Why Your Daily Probiotic Could be Doing More Harm Than Good
We know that having healthy bacteria or microbiota (aka the 10 to 100 trillion microorganisms in our bodies, mostly in our gut) is key to good health. We click on articles in our Facebook feeds that recommend increasing our intake of fermented foods and popping probiotic supplements to improve the balance of "good bacteria". We try to skip on sugar. We even incorporate the stuff into our skincare. Our intentions are good, but according to Life&Style this one-size-fits-all approach may not be effective or even good for us. Say what?
Since researchers are still trying to understand what actually defines healthy microbiota (it differs from person to person), seeking out specific strains via supplements may not be a particularly good idea. Why? Co-author of a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Dr Michelle Ball explains: "We now know that a good balance of bacteria for one person may not be good for the next person, so taking a probiotic without knowing what your individual system looks like may actually do more harm than good."
If you share a bottle of supplements with your SO, you'll be interested to know the study found that the same balance of certain bacteria could have hugely different effects between men and women. For instance, high levels of Streptococcus bacteria in the gut related to more symptoms in men with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but less for women. "This and other results with Lactobacillus bacteria show that caution is needed when using probiotics as, in some cases, it could do more harm than good," says co-author Amy Wallis. Eek, there's that line again.
Our advice: To truly know whether a particular supplement is benefiting you or not, seek a professional assessment of your gut bacteria. If you prefer to get your probiotics topically, we've never met a person Eminence's Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturiser ($102) didn't agree with.
Click over to Life&Style to read the rest of the article and tell us, do you take a probiotic supplement? Sound off below.