Probiotic insiders—the scientists, manufacturers, the bloggers—can be so ensconced in all things squirmy and microscopic that we forget that the larger public may have other opinions about our little darlings.
Governments, of course, will be wary: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cracked down on health claims touting the benefits of probiotics in constipation. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) essentially gave most probiotic claims a ‘timeout’.
But consumers love them—probiotic foods as well as supplements– to the tune of tens of billions of dollar in sales and digit double growth yearly.
And prestigious health journals and newsletters are cautiously introducing them into the mainstream.
For example, Tufts Health& Nutrition Newsletter online recently published “Probiotics: Know What Works, What Doesn’t.”
In the article, Joel B. Mason, MD, professor of nutrition and medicine at Tufts says:
“There is good scientific evidence that probiotics can be beneficial in certain select situations, but probiotics are being promoted for everything under the sun. There are only a few scenarios where probiotics are proven effective; outside those benefits, everything else is very speculative.”
The article continues with specific examples of proper uses and studies backing them up. And then it ends with this disclaimer statement for its readers:
“Before joining the probiotics boom, in short, check with your healthcare provider.”
Now, we just have to hope those providers—doctors, nurses, dietitians—have the right answers. A clear message from us, rinsed of hyperbole–meaning hype– will be appreciated all around. Hope however is encouraged.