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Presence of Beneficial Bacteria in Probiotic Drinks Mere Tall Claims

United Kingdom: Many of the probotic health drinks are not keeping up to the standards displayed on their labels, say a team of microbiologists//. While established brands keep up their acclaimed standards, nearly 25 products which are advertised and marketed through the online medium seem to be taking customers for a ride, as they do not contain the requisite amount of beneficial bacteria mentioned on their labels. Consumers are advised to resort to brands that contain lactobacilli or bifidobacterium-at least 10 million bacteria per bottle.

Beneficial bacteria are normally found in the gut in adults but the stock runs out due to poor nutrition, stress and other external influences. People resort to probiotic items to balance this deficiency of beneficial bacteria.

Prof Gibson, who led the research, said, "Half the products on sale don't contain the bacteria they say on the label. As a rule of thumb, you can trust the big manufacturers. Their quality control is very good. It would be disastrous for Nestlé, Danone or Yakult to have these other organisms in their products. On the other hand, there are a lot of manufacturers - many of which sell products on the web - who are unheard of and these are the ones to worry about. Half of the products you can buy have got the wrong bacteria in them, the wrong amount, or are completely sterile. There's no legislation to protect you against this at present."

The professor also warned against potentially harmful organism called clostridia that is present in a product called Acidophilus, which incites spores that are defiant to the effects of antibiotics. Products that are safe for consumption include Activia, Immunitas, Digestivas, Yakult, Actimel, Vitality and the tablet Multibionta.


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