Gut health has become a significant trend in 2019 as we look for ways to feel good and look our best. Have you noticed as the grocery store how often you see the word “probiotics” on a label? It is becoming a very trendy word to market the gut health benefits of a given product. From foods to supplements, probiotics are taking the lead in the health world. As we are inundated with information, the question we ask ourselves is: What’s the best way to get probiotics? Are food products or capsuled supplements better for me?
First, what are probiotics?
Your gut makes up the inner ecosystem that we refer to as the human microbiome. In the microbiome, living microorganisms are housed to protect the host (in this case, you) and confer beneficial bacteria called probiotics! In times when our digestive system is compromised from auto immune conditions, candida or yeast over growth, probiotics are the protectors of the gut. They prevent the human body from infection, help rid toxins or free radicals from attacking the immune system and aid in digesting foods so we can absorb nutrients appropriately. There are two ways to reap these probiotic benefits: fermented foods and supplements. Well, which one is better?
The use of fermented foods
The use of fermented foods can be traced back to the time of Hippocrates. Interestingly, Hippocrates used yogurt for its medicinal purposes to prescribe to patients suffering from diarrhea and other intestinal disorders. Yogurt was the very first fermented food product to be used for probiotic use. Other fermented products you might be familiar with are kefir, kombucha, tempeh, and miso. However, the development of probiotic enriched foods have offered consumers like us a wide range of probiotic options found in ice-cream, cheese, chocolate, and cereals. Fermented foods may be preferred over supplements for their nutritional properties such as pH, buffering capacity, and fat content which offers protection to probiotics passing through our highly acidic microbiome. Fermented dairy products such as cheese and milk also offers a high lactose content which promotes probiotic growth within our gut.
The use of probiotic supplements
Probiotic supplements are also found in the market as the form of capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids in measured doses. With probiotic supplements, it is important to note several factors; formulation, production, and storage. For example, increased tablet compression during the production process decrease bacterial viability. In other words, probiotic survival decreases and may even damage their cell structure affecting the effectiveness of the probiotic. However, if the probiotics survive production and storage, then it is able to transfer a high amount of viable probiotics without considerable losses. Encapsulated probiotics undergo less stressful conditions than free cells in fermented foods. Therefore, they may be preferred by some consumers when a therapeutic amount of probiotics are required.
What is the verdict?
Well, that depends on your preference. While probiotic supplements are easier to ingest and favor those who are pickier with their food, fermented foods offer more variation than supplements. For overall use, fermented food products have higher viability standards and are superior to supplements. Supplements can be utilized for specific therapeutic purposes if necessary. In any case, we agree that probiotics confer numerous health benefits that enhance our gut flora and reverse the effects of inflammatory stressors.
Discover the powder of probiotic food supplements
Kashaya Probiotic is a specialized food supplement made from organic coconut milk, containing 13 diverse strains of bacteria and fermented for a 24-hour period. As we continue to hear the buzz on gut health, Kashaya is paving the way for probiotic foods of the new age to replenish the beneficial bacteria that resides in the gut microbiome.
1.) Neda Mollakhalili, Meybodi, et al. “Probiotic Supplements and Food Products: Comparison for Different Targets.” Applied Food Biotechnology, Vol 4, Iss 3, Pp 123-132 (2017), no. 3, 2017, p. 123. EBSCOhost, doi:10.22037/afb.v4i3.16420.
2.) Homayoni Rad, Aziz, et al. “The Comparison of Food and Supplement as Probiotic Delivery Vehicles.” Critical Reviews in Food Science & Nutrition, vol. 56, no. 6, May 2016, pp. 896-909. EBSCOhost, ezproxy.fiu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=114677096&site=eds-live.