RadioMD: Staying Well

What You Don't Know (but Need to ) About Probiotics

August 11, 20149 min
There has been a lot of recent buzz surrounding probiotics, but do you really know what you're buying and consuming?Probiotics have gained popularity over the past few years claiming to have numerous health benefits. If you're strolling through your grocery store, certain food groups may pop out at you with large colorful print saying, "contains probiotics". You might even see several advertisements throughout the day, urging you to buy probiotics.However, with all the recent buzz surrounding probiotics do you really know the truth about probiotics?True probiotics are a form of good bacteria found in supplements and foods. Most known for aiding in digestive health (constipation, upset stomach, diarrhea, cramping) probiotics also help support immune function and absorb nutrients in your body.With so many probiotics on the market, what do you look at on the label to ensure the probiotic is safe and effective?Food labels can be tricky, especially when there are long lists of ingredients you might be unfamiliar with. If you are reading a probiotic label and there are six or more microorganisms, it probably is imported from another country.Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any regulations for importing probiotics from other counties that could be containing foreign and unhealthy ingredients.It is also important to know the exact name of the probiotic, which will include the strain and species of the probiotic. You want to know the health benefits and the exact shelf life of these strains before ingesting them.What are the next steps are for the FDA and USDA to help educate the public about consuming safe probiotics?Author, Researcher Founder/President of Natren Probiotics, Natasha Trenev joins Melanie Cole, MS to discuss why probiotics have gained popularity, what you need to know and look for in a true probiotic, and what the next step is for the FDA, USDA and manufacturing companies to ensure the quality of a true probiotic on the market.

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