Probiotics certainly were a health buzzword of 2008. These healthy bacteria can now be found in all sorts of products from dairy products to energy bars, from cereals to dietary supplements. These probiotic products claim to help with high blood pressure, digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and constipation. The question is, are they worth the money?
Many of the probiotic products on the market don't contain enough of the types of bacteria that studies have found offer health benefits, so they're not worth buying. Products worth your money should contain purified strains of specific microbes, such as B. Animalis (found in Dannon's Activia yogurt), or other specific strains of Bifidobacterium, or Lactobacillus. Check amounts as well. Studies show that doses between 100 million and 1 billion colony forming units (CFU) are effective for improving immune function, intestinal infections, and digestion. Acidophilus Pearls contain 1 billion CFU of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum bacteria, so they're a great option. Since needs differ among people, some folks may benefit from one strain of microbes over another; if the Pearls aren't working for you, here's a list of some other probiotics to try.
Fit's Tip: While probiotics are in no way necessary for normal body function, if you're having digestive issues, you may benefit from taking them. Just so you know, in order to feel the effects you need to take them daily, and it may take a week or two to experience results.
If you have a probiotic product that you use, tell me about it in the comment section below.