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BUSTED! Probiotic Myths #5 and #6
Myth #5: A probiotic should be enteric coated or in a special capsule.
This is simply marketing. While enteric-coating capsules can certainly improve the chances that they’ll survive through stomach acid and make it into the small intestines, the probiotic’s journey is not yet complete. Once in the small intestine it still has to face bile salts and pancreatic enzymes that kill off bacteria. They still will not make it through the 22+ feet of small intestine to get to the large intestine where they are supposed to function. If your probiotic needs a special enteric coating, special capsule, seaweed coating or some other technology in order to survive digestion, then it will most likely be too weak to colonize in the gut – a/k/a compete with the other 80 trillion bacteria already residing in your gut.
A better approach is to find a probiotic that naturally survives the gastric system, not one that has to be engineered to survive the stomach.
Myth #6: You don’t need to take a probiotic if you eat fermented foods.
False. Although fermented foods can be excellent prebiotics and can provide nutritious, predigested food that feeds your gut bacteria, they don’t create lasting ecological change in the gut and do not deliver living probiotic cells to the large intestine. If you can tolerate fermented foods, they are a great source of nutrients and should be consumed, assuming they aren’t yogurts and drinks loaded with sugar. They do not however, replace an effective, gastric surviving, DNA verified probiotic.
Stay tuned next week of Myths #7 and #8!