Probiotics have achieved a great reputation in the past few years as health-conscious people have a lot to say about their amazing health benefits. Although the benefits of the good bacteria found in yogurt have been known since ages, recent studies have made more proactive attempts to highlight them even further. With this came the era of manufactured probiotic products, the pills and food supplements that contain millions of gut-friendly “good” bacteria that boost digestive health. These bacteria are capable of breaking down the nutrients in the food for faster and better digestion. At the same time, they can enhance the immune system and stave off a variety of health problems. Let aside the claims that probiotic brands make and the benefits that their users profess; there are also a number of myths and misconceptions attached with these products. If you are planning to start making them a part of your daily routine, these myths need to be debunked. Let us do that for you.
- Fermented food products are probiotic
A common probiotic myth is that all the fermented food items are probiotic. However, the tag is not apt for the “cultured” products that claim their benefits and try to take the consumers for a ride. While a majority of these foods do use live cultures for fermentation, they are often pasteurized to give them a longer shelf life. Pasteurization, as a technique, has its own benefits but while it kills the harmful bacteria in foods, it also destroys the live cultures. This means that fermented products no longer remain probiotic.
- All probiotic supplements are the same
The general notion about probiotic supplements is that they are all the same. People think that whichever brand or product they pick from the supermarket shelf, it will make no difference. Theoretically, however, every single product can be unique in terms of composition and effects. Some are made with a single strain of organisms and others can be composed with multiple strains. Even the ones made with different strains of the same species of organisms will work differently. The benefits that a particular product brings totally depend on the bacterial species it is made of, which is the reason that no two products can be the same.
- Probiotics are an alternative to medications
Another major misconception about probiotics is that they can replace medications for specific conditions. There are people who believe them to be miraculous and curative but the fact is that they cannot replace it completely. According to experts, probiotics can be taken along with continued medical treatment to enhance its effects. Similarly, they can be recommended as a preventive therapy so that the need for medication may be avoided down the road. But in no way will probiotic supplementation serve as an alternative to medication being taken for an existing medical problem.
- Probiotics work almost instantly
Despite the advertising claims that these supplements act like a magic, they do take their own time to start bringing the benefits they are so well known for. Probiotics start colonizing within the gastrointestinal tract as soon as you start taking them. The healthy bacteria take some time to grow and flourish in the gut and gradually strengthen it and make digestion better. The result may differ from person to person, coming faster for some and taking longer for others. On an average, it may take a few weeks to experience measurable results with regular probiotic intake.
- Good supplements are always expensive
Another thing that most people tend to believe is that quality probiotics are bound to be expensive. But associating the product quality with price is the biggest mistake that they can make. Explore the supermarket shelves and online websites for products that give extensive benefits yet fit into your budget. Discover Which Probiotics Supplement Is Best For You! Do not hesitate to try out a product or two before you understand which one really works for you. There are plenty of optimally priced products that give desirable results.
- Probiotics should not be taken during pregnancy
Another misconception about probiotic supplementation is that it should be avoided during pregnancy. The fact is just the opposite as a pregnant woman can get a host of benefits by taking probiotics. It can help in alleviation of pregnancy-induced constipation and boost the immune system as well. The benefits are not confined to the woman but extend to the fetus too as the good bacteria strengthen its gut even before birth and ensure optimal health for the newborn. Moreover, probiotics support the absorption of nutrients and prenatal vitamins, which means that a woman can make the most out of her diet and nutrient supplementation by consuming probiotics on a daily basis. The new mother should continue with its intake during breastfeeding too.
- Expiration dates do not apply on probiotics
Probiotics work because of the live “good bacteria” that they contain. Like all other living things, these bacteria also have a definitive life span. Therefore, probiotic products do have an expiry date like other health supplements. Each of these products should be tested and marked with an expiry date at the time of packaging. The consumer too should be vigilant while buying the product. It is essential to buy and consume it before the product loses its viability as an expired product can do more harm than good.
Now that all the major myths and misconceptions about probiotic supplements have been debunked, you can start taking them even more confidently. They serve an excellent booster for digestive health and give you a stronger immune system. Ensure that you pick a high-quality product from a trusted brand so that you can avail the best benefits and get value for your money. Even if these products bring varied health benefits, they should be taken with care and under proper medical guidance. Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and people suffering from chronic health issues should start taking a probiotic supplement only after expert consultation with their specialist.