• Science Saturday: One size does not fit all in the world of probiotics

bacteria cellsThe allure of probiotics can be hard to resist. Popular belief holds that when you take probiotics in pill, powder or food, you boost your gut health with a powerful antidote to digestive diseases.

But what exactly are probiotics, and how do you separate truth from theory? What does the research say?

Purna Kashyap, M.B.B.S., a gastroenterologist and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine Microbiome program and a member of the scientific advisory board of American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)Gut Microbiome Center for Education and Research, explains what science reveals about probiotics.

“Probiotics are living microscopic organisms, most commonly bacteria or yeast. Probiotics are thought to improve overall health and have been tested in multiple disease states, but the majority of the studies are not on par with rigorous clinical trials done for drugs. As a result their effectiveness remains highly controversial, and it is unclear how they act,” says Dr. Kashyap.

In addition, probiotics are naturally present in many forms of fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kombucha. Read the rest of the article on the Individualized Medicine Blog.

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