A pilot study performed by university researchers in Seattle illuminated something extraordinary. (You can find the entire journal article here: http://www.ispub.com/ostia/index.php?xmlFilePath=journals/ijam/vol1n2/lacto.xml.) In the study, researchers examined 20 different brands of probiotic supplements from Seattle area stores to analyze reliability and safety. Supplements were cultured for viability, and then isolated microorganisms were identified by genus and species using DNA analysis. All findings were compared to stated claims on the respective supplement bottles from which samples were sourced. The unwelcome surprise was: only ONE product out of 20 tested contained isolated organisms identical to what was listed on the bottle. Worse than that, 20% of the samples produced no growth at all when cultured, and 30% of them contained contaminant bacteria- some from potentially harmful organisms. Though this was a small pilot, it illuminated a few very real concerns for consumers across the U.S. where these common products are distributed: #1: The cultures listed on a bottle of probiotics may not actually be in the bottle. Since many people are referred to take probiotics to help correct specific health concerns based upon positive research for particular culture strains, this renders many products questionable or useless. #2: The cultures listed on the bottle might be present, but there is often no guarantee that they are viable or potent. Again, this renders a product useless. This correlated most highly with the non-refrigerated products. #3: The product may contain bacteria which can be harmful to human health. This is the most concerning of all- because not only is the product a waste of money, it may be harmful to one’s health. This pilot study is a reminder of the importance of considering the safety of all health supplements, and especially of probiotics. This is a class of dietary aids which boasts much in the way of supportive studies and data reflecting its use and benefit to many common ills in the U.S. population. However, since our government does not classify them as pharmaceutical substances, their manufacturers are not held to the same standards of testing and product assurance when bringing these products to market. As I mentioned in my last 2 blog entries, this is why it is important to look for probiotic manufacturers who use auditing agencies, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia, to ensure that products meet rigorous standards to be considered certified by the International Drug GMP. This ensures that what you see listed on the bottle is what you get, in every batch. Anything less is playing Russian roulette with your health.
Articles reprinted from http://www.amazines.com/Fitness/article_detail.cfm/3286606?articleid=3286606