Is your probiotic supplement ‘useless?’

There it is, finally: a backlash against probiotics, right on schedule.

A slew of new reports now that claims you shouldn’t waste your hard-earned cash on these essential supplements.

The normally staid BBC even wrote a headline that went viral, claiming that these good bacteria needed for digestion, mood, immune function, and more are actually “quite useless.”

But it’s quite wrong.

Maybe it should stick to The Great British Baking Show and leave the science to the professionals!

In one of the studies behind the headlines, folks given a probiotic after taking antibiotics actually had a harder time returning to their normal intestinal balance three weeks later.

Sounds bad, right?

Wrong!

First, the folks in the study who got the probiotic were given just a single dose.

That’s it -- one dose, right at the end of the antibiotics course, when the drugs may have still been working to kill off bacteria.

Nothing else after that.

OF COURSE it’s not going to do anything for you!

In the second study, the BBC claimed that probiotics went “in the mouth and straight out the other end,” failing to take hold and form colonies.

But that’s not quite what happened.

In at least half of the cases, the probiotics did hang around. In 30 percent of patients, a key probiotic we all need – the Bifidobacterium longum I recommend to my own patients – formed a colony that persisted for months.

Ready for the key?

Those colonies lasted for MONTHS after the folks stopped taking the probiotic!

That benefit went exactly to the patients who needed it most: the ones who were low in Bifidobacterium longum at the start of the study.

And the real “fake news” kicker?

The quote in the headline, the one about probiotics being “quite useless,” was taken wildly out of context.

The scientist who made that comment could’ve been reading from House Calls when he said that people shouldn’t take random probiotics and hope for results, but instead should make sure they get the specific bacteria strains they need and in the right amounts.

Here’s the full quote: “In that sense, just buying probiotics at the supermarket without any tailoring, without any adjustment to the host, at least in part of the population, is quite useless.”

That part IS true.

As I’ve shared here in House Calls, every brand of probiotic supplement has its own blend inside, with different strains of friendly bacteria providing different benefits.

Cheap-o supermarket blends often do nothing at all.

Even the RIGHT strains… but in LOW amounts… won’t do much for you.

And like anything else – whether it’s a supplement or a medication – the benefits won’t last if you stop taking it.

You can’t just grab a supermarket probiotic. You need to do your homework first and look for a quality blend with human-tested strains such as Bifidobacterium longum.

Do it right, and you’ll find it could be quite useful!