Probiotics and probiotic supplements are all the rage in treating a number of health issues. If they are something you’re considering trying out, it’s important to do your research to understand the limitations as well as which strains are best for your unique needs. Reviews.com recently compiled a guide to finding the most effective probiotic supplements. Here’s a summary of their findings:
There is still a surprisingly small amount of research on probiotics. Although the idea of beneficial bacteria has been around since the late 1800s, and probiotic supplements have been around since the 1930s, there haven’t been many human clinical trials.
We do know that probiotics produce enzymes that help break down chemicals that the normal human gut has a hard time with, such as the oligosaccharides in legumes. That digestive assistance results in less gastrointestinal distress and better absorption of nutrients.
Probiotics also elicit an immune response in the intestines that can help your body deal with certain harmful pathogens and other GI problems. There is actually a mechanism we learned about called cross-talk where, through chemical signals, the bacteria communicate with your body and your body communicates back.
What you read on the probiotics label is part truth, part hype, and part marketing.
As internationally recognized probiotic microbiologist Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders told us, “There’s often a gap between the hype and the science; the hypothesis versus what’s been demonstrated. People like to tell stories: My probiotic will survive stomach acid and others won’t. Instead look at the clinical benefit.”
Unlike the clinical studies, the bottles don’t have to tell the whole truth. “Dietary supplements are marketed for the general population. They are not marketed for at-risk or patient populations, and companies are not obligated to establish safety for these populations,” Dr. Sanders said.
This is because probiotics are classified as Dietary Supplements by the FDA, meaning that manufacturers “are not required by FDA to undergo rigorous premarketing evaluations for efficacy or safety.” In fact, every bottle of probiotics on the market invariably has this fun little disclaimer printed on it:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This is caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) times a thousand. The burden is entirely on you to take the label’s claims that it’ll “balance your gut bacteria” or “boost your immunity” with a grain of salt, and to talk with your doctor before you start popping capsules.
BRANDS AND STRAINS TO CONSIDER
With all that said, certain bacterial strains seem to consistently be good for treating various symptoms. Below are the choices based on the research done by Reviews.com.
Anxiety and Allergies
Relevant strains: L. Casei, L. Rhamnosus, Paracasei
Our Pick: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic, 30 Billion
Relevant strains: B. Brevis, B. Lactis, L. Acidophilus, L. Gasseri, L. Rhamnosus GG
Our Pick: MegaFlora
Relevant strains: L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus
Our Pick: Bio Kult Advanced Probiotic Multi Strain Capsules
Relevant strains: B. Lactis, E. Faecium, L. Acidophilus, L. Curvatus, L. Fermentum, L. Plantarum, L. Reuteri
Our Pick: Innovix Labs Multistrain Probiotic
Relevant strains: Bacillus Coagulans, L. Fermentum, L. Rhamnosus GG
Our Pick: Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Ultimate Care
See the full review HERE!
The team from reviews.com caught my attention with this survey and their findings. Reviews.com fund their research and work by partnering with companies and having a referral program after their research is conducted. Their reviews are driven by fact-based data. Their main goal is to be a comprehensive and honest resource so people can make more informed decisions. Keep in mind the article does advertise products. Reviews.com does not list a company higher than another because they are paid by them. They provide some important tips and tricks for choosing probiotic supplements which is why I decided to feature their study!