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Common Probiotic Myths #5

Common Probiotic Myths #5

Myth #5:

Having some live microbes in a product makes it a probiotic.


The World Health Organization defines a probiotic as: “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” This definition has. been amended to say that the microbes must be of strains shown to have probiotic characteristics.


Thus it is not enough to say that a product has some live microbes and is therefore a probiotic, it must be shown that there are sufficient numbers of microbes with proven probiotic characteristics before a product can be accurately described as a probiotic.

Common probiotic myths #4

LiveBrew probiotics

Big numbers on the label mean big numbers when taken?

The overwhelming majority of products that say “probiotic” on the label only provide a count for the number of microbes present AT THE TIME OF MANUFACTURE. This is a very different number than the count at the time of use! Most ‘probiotic’ products contain a small fraction of the number counted at the time of manufacture by the time they are used by the consumer. Very, very few manufacturers guarantee the number of microbes in their product throughout the entire shelf life period.

Combine this with the fact that freeze-dried cultures of any number face considerable challenges (see Myth #3) when taken, and one can see that the very big numbers on the label of a freeze-dried product can easily fall below the level of being able to produce a probiotic effect.