Probiotics Are Beneficial, But Some Are Better Than Others
By Samantha Huber MS, RDN, LDN, CPT
Did you know that foods labeled as "containing live and active cultures" (ex: yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut) are not scientifically considered probiotics that should be used to treat specific gastrointestinal illnesses/disorders.
Let me explain:
Probiotics found in the products labeled as "containing live and active cultures" usually contain multiple strains of microbes that lack stability and strain composition. In other words, they lack specific therapeutic qualities when compared to strain-specific probiotics (found in the form of capsules or oils). Strain-specific probiotics are well-characterized and well-researched to help treat your gut microbiome. Additionally, Live and active culture microbes can't survive our stomach acid and barely make it to our intestines.
This isn't to say these foods shouldn't be consumed. They still provide many other health benefits and do help create a healthier gut, even with the little probiotics that make it to our intestines. It's just they shouldn't be used as a sole source of probiotics when treating gastrointestinal illnesses/disorders.
Lastly, it is vital to note that conditions such as IBS-C, IBS-D, IBS- Combination CD, diverticulitis, osteoporosis, and impaired cognitive function all respond differently to specific probiotic strains. This means that depending on your condition, your body may act negatively toward a certain strain of probiotics and positively toward another. In some instances, consuming foods containing multiple live and active cultures can actually do more harm than good.
Interested in learning about which probiotic should be taken to help treat your condition or improve your overall gut microbiome?
Let an RDN help you achieve a healthy and happy gut!
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