Noted Probiotic Researcher Offers Tips to Find Best Available Product.

San Bruno, CA (PRWEB) September 16, 2008 — As probiotics are becoming more commonplace, the health claims are almost endless. But how much is real and how much is marketing hype?

A major probiotic yogurt’s claims came into question in a January 2008 proposed class action lawsuit that accused the manufacturer of false advertising to convince consumers to pay more for yogurt containing probiotic bacteria. The proposed suit said that studies failed to support the manufacturer’s health benefits claims. So does this mean that all probiotic claims can be suspect? How can you sort the "scientifically sound" from the "snake oil?"

Lynne V. McFarland, Ph.D., a University of Washington medicinal chemistry adjunct associate professor and epidemiologist, recently collaborated with colleagues including Gary Elmer, Ph.D., also a professor of medicinal chemistry at the University of Washington, to write a consumer-friendly guidebook called [The Power of Probiotics.] The book uses the experts’ combined decades of research and expertise to explain probiotics, their uses, their attributes and their fallacies, and also use sound scientifically proven research to demonstrate which claims are worthwhile, which are suspect and how a consumer can tell which is which.

To cut through the claims clutter, Dr. McFarland also suggests the following tips:

  • Match the type of probiotic to the type of health problem you’re experiencing.

  • Consider the source of the product. You can have more confidence buying from a store that has an in-store pharmacist that reviews products or from your local pharmacy
  • Make sure the label includes the types of micro-organisms in the products, how many live micro-organisms are in a daily dose an expiration date, and if it needs refrigeration or not.

  • Research whether or not there is evidence that the product works for the type of problem you are having.

Wondering where to find reliable research? Dr. McFarland suggests Web sites, such as [PubMed], a literature search engine run by the National Institute of Medicine. Enter the main ingredient in the probiotic product you’re interested in (such as [Saccharomyces boulardii]). You should see a listing of scientific, peer-reviewed articles. If the probiotic you’re researching doesn’t come up on this Web site, you may want to examine the claims more closely.

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