the go to supplement for our overall health and wellbeing. This celeb attention, just like everything else has meant we are now overwhelmed with new probitics brands hitting the shelves every day – confused much!?
The media as we know quite often does a great job of making things even more confusing for us with outdated misconceptions of what probiotics are and what they do. OptiBac Probitics is rooted in research and science and their latest clinical research focus is to bust the most common probiotic myths and ensure you are taking the right strain of probiotics….
THE FRIDGE MYTH
The best probiotics are kept in the fridge”
Of the 10 most researched probiotic supplements worldwide, only 1 requires refrigeration
There are a few reasons why refrigeration is less of a requirement these days. These include improvements in freeze drying techniques8 and discovery of strains which are naturally more robust within themselves, due to intensive investment in research and development into probiotics. Whilst some good quality probiotics may be kept in the fridge, it is clear that this storage method does not render a probiotic superior, nor denote the best.
THE BILLIONS MYTH
The more Billions the Better”
The quality of the strain is of much more importance than the quantity.
More is better right? Wrong… When it comes to probiotics however, this can cause us to pay inadequate attention to the quality of the probiotic strains, and the research behind them. In fact the quality of the strain or combination of strains in a probiotic supplement should be the first thing to consider1, over and above the number of billions. There is little point taking a really high strength probiotic if it does not survive well at room temperature until expiry and survive the challenge of stomach acid and bile. Once it has made it into the gut it must be able to adhere to the gut wall in order to colonise and flourish.
THE CURE ALL MYTH
All probiotics do the same”
Different probiotics have different benefits.
Clinical trials show L. rhamnosus Rosell-11 supports gut health, yet research shows L. rhamnosus GR-1® supports vaginal health.
In a healthy state there is a huge diversity of microorganisms in our body. There are similarities between some microorganisms but they have subtle, and often significant, differences in how they help with various aspects of our health.
THE SURVIVAL MYTH
Probiotics need enteric coating to reach the gut
None of the 10 most researched probiotics worldwide use, or need, extras like enteric coating to survive stomach acidity.
In clinical trial publications, in the materials and methods section where the design of the trial is described, there is rarely, if ever, any mention of fancy techniques like enteric coating1.
THE STRAIN MYTH
L.acidophilus Is a strain of probiotic
L. acidophilus is a species encompassing many different strains
‘Bacteria’ or ‘Yeast’ is a kingdom of organisms. The bacteria can then be separated out into different groups based on similar characteristics, with increasing detail down through the phylum, class, order and family, until the genus level is reached. The next step down from the species is the strain level, and there are tens, if not hundreds, of strains within the species.
THE ANTIBIOTICS MYTH
“Don’t take probiotics whilst on antibiotics.”
Taking specifically researched probiotics alongside antibiotics can help reduce the risk of antibiotic associated side effects.
Probiotics are bacteria (apart from S. boulardii), hence are susceptible to being killed by antibiotics and often considered a waste of money to take whilst on antibiotics,However, some strains e.g. L. rhamnosus Rosell-11 and L. acidophilus Rosell-52 are able to survive to reach the gut alive, even when taken at the same time as antibiotics1
THE FOOD MYTH
You can get all the probiotics you need from your diet.”
Fermented foods are great for general health, but they can’t be easily compared to probiotic supplements.
The diet is the first place to start for many aspects of our health. To look after the gut microbiota, it’s helpful to increase probiotic and prebiotic consumption to boost overall friendly bacteria counts, and to decrease excess fast food, sugar and alcohol consumption which work negatively against the microbial balance.Common food sources of prebiotics (food to feed the probiotic bacteria) include onions, garlic and bananas. Common fermented foods containing microorganisms include natural bio-yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and kimchi. Whether these foods are purchased in a shop or fermented at home, the live cultures they contain will vary from batch to batch depending on the growing conditions. In this way the live cultures content in fermented foods is much less certain compared to a probiotic food supplement, which has been created to contain the strains stated on the packaging.
Read more on busting the probiotics myths from OptiBac here .