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    You Ask, I Answer: Probiotic Requirements?

    suprema-dophilus-multi-probiotic-largeIs there a recommended amount of probiotics we should be eating each day?

    Is one cup of yogurt a day enough?

    — Maria Barbosa
    Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Probiotic research is in its infancy.

    Consider, for example, that of the hundreds of thousands of probiotic strains, we only have well-documented scientific data on a small handful!

    One of the challenges that often comes up when studying probiotics is that even within one general strand of bacteria, each species offers different properties (i.e.: one species may survive its transit through the human digestive system, while another may be obliterated in our stomachs).

    I suspect it will be decades until we truly have a solid grasp on probiotics.

    While there currently is no data on recommended dosages, we do know that consustent consumption of fermented foods (either raw, or pasteurized but containing live and active cultures) offers certain health benefits.

    Keep in mind, too, that to keep probiotics in tip-top shape, it is crucial to limit added sugars and consume a fair amount of foods rich in soluble fiber (i.e.: oats, kidney beans, pears) and fructooligosaccharides (i.e.: onions, oats, garlic, bananas).

    I don’t recommend spending money on probiotic supplements that advertise gazillions of probiotic bacteria (ie: “50 million strands per capsule!”).  Instead, stick to the bacterial strands that have been researched (ie: Lactobacillus acidophilus).

    For all we know, only a small percentage of those strands survive the digestive process and actually provide benefits.  Additionally, as with everything else (vitamins, fiber, minerals), it may very well be that extremely high doses cause more harm than good.

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