Probiotics have emerged as a more than one-billion-dollar-a-year industry in the U.S. alone, yet most Americans still donÂ™t know much about them, according to a recent survey.
The national survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for Ganeden Biotech, found that 85 percent of Americans know little to nothing about probiotics, with just 15 percent of respondents saying they were somewhat or very familiar with them. Two-thirds of respondents had never heard the term probiotics, even though Americans spent more than $1 billion on products containing probiotics over the past 12 months.
Just this year, the World Gastroenterology Organization included taking probiotics as one of 10 key recommendations to improving digestive health Â“ further boosting the need to educate consumers about this often misunderstood area of health. Nearly half of all Americans report that uncomfortable digestive problems affect their day-to-day lives, according to a recent survey by the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition.
Many people may not understand that probiotics are more than something you find just in yogurt, said Dr. Michael F. Roizen, New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of RealAge. Taking probiotics is a habit that can really benefit the digestive system, which is intricately connected to our overall health; yet most Americans are still unfamiliar with them and the good they can do.
Dr. Roizen recommends reviewing the following probiotics basics as a first step for consumers looking to become better informed:
What are probiotics?
As defined by the World Health Organization, probiotics are live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. In other words, probiotics are good or beneficial bacteria that can provide health benefits to users.
How do probiotics work?
More than 90% of all the cells in our body are not our own but rather good bacteria living in our digestive tract and playing important roles in both digestion and immunity. Levels of these friendly bacteria can be reduced with factors such as age, stress, diet, and bad bacteria that we may encounter. Probiotics help support the naturally-occurring good bacteria in the digestive system, helping with maintaining good digestive function and also with digestive disorders.
Who can benefit from probiotics?
The estimated 70 million Americans suffering from common digestive disorders and symptoms, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), lactose intolerance, gas and CrohnÂ™s disease, as well as anyone interested in improving their digestive and overall health.
Are all probiotics the same?
No. Different probiotics contain different strains of bacteria, some of which provide different benefits than others. Survivability of probiotics is very important, and probiotic strains can differ in ability to better survive through manufacturing, on the store shelf and through the harsh stomach environment.
Where are probiotics found?
There are many different types of products that contain probiotics, from probiotic capsules, such as the Digestive AdvantageÂ® brand of products designed for specific digestive disorders, SustenexTM, a probiotic capsule meant to be taken daily like a daily vitamin, to probiotic-enhanced foods, including yogurts and, more recently, cheeses, milks and baked goods.
As part of an ongoing commitment to help educate consumers about probiotics and digestive health, Ganeden Biotech, the largest seller of over-the-counter probiotics supplements in the U.S., is launching a series of four Gut Reactions podcasts focused on particular digestive health issues and probiotics, hosted by Dr. Roizen. The podcasts will provide educational information on a variety of digestive health issues and the role probiotics can play in helping to manage symptoms of digestive disorders.
About Ganeden Biotech
Founded in 1996, Ganeden Biotech Inc. is based in Cleveland, Ohio, and is the largest seller of over-the-counter probiotics in the U.S. through its Digestive AdvantageÂ® and SustenexTM brands. It also licenses its patented probiotic bacteria, Ganeden BC30, for use in commercial food and beverage applications as well as in medical foods and over-the-counter dietary supplements. Ganeden BC30 was found to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by an independent panel assembled to assess its safety in use as a food ingredient. Digestive AdvantageÂ® and SustenexTM are available at over 40,000 retailers nationwide including WalgreenÂ™s, Wal-Mart, CVS/pharmacy, Rite-Aid, Albertsons, K-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, and online at Amazon.com, Drugstore.com, and DoctorVicks.com. For more information, visit www.digestiveadvantage.com or www.sustenex.com.
Linhart Public Relations for Ganeden Biotech Inc.
Jennifer Tilliss, 303-951-2566