Probiotics: Beneficial or Health Fad?

By Pulse Fitness

When talking about health supplements you often hear about creatine, whey protein, and fish oil just to name a few. But what about probiotics?  You may have heard about them on the Activia commercials but are unsure about what they actually do. Probiotics are live bacteria that can be taken to help restore the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria in your gut. Antibiotics, preservatives in food, and artificial sweeteners can reduce the amount of good bacteria. When the number of bad bacteria outweighs the number of good bacteria in your gut, you may experience a range of digestive disorders. These can include bloating, indigestion, and/or gas. While doctors may recommend taking probiotics when experiencing gastrointestinal conditions with antibiotic use, it could be beneficial taking daily as well.

Probiotics may aid in digestive disorders such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disorder. But even if you don’t have any of these disorders, probiotics may assist in digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. For someone with a health and fitness goal, such as weight loss, these elements can be crucial. You could be following a fantastic nutrition plan, but not reap any of the benefits. Your body must be functioning properly to ensure you are absorbing all the vitamins and minerals you are taking in.

Not all probiotic supplements are created equal. Depending on the brand, it may only contain one strain of beneficial bacteria. Now that may be the strain your body needs, however, you may not see any changes when taking the supplement. When choosing a supplement I would advise picking one with multiple strains of bacteria. Also, through talking with Dr. Kyle Cronin, some brands may say live bacteria on the box or bottle, but when tested, the bacterium was not. Make sure to consult a doctor on which brands actually contain live bacteria and be sure to read the storage instructions. Some brands may require refrigeration to keep the bacteria alive.

So what the verdict? Beneficial or Fad? Well, it all depends on the brand. Probiotics in deed can be very beneficial, but it must come from a good quality source. A recommended brand would be from Ortho Molecular. Their Ortho Biotic capsules contain seven different strains of bacteria. This company uses BioShield Technology that helps preserve the bacteria until they reach the GI tract. The bacteria is protected, sealed, and freeze-dried away from moisture, heat, light, and oxygen during this process. This will keep the bacteria alive until it reaches the GI tract and will allow for maximum benefits. So when trying to pick a brand make sure you do your research. Some of the over the counter probiotics may just be a waste of your time and money.

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References:

Health benefits of taking probiotics – Harvard Health. (2005, September 1). Retrieved October 6, 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/

Ortho Biotic Capsules. (2013). Retrieved October 6, 2015, from Ortho Molecular Products. http://www.orthomolecularproducts.com/ortho-biotic-capsules/

Perfect Biotics™. (n.d.). Retrieved October 6, 2015, from https://probioticamerica.com/