No, all probiotic drinks are not alike. The beneficial effect of a particular probiotic strain may not be seen in others. Each strain has its unique qualities. So every time you see a famous actor endorsing a particular bottle of probiotic, don’t just jump to the offer!
There are certain mandated requirements that go into the making of a probiotic drink. For example, the organism added as a 'probiotic' should have scientific evidence of beneficial effects on the person consuming it, in the form in which it is marketed. One must remember that 'probiotic' benefit is not only strain-specific but also
disease-specific; so the evidence must be documented. Remember that all yogurts are not probiotic just because they have an organism added for fermentation.
Secondly, the amount of organism added is important -- you can always make a cheaper drink by adding less organism, but that compromises the benefit.
Thirdly, are the instructions for storage clearly mentioned and are they being implemented during transport and by the dispensing store? Also, details like shelf-life should be mentioned on the cover. When in doubt, either ask the manufacturer for scientific details or source these from a scientific website (preferably not the company's website).
The best way to go about selecting such an important supplement for your health is to visit a healthcare practitioner that uses muscle testing or other effective method, to determine which probiotic will effectively maintain immune system performance at its optimal function. In today’s market, probiotics can be found nearly everywhere from grocery stores to malls to chemist shops. Choosing the correct type can be confusing.
*Inputs:Dr Philip Abraham, senior gastroenterologist and hepatologist, P D Hinduja National Hospital, Mumbai.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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