In the world of health and nutrition, probiotics are widely regarded as ‘good’ microorganisms that do wonders for your digestive health. They’re taken by millions across the world to boost gut health, whether it’s in the form of Greek yogurt, buttermilk, kimchi or any other sources. But what effect do they really have on our health? Research conducted by scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science claims that they’re actually ‘quite useless’.
In their study, published in the journal Cell, the researchers made their own probiotic cocktail using 11 common good bacteria including strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria which was given to 25 healthy volunteers for a month. The participants were then sedated and samples were surgically taken from multiple places in the stomach and small and large intestines. Another study conducted by the same scientists analysed the effects of taking probiotics after finishing a course of antibiotics.
Brace yourself for some surprising nutritional information—in the first study, the researchers found that in half the cases, the good bacteria went in the mouth and straight out the other end. In the remaining half, they lingered briefly before being crowded out by existing microbes. Even more surprising were the results of the second study where the researchers noted a delay in healthy bacteria re-establishing themselves after probiotics were introduced into the equation!
The researchers believe that not everyone can benefit from consuming the same store-bought probiotics because not everyone responds to them the same. While some people accept probiotics in their gut, they just pass through others’ bodies. This varies from person to person, which is why the researchers propose tailoring probiotics of the future to the needs of individual patients rather than the one-type-serves-all approach.
Probiotics may have been ranking high on your nutrition food list, but it turns out they might not be living up to their healthy reputation!