Did you really think yogurt was your answer to gut health?

I’m not sure who started it, but in recent years probiotics became a buzzword.

“They’re the good kind of bacteria,” they said.

In reality, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are known to help with digestion and gut health. They have also been linked to improved oral, urinary and vaginal health, and they might even help improve skin conditions, such as eczema. They’re found in your body, and also in the food, we eat.

When people started catching on to the alleged power of these good bacteria, yogurt manufacturers immediately saw a marketing opportunity:

“Eat yogurt. It’s full of probiotics,” they said.

Next thing you now, everyone and his dog hop on board the yogurt train, citing probiotics as their reason.

Alas, a new study from the University of Toronto (http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/4/400 ) tells us what common sense probably could have told us all along: The dosage of probiotics in yogurt is too low to provide any health benefits.

For the record, it’s not just yogurt who is trying to capitalize on the gullible ones. I recently saw fruit juice claiming to have been infused with probiotics. A dubious claim at best, I would think.

Check out this article for more on this new study: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/most-probiotic-yogurts-don-t-contain-enough-good-bacteria-for-additional-benefits-study-1.3373510).

So if you can’t throw back a liter of yogurt a day to improve your gut health, what can you do?

Dr. Alana Shaw says you can supplement with them in pill form in much higher dosages than your food can provide.

This doesn’t mean you need to be taking them all the time, she explained. But she does recommend taking them if you have been on antibiotics. While antibiotics kill the “bad” bacteria that caused your injection, they also kill the good ones. This can lead to a rundown immune system, she said. Taking probiotics will then help rebuild your good bacteria to help restore your immune system.

Another group of people who can benefit from a probiotic supplement is those with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and diarrhea.

The most important thing to look for when looking for a probiotic supplement is the CFU count, Shaw said. CFU stands for “colony forming units” and is used to quantify how many bacteria are present and capable of dividing and forming colonies.

In short, the higher the CFU count, the better! (Generally, a higher CFU will cost more, but it’s worth it, Shaw said).

CFU count can be as high as 900 million, 5 billion, and even 50 billion.
Again, the higher the better. At her clinic, Shaw prescribes some clients probiotics with a CFU count of 100 billion.

For more information on CFU count, check this out: http://www.probioticsguide.com/is-a-higher-cfu-count-better-in-probiotic-supplements/