Do Probiotic Products Live Up to Their Promises?


You’ve probably heard the term “probiotics” thrown around in your doctor’s office or grocery store, especially regarding some staple foods in your kitchen, including yogurt, kefir, and kimchi. You might’ve also caught wind that probiotics are living microorganisms (including common bacterial strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium as well as yeast), but not the scary kind that make you sick. It’s the opposite: Probiotics support proper body function by stimulating the immune system, promoting digestion, inhibiting growth of potentially harmful bacteria that lead to infections, and producing key nutrients, such as B vitamins and folate. That’s not all: Probiotics have also shown to alleviate diarrhea and constipation, decrease the duration of colds, aid weight loss, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

While researchers have proven over the last two decades through 6000+ studies (60 percent of which were published in the last five years) that these invisible-to-the-naked-eye organisms are good for your health, it’s still unclear which probiotics to consume to reap the most rewards. Though fermented foods are nothing new—they’ve been around for more than 7,000 years, starting with fermented fruits, milk (aka kefir), meats, pickled vegetables, bread, beer, and wine —which are the best is still a mystery. What’s more confusing is that shelves are being stocked with more probiotics…

What do you think?