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Probiotics: Beneficial or a Waste of Money?

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.

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hardcorecupcakex hardcorecupcakex 7 years
I think a balanced healthy diet is a lot more better
taratootie taratootie 7 years
Well I take them and I have noticed if I dont! There are 3 main circumstances in which you should be taking probiotics:1. After antibiotic use. Antis such as cipro and other broad spectrums will kill off your intestinal flora. You need to restock those babies! Also used after radiation therapy for the same reason.2. Immune health issues such as ulcerative colitis and crohns. A lot of your immune system is in your intestines and these bacteria help fight off the bad bateria (pathogens) that we eat. If they arent there then these little suckers can colonize and make you sick. If its chronic, then your immune system will get weak opening you up to more infections or issues. 3. Prevention: people with chronis diarrhea and constipation can benefit from probiotics. My step sis was fighting ecurring back to back yeast infections and UTIs and I gave her some potent probiotics (50 billion!) cranberry tablets and shes been issue free for about 2 months now. Also taking them with me to Ecuador to help protect me against travellers diarrhea! Oh and I take "Ulitmate Flora adult formula 15 billion" and gave my stepsis the same brand but "Vaginal support 50 billion" and Im taking "Jarrow-Dophilus EPS 5 billion" with me to Ecuador b/c its shelf stable. Also make sure you look for a large # of Bifidiobacterium breve in your probiotic. And yes, I drink Kefir, eat yogurt (homemade), fiber and a generally healthy diet too! I have some environmental allergy issues and some serious antibiotic allergies so I really cant get sick, so I take prevention seriously. Oh LONG post. Please let me know if I helped anyone... ;D
taratootie taratootie 7 years
Well I take them and I have noticed if I dont! There are 3 main circumstances in which you should be taking probiotics: 1. After antibiotic use. Antis such as cipro and other broad spectrums will kill off your intestinal flora. You need to restock those babies! Also used after radiation therapy for the same reason. 2. Immune health issues such as ulcerative colitis and crohns. A lot of your immune system is in your intestines and these bacteria help fight off the bad bateria (pathogens) that we eat. If they arent there then these little suckers can colonize and make you sick. If its chronic, then your immune system will get weak opening you up to more infections or issues. 3. Prevention: people with chronis diarrhea and constipation can benefit from probiotics. My step sis was fighting ecurring back to back yeast infections and UTIs and I gave her some potent probiotics (50 billion!) cranberry tablets and shes been issue free for about 2 months now. Also taking them with me to Ecuador to help protect me against travellers diarrhea! Oh and I take "Ulitmate Flora adult formula 15 billion" and gave my stepsis the same brand but "Vaginal support 50 billion" and Im taking "Jarrow-Dophilus EPS 5 billion" with me to Ecuador b/c its shelf stable. Also make sure you look for a large # of Bifidiobacterium breve in your probiotic. And yes, I drink Kefir, eat yogurt (homemade), fiber and a generally healthy diet too! I have some environmental allergy issues and some serious antibiotic allergies so I really cant get sick, so I take prevention seriously. Oh LONG post. Please let me know if I helped anyone... ;D
Gumbyb22 Gumbyb22 7 years
I wasn't a big fan of the whole healthy diet thing but a friend of mine a few months ago told me about probiotics and especially this GoodBelly fruit drink. I really like and it has helped me so far. The best thing for me is that its not a yogurt and it comes in these little shots that are easy to take each day!
crystalm07 crystalm07 7 years
My facialist actually recommended taking these as a way to help my skin as well...Anyone heard if theres any truth to this? I have started taking them to test it out anyways and hoping for some good results!
graylen graylen 7 years
My gastronologist recommends these, but only as a part of a therapy program- not a one-stop solution. You still need a healthy diet, lower stress, and natural fiber. I have a bad stomach and his thought is that every little bit helps with regularity, especially if you don't want/like large amounts of kefir and yogurt.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I eat yogurt everyday anyway, but I also take an acidophilus supplement and occasionally I'll grab a kombucha if I'm having issues. I just have a crazy stomach, so no matter what I eat it's never been great, and they seem to help so why not?
Spectra Spectra 7 years
As a microbiologist, I think they're a huge waste of money. Any fermented dairy product (yogurts, kefir) have beneficial bacteria in them that help regulate your system. Just read your regular yogurt label to find out if it has live active cultures in it. If you want more bacteria in your yogurt, keep it a little longer in the fridge. The longer it sits, the tarter and firmer it will get as the bacteria count grows. Also, eating lots of fruits and vegetables does double duty for your guts...the fiber helps move things along and it also acts as a breeding ground for beneficial bacteria that live in your system so that they can do their job.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
As a microbiologist, I think they're a huge waste of money. Any fermented dairy product (yogurts, kefir) have beneficial bacteria in them that help regulate your system. Just read your regular yogurt label to find out if it has live active cultures in it. If you want more bacteria in your yogurt, keep it a little longer in the fridge. The longer it sits, the tarter and firmer it will get as the bacteria count grows. Also, eating lots of fruits and vegetables does double duty for your guts...the fiber helps move things along and it also acts as a breeding ground for beneficial bacteria that live in your system so that they can do their job.
wren1 wren1 7 years
My chiropractor keeps telling me to get these. Thanks for the helpful info!
hottpink hottpink 7 years
Ditto mtiger!
hottpink hottpink 7 years
Ditto mtiger!
mtiger mtiger 7 years
I think a healthy diet is a much better choice.
xlove33 xlove33 7 years
I eat Attune bars when my body is out of sync and i must say, they truly work. AND you do not need to eat them daily for them to work.
sparklestar sparklestar 7 years
I have a friend who is a biochemist and he's told me time and again they are a waste of money and not to bother. If you have digestive issues then you need to see a doctor, not be filling your body with these!
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
i've actually tried to jump on the bandwagon for this one - and i can't really say whether i've noticed a difference or not. i used to have stomach issues and thought that this would help, but i don't know if it was that or my body just getting back on track that made all the difference. i'm not against them, but i think that it's one of those fads that people will jump on because it's talked about so frequently these days.
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