There is a lot of mythology bandied around about probiotics – and one of the biggest misconceptions is that many are destroyed by the acid in our stomachs so they don’t reach the intestines to do their work. The assumption is that a good-quality probiotic needs a special coating to ensure its transition to the gut.
Research shows, however, that none of the 10 most researched probiotics worldwide use, or need, extras like enteric coating to survive stomach acidity (‘enteric’ meaning anything that relates to the gut). In the medical publications that publish clinical trial, in the materials and methods section where the design of the trial is described, there is rarely, if ever, any mention of fancy techniques like enteric coating. If enteric coating is not required for clinical trials, then it should not be a requirement for the probiotic supplements taken by consumers.
In addition, the 10 most researched strains of probiotics on the market are not enteric coated in the main markets in which they are sold across the world, an indication that ‘extra protection’ simply is not necessary.
What to look for in a probiotic:
Our advice is: instead of being distracted by the type of capsule or delivery mechanism of probiotics, concentrate on the quality of the strains – and make sure you choose strains that have been shown in research to survive to reach the gut alive. This can be demonstrated by two forms of research:
- In a laboratory the probiotic strains have been subjected to various levels of stomach acid (for example, pH2, 3 or 4) that simulate the conditions the probiotics will encounter in the stomach.
- The probiotics have been subjected to a clinical trial, where they are given to participants and proof is provided that the strains have survived the human digestive tract by measuring health benefits as well as analysing stool samples for the presence of the probiotic strains which were administered.
At the Natural Health Hub we provide a variety of excellent-quality probiotic strains that have undergone both types of testing to ensure that they do indeed reach the gut alive. For details of our Optibac range of probiotics click here.