With all the attention paid to health and wellness these days, it’s no wonder that probiotics are such a hot topic. Probiotics support digestive health and strong immunity (70 percent of our immune system is located in the digestive tract); however, there are a lot of myths surrounding them.
With the global probiotic market expected to climb to $36.7 billion in 2018, according to BCC Research, consumers should get the truth about how to reap probiotic benefits before shelling out their money.
Here are a few myths and facts to consider from probiotic experts at Ganeden, a leading manufacturer of probiotic ingredients:
Myth: If a yogurt product has the Live & Active Cultures seal on the label, it is “probiotic.”
Fact: The seal indicates that at the time of manufacture, a refrigerated yogurt contained at least 100 million cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles per gram, and that a frozen yogurt contained at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This sounds pretty impressive, but depending on storage conditions, cultures used, and other manufacturing processes, there may be only a small fraction of the cells left by the time the product reaches your spoon, due to their naturally short lifespan.
The good news is there are products that contain far more robust cultures. For example, GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), a strain of probiotic bacteria, survives at rates of nearly 100 percent, and can be found in a variety of food and beverage products. Be sure to check the ingredient listing or look for its circular logo on packaging.
Myth: Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and natto are good sources of probiotics.
Fact: It depends. While many of these foods do use naturally occurring live cultures to begin fermentation, the pasteurization process will kill almost all living bacteria, even the good guys!
If the fermented product is raw, meaning it was never pasteurized, it will contain bacteria, but it won’t necessarily be probiotic. The organisms used to produce the fermented food have not always been studied -- so whether they provide a health benefit to the consumer is unknown.
For benefits to your digestive health and immune system, seek out foods and beverages with added probiotic strains that have research showing their benefits, like GanedenBC30.
Myth: Added probiotic strains can’t survive in foods and beverages outside of the refrigerated dairy case.
Fact: Some strains can, such as GanedenBC30. Its stability is due to a unique protective spore that gives the probiotic an ability to survive harsh manufacturing processes, product shelf life and, finally, the journey through the digestive system.
These special characteristics allow it to be included in foods like oatmeal, muffins, coffee, orange juice and even pizza — providing probiotic options that fit every lifestyle and preference.
To learn more about probiotics and their benefits, including digestive and immune support, along with enhanced protein utilization, and for a list of more than 500 probiotic product options, visit GanedenBC30.com.
When seeking out good sources of probiotics to include in your diet, remember to do research beyond the label.