Do People Really Need Probiotics?

Australian supermarkets nowadays look more like pharmacies endorsing products that contain probiotics such as yoghurts, milks and other healthy foods.

Health advocates find this promotion as favorable to consumers with gut issues and conditions.

ABC analyzed the scientific literature which was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

They discovered that giving healthy adults live bacteria contained in capsules, drinkers or yoghurt have benefits, namely:

  • Increased concentration of “good” bacteria that can help when there is bacteria imbalance in the digestive system
  • Probiotics can reduce the symptoms related to gastrointestinal disorders
  • It can help increase “good” bacteria in and around the vagina which can help prevent bacterial vaginosis and UTI in women
  • Gives a boost to the immunity system

Although probiotics can influence immune responses by improving activity of cells that fight respiratory infections but the precise mechanisms for this is still unclear. Only three studies have demonstrated these benefits in healthy adults.

They also found limited evidence that probiotic supplements can reduce cholesterol in healthy adults. In addition, probiotics don’t improve glucose levels as well as insulin responses.

It is also beneficial to feed the good bacteria (probiotics) to sustain its presence in our gut.

Foods that are rich in fibre (prebiotic source) like fruits, grains and vegetables are good energy sources for probiotics.

A prebiotic is classified as a nondigestible food ingredient that acts as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in our gut.

For people who have inadequate diets and are physically inactive, they can benefit from probiotic supplements but for individuals who lead healthy lifestyles, it appears that probiotic supplements are not much needed.

Instead of spending them on supplements, it’s better to buy more healthy foods especially fruits and vegetables

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