We’re talking about a hot topic today: probiotic supplements. On the show, my guest, Anthony Thomas, Ph.D., shares the true definition of a probiotic, discusses why taking the right probiotic supplement may be good for your health, and explains what to look for on supplement labels to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.
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“Diversity, when referring to gut bacteria in adults, generally indicates good health.”
~Anthony Thomas, Ph.D.
Antony Thomas, Ph.D. is the Director of Scientific Affairs at Jarrow Formulas. I met him back in January at a conference where he gave an eye-opening lecture on probiotic supplements and the importance of knowing about the strains you’re taking. It turns out that not all probiotics are created equal. The key to choosing the right supplement for you or a family member is to look for probiotic strains that been studied for a specific health benefit.
We covered a lot of ground on the podcast, so I decided to split the Probiotic Supplements episode into two parts. In Part 1, Dr. Thomas offers a primer on probiotics. In Part 2, he answers YOUR questions … and trust me, you had a lot of questions!
Health benefits of well documented probiotic strains. (Slide: Courtesy Jarrow Formulas)
(Slide courtesy, Jarrow Formulas.)
For years, I’ve been taking a probiotic supplement to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in my body and to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs). When I met Anthony at the conference and found out he was with Jarrow Formulas (the makers of the Women’s Fem Dophilus supplement I had been taking), I was eager to share my healthy success story with him. Of course, Anthony just wanted to tell me all about the two well-studied probiotic strains in my supplement, and on the show, you’ll hear about them too!
Anthony Thomas says, “A properly labeled probiotic should list the genus, species, and strain for every probiotic organism in the product, as well as the minimum number of live cells or colony forming units (CFUs) per serving when used prior to the “Best Used Before Date” and stored as recommended.”
The manufacturer should also list their contact information on the label. (Slide courtesy, Jarrow Formulas.)
- A brief discussion about dietary supplements that have been studies for healthy aging and longevity.
- The “microbiome” and “microbiota” … what they are and what they mean.
- Where microbial communities live in and on our bodies and their many health benefits.
- How certain probiotic supplements can help some women ward off urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- The intricacies of the vaginal microbiota. Less diversity is better.
- A probiotic is defined by the World Health Organization as: Live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.
- Probiotics are strain, dose, and condition specific.
- Good Examples:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (marketed to support digestive health and supported by science)
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 (marketed to support women’s vaginal and urinary tract health and supported by science)
- When evaluating a probiotic supplement, make sure the manufacturer identifies the Genus, Species, and Strain. If a probiotic, for example, is listed as Lactobacillus (which is the genus) and rhamnosus (which is the species), that’s simply not enough. You need to know the specific STRAIN, which is generally designated with a combination of letters and numbers after the genus and species.
- Do your own research! It’s easy. Here are two ways to learn more about probiotics before you buy them:
- When you see a probiotic strain listed on a label, you can search the published scientific research by going to Pubmed and typing in the name of that specific strain. For example, if you go to Pubmed and search for Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, which is found in Jarrow’s fem dophilus, nearly 100 published studies come up.
- You can go to the Clinical Guide to Probiotics for information on brands, specific strains, recommended dosage, indication, and references for the studies that back up each health indication.
- The widespread misuse of the term “probiotics.”
- What happens when you swallow a probiotic? How does it get to where it needs to be?
- How a probiotic supplement may help to keep kids healthy.
- How a properly-labeled probiotic should have company contact information listed.
- Why we should limit exposure to antibiotics and antimicrobials.
My email: [email protected]
- The Parents On Demand Network
International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics
Clinical Guide to Probiotics – You’ll find information on brands, specific strains, recommended dosage, indication, and references for the studies to back up each health indication.
Clinical Guide to probiotics for women’s health
Jarrow on Facebook
Jarrow on Twitter
Jarrow on Instagram
Have a question about the show or a suggestion for a future show? Ask away by posting a comment below or joining my Podcast Posse.
This was a great episode. Jarrow was the brand of probiotics I found years ago when had frequent sinus infections.
Kathleen Jones says
I was taking live, cold kept probiotics for a while, but I live in a small town and the only store that carried the product no longer carries them. I’m glad you did this podcast; I needed to learn the what, where, and why of probiotics. I have battled UTI’s as well as sinus infections for a long time and I’m looking for the answers. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction.
You are most welcome. I think you will really learn a lot in Part 2!
I know I should be taking probiotics, but I never remember to take them.
I’d love to win probiotics from Jarrow!
This episode was so informative. Thank you so much for this opportunity to win. I would love to try these probiotics so see if they help with my mother in laws digestive issues.
Karen Hieb says
My husband and I make and drink kefir on a daily basis. I also eat yogurt regularly. We’d love to win the giveaway. Hearing what you and your guest said makes me wonder if friends and relatives who struggled with UTIs years ago might have been helped with a good probiotic supplement like the one that you took.
I love the analogy of the basketball players to demonstrate why better probiotics are better than simply more probiotics. I would love to win the giveaway–your story of how probiotics helped with UTIs makes me curious about using probiotics to help with vaginal yeast infections my girls and I deal with frequently.
Check out their Women’s formulation. Four strains that have been studied for BV. Thanks for stopping by. I think you’ll find both podcasts )parts 1 and 2) very informative.
I would love to win these! I love Jarrow and used femdolphilus during my recent pregnancy. I have A newborn and 2 year old twins that would benefit from a probiotic as well.
Thank you so much for this podcast! Found out some very valuable indignation. I currently give my 7 year old son a probiotic as he has ADHD and have heard it can help with mental function. But it is not a Jarrow formula one. This will be so helpful to figure out which would be best for him! Thank you
I’m curious which probiotic you’re giving him. Which strain? So interesting!
RITA FRICKEL says
I used some probiotics last year when I was placed on an antibiotic.
I am going to be travelling out of the US for the first time in April and would live to win the Jarrow probiotics to start before our trip.
Jane Traub says
I use a probiotic daily…I don’t use a specific strain but as I am now over 50, perhaps I should. I would love to try one that is for women.
I take a daily probiotic for IBS symptom management!
I currently bottle my own kombucha and drink that along with Kefir and eating plain greek yogurt to get the probiotics that I need. I am looking forward to listening to hear if this is enough. I take these things to keep my belly healthy and to keep UTI’s away.
Thanks for the opportunity!
I’m in my 50’s, and have always taken good care of myself: nutritionally, and physically. However, I find my healthy diet isn’t cutting it as far as my health. I am excited to give probiotics a try. I am also thinking of my parents, both in there 90’s, who are experiencing rotating diarrhea and ute’s. I am wondering if a probiotic might help.
I have my mom on a probiotic for gut/immunity right now b/c she’s taking an antibiotic. But I also plan to send her the Jarrow fem dophilus for UTI prevention.
Krystal Watson says
I started taking a probiotic a few months ago because my digestive function is just erratic. They aren’t cheap so winning some would be great!
i’ve never tried them before. I’d like to try them since I’m having issues.
Kelly Sullivan says
I do take a probiotic to help my gut be in a more happy place but I’m not sure it’s the best one for me. Would love to give these a try!
Adrienne Freeman says
I started researching probiotics when my preschooler had to be kept home at least 3 separate times this winter for stomach viruses/vomiting – I’m interested in finding the right products for me and my family for overall wellness and prevention – thanks!!
Three times. Yikes. Sounds like a kid’s formula that helps with immunity would be a good fit.
My husband and I both take probiotics. We have been purchasing Hyperbiotics Pro-15. I’d love to try this brand!
My husband and I have taken some probiotics occasionally, but mostly we’ve tried to eat yogurt and kimchi regularly. However, I think my family would benefit from a daily supplement. Thanks for the chance to win Jarrow’s products!
I give my children a vitamin with probiotics for overall health, immunity and wellness, I take one again for overall health, weight management and mental health. It’s great to hear some research info and applications from this podcast though! I have heard that Jarrow is a good brand, but have never tried, I may have to switch it up after this episode though. Thank you!
Chris, I’m so happy to hear you found the podcast so helpful!
Thank you for offering such an informative and important subject. I have been taking a probiotic that was studied and shown to reduce seasonal rhinitis symptoms. It has definitely helped.
Interesting to learn what should be listed on the label when purchasing probiotics..
Had not heard of Jarrow until today but would love to try their products.
Which strain are you taking for seasonal rhinitis? So curious! I need to share the news w/ my son, who has seasonal allergies.
Jessica serra says
I loved this episode because it really gave me some good information about probiotics that I never knew. I am very interested I. Providing these to me family since you episode you had on fermentation. My husband suffers from bowl issues and I know this could positively impact his heath. If we win this I’d. E able to really start our family of five in s better path to a heathy gut!
Michelle H. says
I take probiotics for gut health. I also eat fermented foods for this reason. I will be listening to this Podcast. Great topic – Thank you!!
You are most welcome. Enjoy!
Jenny Burns says
I was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, and have been thinking I should try a probiotic and along came your email! I’d love to try the Jarrow brand!
A probiotic supplement for Crohn’s would be something important to discuss with your healthcare team. I’m curious what they think and I’d love to hear what you end up trying. Wishing you the best of health…
We’ve used the allergen free product mostly but would love to try others!!
Is part 2 still coming or did I scroll past it!?
PART 2 goes live this Wednesday. You did not miss it 🙂