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Is Yakult Your Best Choice?

Gut Health In A Bottle – Is Yakult Your Best Choice?

It is easy to fall into the trap of convincing marketing promising you good health if only you just drink this, or eat that product.

Probiotics, the helpful critters that support bacteria living in our guts, are getting a lot of press in recent times for the number of health benefits they bestow.

However, probiotic milk or yoghurt drinks such as Yakult are not the quick health fix you’ve been looking for.

We’ve all seen the ads telling us that one small container of yoghurt or milk is all we need on a daily basis to rid us of indigestion and flatten our bloated stomachs.

If only it was that easy!

 

What Is Actually In These Products?

A standard Yakult bottle contains 6.5 billion bacteria of the Lactobacillus Casei Shirota strain, named after the creator of Yakult, Dr. Shirota.

While this sounds like a lot of bacteria, it is less than half, or even quarter of the amount of bacteria usually found in practitioner-quality probiotic supplements.

 

The other ingredients:

Sugar (Sucrose and Dextrose) 

Refined forms of sugar that are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream causing blood sugar spikes.

Regular sugar consumption actually feeds bad bacteria in the gut and over time leads to insulin resistance, weight gain and a myriad of chronic diseases.

 

The amount of sugar added to Yakult, Original and ‘Light’ is so high, it is actually more than you would find in a can of Coca Cola per 100ml!

 

Skim Milk Powder 

A highly processed and nutrient deplete milk substitute, most likely made from low-quality dairy products.

Dairy has the potential to cause digestive inflammation and allergies, and is poorly tolerated by many of us, so this is not a smart or safe food choice for most people.

Flavours

Unspecified flavouring could mean anything from harmful chemical additives to naturally derived flavours. Do you want to take the risk?

Water

No problems with added water, but there are easier ways to get your daily water intake up without the added sugar and chemicals.

 

Also added to Yakult “Light” are:

Polydextrose

A synthetic substance used to replace sugar and increase the fibre content of foods. It may sound harmless, but don’t be fooled- putting an artificially manufactured fibre substitute into your food is unlikely to have the true health benefits of natural fibre found in fruits and vegies.

Sweetener 955 aka Sucralose

This artificial sweetener commonly known as Splenda, is far from a natural addition to Yakult. Sucralose is a synthetically made chemical, based on a glucose (sugar) molecule with added chlorine- yes, chlorine molecules to mutate it into a compound the human body is unable to recognise or process.

Apart from a range of disease promoting effects, recent research shows that in animals, ingestion of sucralose causes a 50% decrease in good gut bacteria, increased intestinal pH and actually contributes to an increase in body weight.

Seems counterproductive for a product claiming to enhance gut health doesn’t it?

Lets not forget the plastic bottles…

Well there’s hardly any debate about the harmful effects of plastic food packaging on our bodies, let alone the environment and planet.

Most cheaply produced plastics contain a number of toxic chemicals and compounds that can directly, and negatively influence gut health.

If you have not yet been informed about the dangers of plastic and other toxic compounds used in food packaging, read more here.

 

What The Ads Fail To Tell Us

There is a substantial amount of evidence to show that certain probiotic supplements are, in fact, extremely effective for improving digestive health, immune health, allergies and a range of other health conditions.

The problem is that most research does not apply to commercially produced food products such as Yakult. While all probiotics are considered safe and friendly in a broad sense, not all probiotics possess enough health benefits to be considered therapeutic.

Based on the limited amount of scientific research actually conducted on Yakult use in humans, you may be disappointed to find out the following information:

  • Over 6 bottles of a standard Yakult drink are required PER DAY to provide the amount of bacteria found to improve immune (Natural Killer Cell) function- that is over a third of a cup of sugar per day, just from Yakult!! Furthermore, health improvements only occurred in people with low immune function, indicating that individuals with healthy immune systems may not benefit from Yakult at all.
  • The majority of studies showing improvements in digestive health and bowel regularity from Yakult, are of very small scale (read: unreliable results) and financially supported by… surprise, surprise, Yakult!
  • The most recent research reviews and study results not sponsored by the manufacturer, have found conflicting evidence or insignificant effects from Yakult ingestion in comparison to Placebo products on immunomodulation and protection against colds or respiratory symptoms.

The Solution

It’s true that most, if not all of us, have some degree of bacterial imbalance in our digestive tracts due to high stress levels, toxin exposure, medication use and poor diets.

If you are suffering from poor digestive health, frequent infections, suffer from immune dysfunction or allergies, you will most certainly benefit from probiotics.

However drinking a tiny bottle of sugar-laden, low dose probiotic “milk” is not your answer.

The best way to get a therapeutic dose of probiotics without any synthetic additives or sugar is to take a supplement in the form of a powder or capsule. This way, you can also select the most suitable supplement for your individual health needs, containing scientifically trialled probiotic strains.

 

Probiotics for Immune and General Health

Emed has a range of potent Practitioner Only probiotic supplements that contain a wide range of bacteria strains to support all aspects of gut, immune and general health.

Our favourite products include UltraBiotic 45, a true one dose per day supplement, and UltraBiotic 500, a cost-effective and potent broad-spectrum probiotic.

 

Probiotics for Digestive Health and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Emed probiotics containing strains scientifically trialled to reduce indigestion, IBS and digestive inflammation include Prodophilus, UltraBiotic IBS and Probex.

 

Probiotics for Allergies

For people suffering from food allergies, atopic conditions such as eczema and asthma, or even sinusitis and hayfever, probiotics can significantly improve gut health to reduce allergy symptoms and hypersensitive immune reactions.

Research has also found that probiotic supplementation during pregnancy can reduce the risk of infants developing allergies so this is an important supplement for the mums-to-be out there!

Emed recommends Ultra Flora LGG and Ultra Flora Immune.

Of course, taking a supplement isn’t all you can do to improve the health of your digestive system. Many dietary and lifestyle factors also influence digestive function and wellbeing, so speak to your Emed Practitioner to find out the best way for you to improve your health today!

 

Further Reading:

 

References

Takeda, K. Okumura, K. 2007, Effects of a Fermented Milk Drink Containing Lactobacillus casei Strain Shirota on the Human NK-Cell Activity, The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 137, No. 3

Baken, K. et al. 2006, Evaluation of immunomodulation by Lactobacillus casei Shirota: Immune function, autoimmunity and gene expression, International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 112

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