All-in-one functional probiotics
Q: Do all-in-one functional probiotic products really work? A: While not all probiotic strains carry research-verified benefits, the evidence suggests that certain probiotics may help with reducing some of the side effects from antibiotics use, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and more. But as a dietitian, I see a lot of combination products on the market that merely sprinkle in probiotics, omega-3s or functional herbs so you’re paying more for products that don’t really measure up. So, at a time when we’re all looking to dive deeper into our nutrition care, let’s talk about what to look for in a functional product to make sure you’re really getting your money’s worth. First, does the product use ingredients backed by actual scientific evidence to show they work? Particularly with additions such as probiotics and herbs, there are a lot of variables like bacterial strain or herbal extract quality that greatly impact how well the product will work for you. Having research-backed probiotics and standardized herbal extracts gives me more confidence in considering an all-in-one product. The other factor you need to consider is whether the product contains meaningful amounts of the ingredients on offer. If a herbal extract is shown in published research to work at 300 mg, but a product only contains 100 mg, you’re not going to get the functional benefit you’re after. Similarly, with functional products that sprinkle in 100 million or even 1 billion (colony-forming units) of a probiotic strain, you may be getting probiotics in name only, and generally not enough for a potential benefit. Do your homework and find evidence-backed formulas to help you feel your best. This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of alive.