Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Answers on Probiotics

Julie Deardorff, the Chicago Tribune's health and fitness reporter, has an interesting column that, wonder of wonders, actually names names when it comes to product recomendations based on studies. Just a few excepts.

QUESTION: Which probiotic strain do I want?

ANSWER: "If you have a specific health concern, see if any products on the market have been specifically tested for that condition," said industry expert Mary Ellen Sanders, co-founder and executive director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. "For mild irritable bowel syndrome, I'd encourage Procter & Gamble's Align [probiotic supplement] since they have data with this population. Women with vaginal concerns I might direct toward FemDophilus, again since there is research on this," she said.

Q: What's the deal with yogurt?

A. All non-heat-treated yogurts do contain live active cultures, which include the bacteria used as starter cultures to make the yogurt [Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilis], Sanders said. "Yogurts may also contain added cultures, including probiotics. A wider range of health benefits have been documented for some of these added probiotic strains," Sanders said. But "many of the organisms in yogurt cannot survive in the acidic environment of the stomach," said Sri Komanduri, an assistant professor of medicine in gastroenterology and nutrition at Rush University Medical Center. Sanders also suspects many yogurts marketed as "probiotics" with added strains don't contain enough bacteria to be effective or haven't been studied.

Q: Are there non-dairy sources of probiotics?

A. Try naturally fermented pickles that don't contain vinegar; sauerkraut; the Korean condiment kimchi; soy yogurt; and miso. New products include probiotic-enriched fruit juices, teas and water, which are popular in Europe. Kashi's Vive is a probiotic-enriched cereal. Many supplements also claim "dairy free."

Q: What's the difference between live active cultures and probiotics?

A. Live cultures are often food-fermentation agents and haven't necessarily been tested for health benefits. Probiotics are live microbes that show a health benefit when consumed in high enough doses.

Q: What should the dose be?

A. It depends on the probiotic strain, what health effect you want to see and whether it has been studied. Most research shows doses greater than 1 billion have effects.

Q: What are the best brands to take?

A. The most researched brands include Culturelle, Florastor, Jarrow-dopilus, Fem dophilus, Theralac, VSL # 3, Activa, DanActive and Yakult, according to "The Probiotics Revolution."

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