With the vigorous development of biotechnology and the medical industry, people in the country are increasingly health-conscious. While the concept of healthcare is prevalent today, the public lacks a comprehensive understanding of nutrition. They often follow trends and purchase a lot of health products they don’t need. Some even buy the right products but use them incorrectly, leading to ineffective health outcomes.
Furthermore, the market is flooded with a wide range of products, making it important to choose the right ones and use them correctly. One well-known and essential health product is ‘probiotics.’ However, there are often misconceptions about selecting and consuming probiotics. Here are five ‘misconceptions’ to clarify.
How to Take Probiotics? How Many Colony Counts Are Needed for Noticeable Health Benefits?
The gastrointestinal tract has a fixed capacity, and it can’t accommodate an excessive amount of probiotics. It’s like having only 100 seats for 200 people. Even harmless water can lead to ‘water intoxication’ if consumed in excess. Therefore, blindly pursuing a high total colony count is not the right approach. The number and type of probiotic strains matter more than quantity! It’s better to eat smart than to eat more.
When is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?
Many people wonder, what’s the best and most effective time to take probiotics? In reality, it’s important to understand the relationship between food and stomach acidity. However, let’s start with the conclusion! The best time to take probiotics is typically within one hour after a meal. However, if the strains are specially designed to be acid and alkaline resistant, the timing becomes less critical.
This recommended time is scientifically based. In the image below, the brown line represents the total amount of food in the stomach, the red line represents the acidity in the stomach, and the green line represents the secretion of stomach acid. The dotted line on the right indicates the timeline after eating.
In a fasting state, the hydrogen ion concentration in the stomach (red line) is quite high. After eating for one hour, the components in the food (brown line) neutralize the hydrogen ions, resulting in a significant decrease in hydrogen ion concentration (red line). After 1-3 hours after a meal, stomach acid (green line) starts to be secreted again, causing the hydrogen ion concentration (red line) to rise once more. Therefore, the best time to consume probiotics is typically within one hour after a meal when the hydrogen ion concentration drops, and stomach acid has not started to be secreted again.
Are the Benefits of All Probiotics the Same?
In society, there are various people playing different roles, and probiotics are no different. Some strains are specifically designed for gastrointestinal health, while others are for immune regulation. Therefore, taking different strains will yield different health benefits. Select a product that suits your needs based on your body’s condition, so you don’t spend money without achieving the desired effect.
Read more: 9 Recommended Brands and Comparisons of Probiotics for Intimate and Urinary Tract Health
Do Probiotics Have to Be Live Cultures to Be Effective?
Currently, some scholars believe that even dead cultures, if they have specific intact surface glycan structures, still possess immune-regulating capabilities under normal circumstances. However, compared to dead cultures, live cultures can stay in the body for a longer time, produce some metabolic byproducts, help maintain gut function, and are thus a preferred choice.
Can You Get Probiotics from Many Foods, So There’s No Need for Supplements?
While it’s possible to get probiotics from everyday foods like yogurt, cheese, miso, kimchi, and red yeast rice, unless you consume them frequently and in large quantities, it’s challenging to reach the desired health effects in terms of the quantity and strains of probiotics.
Is It Better to Choose Single-Ingredient or Multi-Ingredient Probiotic Products?
We all know that if we want our cars to run, we need to refuel or recharge. However, while we often remember to supplement with probiotics, we frequently forget to supply the essential ‘prebiotics’ required by probiotics (also known as prebiotics). Prebiotics come in many forms, and their definition is ‘substances that are not digested by the host but can be selectively utilized by the microbiota associated with the host, promoting the health of the host.’ In other words, although the human body doesn’t digest them, they can be used by the body’s probiotics for growth, thus maintaining human health. These substances are known as prebiotics.
Prebiotics can promote the growth of probiotics. Each person has their own food preferences, and probiotics are the same—different strains prefer different prebiotics. When selecting commercial products, you can choose probiotics that are already formulated with prebiotics, allowing probiotics to have their own lunchbox and a more stable place in the digestive system.