What do you know about probiotics?

The shelves of your local pharmacy are full of them. You’ve seen them advertised in magazines and on TV. Maybe a friend, or even your doctor, recommended them to you. Probiotics, one of the fastest growing nutritional categories in the country, offer myriad benefits by improving gut health, which can improve your overall well-being and also relieve bothersome digestive symptoms such as stomach upset. gas, bloating, occasional constipation and diarrhea.

You might be tempted to take your friend’s advice and go product shopping, but how much do you really know about probiotics? Take the true/false quiz below to find out. Some of the answers to these seemingly simple topics might surprise you, and they’re sure to make you a smarter probiotic shopper, potentially improving your health and well-being in the process.

This content is imported from the survey. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Answer: Fake. “It’s important to note that similarly not all bacteria make us sick, not all bacteria are truly probiotics or have research to confirm that they improve human health,” says the dietician. Desiree Nielsen, RD, author of Eat more plants. “It is not correct to say that kombucha, for example, is a probiotic. Kombucha is a fermented food that may or may not contain probiotics.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), probiotics are “live microorganisms (such as bacteria and yeast) that provide health benefits when you consume them.” The NIH also points out that not all products marketed as probiotics have proven health benefits.

When shopping for a probiotic, consumers should look for an item containing a strain or strains of probiotics that have shown proven results for things like digestive health, immune health, or even female health. Strains such as Bifidobacterium long 35624™ is backed by years of research, and products containing it, like Align Probiotic Supplement 24/7 Digestive Support*§, are formulated to provide specific benefits.

This content is imported from the survey. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Answer: True. Some products contain multiple strains of probiotics intended to provide complementary health benefits, while others have a single targeted strain. No approach is better or worse, as long as the strains are proven to work. For example, Align Dual Action Probiotic Supplement for Women contains three different probiotic strains, one for digestive symptoms like bloating and gas*, and the other two to support vaginal health*, while Align Gut Health & Immunity Support contains a single strain to help promote the gut. health and strengthens the immune system.*

The name of each probiotic includes its genus, species, subspecies and alphanumeric strain. “Strain is how we identify specific microorganisms,” says Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, LD, a Georgia-based dietitian nutritionist. “[Its name] helps researchers determine which specific microbe confers an advantage on a host. For example, with the single strain Bifibobacterium longum subsp. at length 35624which can relieve digestive symptoms, the genus is Bifibobacterium, the species and subspecies is subsp. at lengthand the strain is 35624.

This content is imported from the survey. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Answer: Fake. Short for “colony forming units”, the number of CFUs on a product is a guarantee of the number of live microorganisms it contains. But when it comes to probiotics, says Nielsen, “the ‘more is more’ philosophy doesn’t quite work. A 100 billion CFU product is not automatically better than a 50 billion CFU product. What matters is that the number of CFUs matches the effective dose in clinical trials. Some probiotics are very effective at 1 billion CFU; others are only effective at 50 billion CFU.

Ideally, you should be looking for a product that contains the number of CFUs used in clinical studies that have shown health benefits for that particular strain. The good news is that you don’t have to read tons of scientific studies to do this. Just go to usprobioticguide.com, an independent database of research-backed probiotic products available in the United States.|| Click on the population category that applies to you (eg Adult Health or Women’s Health), then look in the “Applications” column of the table to find the benefits you are looking for. The columns to the left of this tell you which strains offer these benefits and which brands offer products containing these strains.


This content is imported from the survey. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

Answer: Fake. Like all dietary supplements, probiotics are not drugs. They don’t have the same effects on the body as drugs, so it may take some time before you start seeing benefits. “I recommend a 12-week trial before evaluating the benefits,” says Nielsen. During this time, “gas, bloating, or bowel movements should improve,” she says. “If they haven’t, stop taking the probiotic – it’s not working for you. A probiotic, if it works for you, will help you feel better. When this happens, consider trying another probiotic.

It’s also important to understand that probiotics do not settle and settle permanently in your gut. They’re just passing through, temporarily providing benefits for as long as you add them. If you want to continue seeing benefits, you must continue taking the product.

buy now
Align Probiotic Supplement 24/7 Digestive Support*§
Align Dual Action Probiotic Supplement for Women
Align Dual Action Probiotic Supplement for Women
Align Probiotics Supplement, Gut Health & Immunity Support*
Align Probiotics Supplement, Gut Health & Immunity Support*

To learn more about probiotics and find advice on products that can help your individual symptoms and health concerns, join the Align Healthy Gut team. Align brings together healthcare professionals and everyday probiotic users to educate people about the benefits of probiotics and how to use them. Plus, by signing up, you’ll get $2 off your first month of Align Probiotics.

§ Fortifies your digestive system with good bacteria 24/7 with continued daily use*

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

|| Procter & Gamble is a member of the Probiotic Education Alliance which provides an unrestricted educational grant to support the creation of the Probiotics Guide.

About Susan Dailey

Check Also

72 hours in Lisbon focused on fitness and well-being

Weaving sightseeing seamlessly with a workout is an art, and Lisbon has done just that. …