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Myth #9 Probiotic microbes colonise the gut

Myth #9 Probiotic microbes colonise the gut

A popular misconception is that probiotic microbes colonise the gut on a durable/permanent basis. This is simply not true. Probiotic microbes tend to persist in the gut for several days to a week. An exception to this can be bifidobacteria given in early infancy.

There is some limited evidence that these may become part of the gut flora in the infant on a longer-term basis. But for the overwhelming majority of people the persistence of supplemented probiotic microbes in the gut extends out to a maximum of about a week.

Myth #8 Multi-strain just means different freeze-dried bacteria mixed together

Myth #8 Multi-strain just means different freeze-dried bacteria mixed together

Most freeze-dried probiotic products have a seemingly impressive list of microbes listed on the label. The assertion is then made that the product is ‘multi-strain’. While this is true in a very limited sense, it is really sidestepping the whole reason why a consumer would want a multi-strain product in the first place.

 In the real world, microbes are never alone, they never live only among their own species/strain. Microbes are always in vast communities with friends and competitors engaged in an eternal struggle for survival. Very early in the development of probiotics, it was observed that cultures containing several different microbes tended to outperform cultures containing only a single strain. These observations were generally on live active cultures, not just blends of various powdered freeze-dried bacteria.

Myth #7 Yoghurt from the store is a good source of probiotic microbes

Myth #7 Yoghurt from the store is a good source of probiotic microbes

Myth #7 Yoghurt from the store is a good source of probiotic microbes

Fresh yogurt that you make yourself and eat fresh can be a good source of probiotic microbes. But when the lactose runs out, the microbial numbers drop rapidly.

In addition, post fermentation treatment/processing of commercial yogurt can dramatically reduce numbers. A store-bought yogurt may be delicious and nutritious, but it is unlikely to have high enough numbers of probiotic microbes to produce a probiotic effect.