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Probiotics Are Becoming Mainstream

Updated on January 21, 2009

Physicians begin to look at alternative options

For thousands of years, people have been making and consuming yogurt. The active bacteria are an integral component of the process, and until recently, the health benefits were not well publicized in the United States. However, thanks to the marketing efforts of Dannon, Activia cleverly tapped into the consumer market, which is now flooded with probiotic supplements.

Consumers have been quick to attach themselves to the marketing efforts. Unfortunately, not all probiotics are created equal, and a variety of consumer products are now including the word “probiotic” on product labels in an effort to drive sales. Quality will be discussed in length in a separate hub in the near future, but suffice to say the most potent probiotics are refrigerated in a capsule form.

The future of probiotics is strong. Although the acceptance of probiotics in mainstream medicine has been slow, leaving probiotics within the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) category, research studies are paving the way. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune (1/21/2009) indicates physicians are now turning to various CAM strategies for the treatment of patients. Gastroenterologists and primary care physicians are seeing patients experience significant GI relief.

In my personal experience, I have spoken with physicians who referred probiotics as a last resort for patients. Years of medication and dietary revisions fell short, but within weeks those same physician’s patients are suddenly experiencing relief with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease.

Probiotics are not a miracle drug. Their ability to improve GI function and increase overall immunity is grounded in science. Rest assured though, you can expect science to have some exciting breakthroughs this year in the field of probiotics.

Stay tuned for more hubs about the probiotic industry!

About the Author: Lawrence J. Hoberman is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He currently focuses his practice in Texas on health and wellness with an emphasis on preventive medicine. For more information about the doctor, visit www.EndoMune.com.

Microflora, good bacteria, may improve digestive function.
Microflora, good bacteria, may improve digestive function.

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