Are Probiotics Worth the Money?
Last updated: March 2021
When I first went to the doctor for IBS almost 6 years ago, I received a laundry list of items to pick up at my local Whole Foods that should help me with my symptoms. My primary care doctor takes a natural approach to medicine, so I was all for it. Aloe Vera Juice, Lemon Balm for anxiety, Papaya Enzymes, Ginger Tablets, Fennel Seeds, Probiotic Supplements, and more. I finally get to the checkout, and was taken aback when my bill was almost $200! I brushed it off and sucked it up, with high hopes that all of these products combined should make me feel better. I was desperate! One of the highest priced ticket items on my prescription list was the 60+ Billion Probiotic Supplements she wrote down for me to purchase. I felt like I need a billion dollars just to afford this remedy! I went with the 80 Billion just for good measure, and at $50 for a 30-day supply, I had high hopes that this magic capsule would send my tummy woes packing.
Almost six years later, I have spent way more than $50 on Probiotics. I have tried different potencies, strains, brands, made sure it came from the refrigerator every time, and I can honestly say, I have never seen a difference in my gut health with probiotic supplements. At first, I thought it was just me. I would try it for a month, wouldn’t see a difference. I would get tired of paying for something that wasn’t working, and then would pick it back up later when I read something else that it may help my IBS. It wasn’t until recently that I read an article in the Women’s Health Magazine that made me realize, maybe it wasn’t just me. Maybe these capsules don’t really work as well as I thought they would.
Are Probiotics Little Miracle Workers?
Pro No! The article went on to say that Probiotics, the friendly flora that are supposed to balance gut bacteria and keep it healthy, may not scientifically back up the hype. Probiotics may just be more clever marketing than little miracle workers. The most popular strains that you will find, lactobacillus and bifodobacterium, aren’t the most powerful microbes out there, according to gastrointestinal microbiologist Jens Walter, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition, microbes, and gastrointestinal health at the University of Alberta. These two strains are added to products because they’re easy and cheap to produce, but even the ones that naturally occur in yogurt “are not real inhabitants of the human gut, so they can’t recolonize it in a meaningful way,” says Walter. Being an IBS sufferer, most of us can’t tolerate yogurt anyways, so, oh well! Researchers are currently looking into whether probiotics may positively affect the immune system or gut in other ways, but until then, we may want to keep that money in our wallet that we would be spending on probiotic supplements and probiotic products! Do probiotics work for your IBS symptoms?
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?