Probiotics: Truth and Fiction

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Health magazine recently asked me to take an in-depth look at the increasing number of products being sold with a "probiotic" claim. As readers of Good Germs, Bad Germs know, the benefits of probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, are highly strain specific. That is, the so-called "good" bacteria in cultured foods and supplements vary widely in their effects--even between two strains, or "subspecies," of a given bug such as the familiar Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Research into several dozen products and probiotic strains produced a "best bets" list of those backed by bona fide science including clinical trials showing tangible benefits in people (not just lab animals). 

The story and a chart of products and their known benefits are in this month's issue. 

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