How to pick a probiotic?
Did you know that in 2012 3.8 million adults and 300,000 children were known to be taking probiotics?! This is a 400% increase in 5 years.
What does a probiotic do? It transiently changes the microbiome of the intestine. It can only be found in the gut microbiome in stool samples for one to two weeks. This means that the health benefit of a probiotic only lasts for 1-2 weeks after your last ingestion of the probiotic. This also means that probiotic foods, like yogurt, are as effective as a supplement.
Probiotics are considered a nutritional supplement per the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) so they are NOT regulated for clinical application as it is considered food and not a drug. The DSHEA requires that dietary supplements meet current good manufacturing guidelines, but this does not necessarily mean that the products are effective.
How to buy a probiotic? Consider buying a probiotic with an expiration date printed on the bottle and one that lists the number of viable colony-forming units at expiration–as this may give some assurance that the probiotic viability continues throughout the lifespan of the product.
The probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii is not eradicated by antibiotics and may help with gut health. Probiotics have good evidence supporting their benefit in patients with irritable bowel or ulcerative colitis and may prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.
When buying probiotics, I recommend a probiotic with the National Science Foundation’s certification of good manufacturing practice. This website can help… http://www.nsf.org/regulatory/regulator-nsf-certification