You’ve gut to be kidding.

As America cruises toward peak probiotic — oh look, another $4 can of soda on supermarket shelves! — one sensible expert is asking, are we going overboard in the quest to feed our good bacteria?

Dr Emily Leeming, scientist and dietitian, dropped the tummy time bomb in a recent edition of her Substack newsletter, Second Brain, pointing out to the microbiome-obsessed that something so humble as an apple, with 100 million microbes worth of probiotic power, can be just as effective as any high-priced product being marketed to death at your local Whole Foods.

For just a few cents, Leeming points out, you’re getting all the benefits — consumption of probiotic foods and supplements can improve everything from your mood to your skin tone, Vogue reported — but without breaking the bank.

“Apples contain fiber, and particularly a probiotic fiber called pectin, that feeds your ‘good’ gut bacteria,” said Dr Leeming, who has a book — Genius Gut: How to Eat For Your Second Brain — coming out this summer.

“It also contains plenty of polyphenols, which have a prebiotic effect on the gut microbiome,” she said.

Leeming also poured cold water on the concept that we all can benefit from taking probiotic supplements, a fairly popular view among nutrition-conscious eaters and experts.

Yes, some people should absolutely consider it — IBS sufferers, for example — but you “don’t need to take a probiotic supplement if you’re already well and just generally want to support your gut microbiome. What you eat has a far bigger impact,” Leeming said.

And if you do choose to take the supplements, be aware of the unregulated, “wild west” marketplace consumers are currently expected to make sense of without help from government agencies, Leeming warned.

Right now, she said, it’s common for manufacturers to make exorbitant claims, with no pressure to actually back them up. Some, she noted, can actually have the opposite effect, making matters worse.

“As an example, cognition may get worse rather than better, or the gut microbiome may recover slower after antibiotics,” the stomach savvy scientist said.

Or, you could also just eat an apple.

Unlike the probiotic craze, a diet rich in plants is never going to go out of style, and experts say it’s also really good for gut health, thanks to all the fiber and polyphenols you’re getting from things like grains and fruits.

Either way, there’s room for further research.

“We don’t yet know if organic fruit and vegetables contain more microbes than non-organic and if that makes a difference to the gut microbiome,” Leeming noted.

“But soil health likely plays a huge role in how microbe-rich the foods we eat are, particularly for fruit and veg that are grown close to or in the soil, like root vegetables — soil is particularly dense in microbes. One teaspoon of soil contains more microbes than people on the planet,” she pointed out.

2024 © Network Today. All Rights Reserved.