4 Probiotic Myths…BUSTED!!!
You’ve likely heard a lot about probiotics lately, including conflicting reports about what you should be looking for in a probiotic and why. Let’s delve into the myths that might be keeping you from the benefits you might need.
1. Don't probiotics need to be refrigerated?
It depends. Some probiotics do require refrigeration because the bacteria will die if left at room temperature. If they can't survive room temperature, however, how can they survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach? They can't.
It used to be commonly understood that "living bacteria" was the "best." Research has come a long way, and we now know there are certain strains, like the bacillus, that can survive the stomach and make it all the way to the intestines where they are needed most.
Unfortunately, the idea was so prevalent that many people today are still leery of an unrefrigerated probiotic. Many companies still offer refrigerated probiotics, further perpetuating the myth. However, the most important thing to look for in a quality probiotic are strains that have been tested to survive the digestive system, which means they need to survive outside the refrigerator as well.
2. My yogurt gives me all the probiotics I need
Millions have been spent marketing yogurt as a way to get much-needed probiotics, but don’t assume they are working for you. For starters, look at the nutritional value of many yogurts and compare them to the supposed benefits. Yogurt is often filled with sugar (sometimes even more than a chocolate bar), which in itself can actually kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
The next thing to consider is how much benefit your gut is getting from the yogurt. More often than not, the amount of actual probiotics in yogurt isn't enough to make much of a difference to your gut flora, and unfortunately, most of it is killed in the stomach acids.
A good quality probiotic supplement is a superior way to get the concentrations that your gut needs. And with a probiotic supplement, you won't need to worry about added sugars, preservatives or unwanted hormones.
3. All good bacteria act as probiotics
There are trillions of bacteria in your intestinal tract, and we are still identifying and understanding their role in the human body. Many of these bacteria have been identified as "good," but not all of them are the same. A true "probiotic" is one that can help to colonize the body with helpful bacteria.
A good way to think of the probiotic is like a gardener responsible for identifying the "good" and removing the "bad." Not all strains of bacteria have the ability to make it to the colon to play a crucial role in fermenting fiber and colonizing helpful bacteria. The key is to look for strains like those found in the Silver Fern™ Ultimate Probiotic that have been proven to colonize the gut.
4. Probiotic Supplements should have Enteric Coating so they survive
By now, you've seen that it's critical for probiotics to survive the stomach’s harsh acidic environment. One way some companies have tried to achieve this is by using a coating material that prevents the capsule from being broken down in the stomach.
Research shows probiotics are better without the special coatings.
Probiotics need to withstand stomach acids to deliver the probiotics to the right place within your GI tract, but enteric coating can actually kill some of the probiotics. A lot of heat is needed in the enteric coating process, and this heat can kill some of the probiotics.
Instead, find strains that naturally survive the stomach and can make it to the intestine. This is much more reminiscent of what we see in nature. There certainly aren't enteric coatings found naturally in any of our food, so look for a supplement that has been tested for survivability.