Should I Take Probiotics?


By this point, you’ve likely heard that taking probiotics may be beneficial to your health. Before deciding if you would like to add them to your supplement routine, let’s dig a little deeper to help you understand what they are.

The Human Digestive System:

The human digestive system contains several kinds of healthful bacteria that play a role in many functions including: bowel health and regularity, immunity, carbohydrate fermentation, absorption of nutrients, and much more. Sometimes, the balance between healthful bacteria and harmful bacteria becomes altered. This can happen due to an unhealthy diet and other lifestyle factors.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that generally support the health of the digestive system by helping to maintain a good balance of beneficial bacteria.

Sources of Probiotics

Probiotics are found in foods as well as supplements. Examples of food sources of probiotics include: yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

Supplemental Probiotics

Oftentimes, people decide to supplement their diet with probiotics due to a potential low intake of probiotic-rich food sources. Also, the amount of probiotics contained in food compared to supplements is small. Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFUs). One gram of yogurt contains approximately 100 million CFUs, where supplemental probiotic dosages usually contain more than 1 billion CFUs.

All probiotics are different. Their benefits are genus-, species-, and strain-specific, and they can influence more than just gut health. If you decide to take a probiotic, be sure to choose one that is targeted to address your specific health needs and desires. Most probiotics used today are generally regarded as safe, but talk to your doctor first if you suffer from an immune disorder or have a serious underlying illness.

Genus-, species-, strain- Studied benefits
L. acidophilus NCFM® Helps maintain balance of intestinal flora
B. lactis Bi-07® Supports immune system health
B. lactis B-420 Helps control body fat and body weight (use as part of weight management program)
L. salivarius UCC118 Supports tight junctions of intestinal epithelial cells
L. rhamnosus GG® Supports healthy immune function
L. plantarum 299V® Support of gut barrier function and improvement of intestinal discomfort

Gastric Bypass Surgery and Probiotics

Stanford University published a study in post-gastric-bypass patients using probiotics. The initial aim of the study was to improve quality of life markers, including fewer digestive complaints. While the team did find benefits for general digestive complaints, they also found that patients who took probiotics compared to those who did not had greater weight loss and higher serum B12 levels.1

Weight Loss and Probiotics

A recent study conducted in overweight men and women using the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis B-420 (B420) found that after six months the participants who took 10 billion CFUs per day of B420 compared to those who did not take a probiotic had decreased their waist circumference, lost body weight, reduced their caloric intake, and had an increase in short-chain fatty acid production (suggesting a positive change in gut bacteria activity).2

How to Choose a Probiotic

Choose a probiotic from a trusted manufacturer. Only products that are guaranteed to contain viable (living) organisms at their expiration date assure reliable dosing from start to finish. Guaranteed potency at the time of production and guaranteed potency at the time of expiration are not the same thing.

At Bariatric Advantage we guarantee our purity, clinical reliability, and predicted safety of our probiotic formulas. Our formulas offer guaranteed doses at expiration with proper storage, so you always receive the strength you expect for your health needs.* Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits of consuming a probiotic.

 

1Woodard GA, Encarnacion B, Downey JR, et al. Probiotics improve outcomes after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery: a prospective randomized trial. J Gastrointestinal Surg 2009 Jul;13(7):1198-1204.
2Stenman LK, Lehtinen MJ, Meland N, et al. Probiotic With or Without Fiber Controls Body Fat Mass, Associated With Serum Zonulin, in Overweight and Obese Adults–Randomized Controlled Trial. EBioMedicine 2016;13:190-200.
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About Cassy Story

Cassie I. Story is a registered dietitian nutritionist with 13 years of experience in treating metabolic and bariatric surgery patients. She spent the first decade of her career as the lead dietitian for Drs. Blackstone, Swain, and Reynoso in Scottsdale, Arizona. For the past several years she has been working with industry partners in order to improve nutrition education within the field. She is currently a Clinical Science Liaison for Bariatric Advantage, Network Director of the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is active within the Obesity Action Coalition. She is a national speaker, published author, and enjoys spending time hiking and creating new recipes in the kitchen!

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