Are probiotic drinks really healthy? By Kaye Langit-Luistro
Loaded with live lactobacilli, probiotic drinks are claimed to aid digestion, thus keeping upset tummies at bay. Studies also show probiotics balance out the presence of bad bacteria in the intestines and churn out antibodies in return.
Though established reports are still unavailable at this time, Edgardo M. Bondoc, MD, a gastroenterologist and director of the Institute of Digestive Diseases at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, admits that probiotics are especially helpful to those who have bacterial overgrowth, diarrhea, received a course of antibiotics, and even inflammation of the colon.
Still, what puzzles even the most ardent of probiotic drinkers is this: how much should you consume daily? For preventive purposes, studies show that a reasonable dose would be 4 billion organisms everyday. This translates to half a container, considering the fact that most drinks have approximately 8 billion lactobacilli per 80 ml canister. But for therapeutic purposes-fighting an intestinal infection or coping with an illness- you can take between 5 and 10 billion organisms, two to three drinks a day.
But Dr. Bondoc says you do not need to follow this guideline to the letter. The fact remains that probiotics are not miracle cures to everything that ails you.
These products hardly have any side effects as long as you do not overindulge. Simply remember to keep probiotic drinks refrigerated between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius to keep friendly organism alive. “Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimum results,” Dr. Bondoc advises.
Get the Lactobacillus Fix was first published on Prevention Magazine Philippines in 2002. For more articles on childcare and parenting, please go to this link.