Probiotics are living strands of bacteria and yeasts thought to be good for your health, especially your digestive system. While we normally associate the word “bacteria” with disease, in reality, our body is flooded with bacteria, both good and bad.
This form of bacteria is often called “good” or “helpful” because they help keep your gut healthy. “There is scientific evidence that specific strains of probiotic microorganisms confer health benefits on the host and are safe for human use,” says the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NCBI).
The site went on to say that, “probiotics have potential health benefits for conditions such as gastrointestinal infections, genitourinary infections, allergies and certain bowel disorders, all of which afflict a considerable proportion of the global population.”
What misconceptions do people have about the use of probiotics?
MYTH 1. All probiotic supplements are the same.
Not at all. In fact, some probiotics have a single strain of organisms, while others contain multiple strains. Naturally, different strains of the same species may even be different, and could have different effects on health. With hundreds of species, it makes sense that researchers have yet to study them all. So, do your research for high-quality supplements!
MYTH 2. Supplement labels provide accurate “live bacteria” counts.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA) proposed to update the labeling on food packages to reflect the latest diet and nutrition trends. While some food and supplement labels may state that it contains “live cultures” or “live bacteria,” or even the genus and species names – for example, far too often, products don’t have a fair or accurate microbe count.
MYTH 3. Say bye, bye to probiotics use during antibiotic treatment.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. According to research, this is the very time you should take probiotics, as they can reduce side effects linked to antibiotic treatment, such as diarrhea.
MYTH 4. Probiotic supplements can replace medications.
While some may prefer homeopathic medicine – treatment that embraces a holistic, natural approach to illness — probiotics have typically been studied in conjunction with medications — not as a substitute.
MYTH 5. You’ll get the most from probiotics taking them on an empty stomach.
It may go against common reasoning, but taking your probiotics on an empty stomach doesn’t pack a stronger punch. In fact, it does just the opposite. Without any food, your probiotics will be first in line to be broken down by the stomach’s gastric fluids. Eat first or take your probiotics with your meal.