Expert Urges Australians to be More Diligent When Purchasing Supplements
AUSTRALIA, 14 April 2016 – Almost one in three Australians (31%i) view themselves as health-conscious, spending an average of 15 hours a week on nutrition and exercise effortsii. Yet, when it comes to gut health, Aussies are taking far less care when selecting and storing supplements.
A new report by Ethical Nutrients (manufacturers of Inner Health Plus), Wellness Behaviours and Attitudes of Health-Conscious Australians reveals:
- 60 per cent prefer fresh over frozen or processed foodiii
- 68 per cent make the majority of their meals from scratchiv
- almost half of the population (45%) regularly visit farmers’ markets, fruit stalls or health food stores to buy fresh producev
- almost 70 per cent of all Australians consumed at least one vitamin, mineral or supplement in the past six months,vi
- 2.9 million Aussies have recently consumed a probiotic supplement to help to restore gut health balancevii
- 4 in 5 incorrectly believe bacteria count is an indicator of quality when it comes to probioticsviii
- 3 in 5 consumers don’t understand the importance of storage when it comes to probioticsix
Dr Kerryn Phelps AM, expert of integrative medicine said the findings show that while Australians are making careful and considered choices when it comes to food and exercise and the same diligence needs to be taken in probiotic purchase, storage, strength and strains.
“You could be trading off effectiveness for the sake of cost and convenience – or worse, throwing out the delicate balance in the gutx” said Professor Phelps.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) classifies many major population centres of Australia as a zone IV climate (frequently hot and humid) xi and delivery vans, stores and homes can often have high humidity and temperatures.
Professor Phelps explains that refrigeration is therefore the best choice for live and effective probiotics with care from the source (manufacture) through distribution to purchase.
“Many health-conscious Australians are unaware of the conditions in which these products are manufactured, transported and sold despite these environments having direct consequences for potency and live bacteria; the stability of a probiotic product relies on temperature across all stages. This is what the science saysxii.
“When it comes to purchasing a probiotic, think fridge first. Probiotic bacteria should be stored and purchased from the fridge to remain live, strong and effective. Heat and moisture can damage or kill bacteria, shortening their shelf life,” said Professor Phelps.
- Your gut contains 70% of the immune system, protecting against invading agents and absorbing nutrientsxiii.
- Probiotics are live organisms which can have a positive effect on the gut microbiome and your overall healthxiv.
- Probiotics can help to restore balance to this collection of micro-organisms if antibiotics, stress or other lifestyle factors have interferedxv.
Did You Know?
Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. Even short-term antibiotic use can change gut microbiota for up to four years! Taking probiotics during treatment can help replace the beneficial bacteria in your gutxvi.
Choosing a Probiotic
When choosing a probiotic, ensure strains are:
- highly researched
- manufactured by a trusted probiotic brand
- are at a strength that matches research
- have evidence that multiple strains work together ( or risk them cancelling each other out)
“Clinical research is the difference between promises and results. Only proven strains will deliver reliable results, so make sure you read the label – the strains should be printed on the label. For example genus (lactobacillus) species (acidophilus) strain (NCFM),” said Professor Phelps.
i Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.13, prepared March 2016.
ii Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, s, p.91 & p.95, prepared March 2016
iii Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians,, p.16, prepared March 2016.
iv Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.18, prepared March 2016.
v Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.16, prepared March 2016.
vi Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.97, prepared March 2016.
vii Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.48, prepared March 2016.
viii Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.48, prepared March 2016.
ix Maidstone Consulting, Wellness behaviours and attitudes of health-conscious Australians, p.48, prepared March 2016.
x Chapman C, Gibson G. Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains? Eur J Nutr 2011; 50: 1-17; Timmerman H et al, Clinical Nurtrion 2007; 26: 450-9; Chapman C, et al. Anerobe. 2012; 18: 405-13.
xi Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Government Department of Health. Australia Regulatory Guidelines for Prescription Medications (ARGM) [Online] 2014 [cited 2016 Feb 22]: Available from: http://www.tga.gov.au/book/142-general-guidance-stability-testing-chemically-derived-and-biological-medicine
xii Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in
Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria, October 2001 xiii Allergy and the gastrointestinal system, G Vighi, F Marcucci, L Sensi, G Di Cara, F Frati, Clin Exp Immunol. 2008 September; 153(Suppl 1): 3–6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.
xiv Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and World Health Organization. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on evaluation of health and nutritional properties of probiotics in food including powder milk with live lactic acid bacteria. Cordoba, Argentina: FAO/WHO, 2001.
xv D’Argenio, Salvatore. Clinica Chimica Acta. 2015. Volume 451, Part A, pp 97-102; Clarke SF et al. Gut. 2014 Dec, 63 (12): 1913-20.
xvi Jakobsson HE, et al, Short-term antibiotic treatment has differing long-term impacts on the human throat and gut microbiome. PLoS ONE 2010 Mar; 5(3): e9836.