What About Probiotics?

Should you supplement with probiotics for gut health? Here's what the research says.

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Our experts agree that probiotic supplementation can benefit your overall gut health in conjunction with eating a variety of probiotic-rich fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir. There are certain populations, though, that can particularly benefit from supplementation. In a 2009 study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers gave mothers and their infants, who were deemed to be at high risk for allergies, either a probiotic mixture or a placebo until the baby was six months old. When the researchers checked in with the subjects four and a half years later, those who were born via cesarean were the only group who benefited from the probiotic protocol – their risk factor for food, insect sting and some drug allergies, among others, was reduced. Other research has suggested that probiotic supplementation can help treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Dr. Kellman notes that probiotic supplementation can be very individual – certain probiotics help certain people, and for different reasons – so more study may be needed to determine which helps who, and for what reason.

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