Susan from United States asks:
I’m 55 and curious about taking probiotics. Where should I start and what are the benefits?
Juliana Dewsnap, RD, LDN, CPT, Registered Dietitian: IN Nutrition6/3/2022 5:07:00 PM
Probiotics are living microorganisms (often called “good bacteria”) which when administered in adequate amounts may confer a health benefit to the host — AKA your gut. Live active cultures are also naturally found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi but they don’t necessarily provide the same benefits as probiotics. When it comes to choosing a probiotic, it’s important to understand why you’re taking them and what your options are.
Some of the most commonly studied and effective types of probiotics include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis. Probiotics are measured in “CFU,” or colony forming units, which can indicate the number of live organisms in each serving of a probiotic product. Dosages can vary between products, so try to look for a product that has a specialized strain that supports the benefit you are looking for.
Probiotics are most commonly used to promote levels of good bacteria in the gut and support healthy digestive balance. Those who experience occasional gas, bloating, and constipation may benefit from taking probiotics.* Additionally, probiotics may help support a healthy immune system and other benefits such as women’s health and heart health.* Keep in mind that it’s important to take them on a regular basis to maintain their effectiveness.
Juliana Dewsnap is a registered dietitian whose love for food and half-Italian, half-Chinese background kickstarted her career journey. Juliana enjoys hiking, camping, and traveling and is a certified personal trainer through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine).
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