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Frequently asked questions - Dietary supplements

What are probiotics?

Probiotic literally means 'for life'. Probiotics are living micro-organisms that, when ingested or applied locally in sufficient numbers, benefit the health of the consumer. Once in our intestines, these natural and friendly bacteria help balance our gut microflora and support our immune system.

How often should I consume probiotics?

Probiotics are only ‘visitors’ in your intestine and will disappear, together with their health benefits, when not consumed regularly. A daily dose of probiotics is recommended in order to maintain a healthy intestinal environment.

Are probiotics suitable for babies and young children?

Probiotics can be consumed at all ages as part of a balanced diet. Before birth, a baby’s gut is sterile and the immune system immature. The gut microflora of a baby begins to develop at birth. Breast-feeding, or consumption of an infant formula with probiotics, continues the development of a baby’s gut microflora. As a child grows and changes diet, the microflora in the gut develops accordingly. By the age of two or three, most children have a fairly stable intestinal balance. Their immune system has also matured considerably. Both, may nevertheless, benefit from a continued daily portion of probiotics.

Is it possible to overdose with probiotics?

No! In fact, it is far more likely that desired health benefits may not be achieved due to inadequate daily doses of probiotics. Today, many delivery formats are now available which offer convenient and tasty ways of delivering a healthy helping of probiotics as part of a daily routine to ensure proper dosage.

How long will it take before I notice that my health has improved from taking probiotics?

Health benefits from taking probiotics can achieved in many areas, such as immune, gut, vaginal and respiratory functions. Since everyone is different, along with the stages of their health, the time at which benefits are noticed will vary within a population. Generally speaking, if our immune system is weak or compromised, we many notice improvements within just a few days. If our health is already good, we may choose to take probiotics for preventive reasons, and may not notice immediate benefits. Either way, probiotic consumption will help balance your gut microflora, boost your immune system and support respiratory health.

Should I consume probiotics when I am on antibiotics?

Probiotics should be taken during and for 1-2 weeks post antibiotic therapy to fully restore the gut microflora and minimize the opportunity for antibiotic-related side effects.

Ask about Danisco's HOWARU® Restore, scientifically formulated for restoration of a healthy intestinal balance during and after antibiotic therapy.

Is it safe for me to take probiotics if I am pregnant?

During pregnancy, mothers-to-be often have digestive problems. Consuming probiotics regularly is a safe and effective measure that may help to prevent small digestive disorders and promote overall wellness. Furthermore, immunity benefits can be achieved as well for both mother and baby by consuming Danisco's HOWARU® Rhamnosus.

What is the recommended daily dose of probiotics?

Studies have observed beneficial health effects from a dose of 1 - 40 billion bacteria /day, depending on the selected probiotic, probiotic blend and desired clinical outcome. To get the adequate daily dose, you should follow the recommended daily serving stated on the dietary supplement packaging.

How do probiotics help control diarrhea?

Pathogens produce toxins that can result in diarrhea. Probiotics simply interfere with the growth of pathogens, thereby curtailing the toxins. Probiotics correct any imbalance of intestinal flora, improving regularity and consistency of stools.

How do probiotics work to improve vaginitis and yeast?

Production of trace amounts of lactic acid by the probiotics causes a drop in pH within the vaginal tract. A lower pH is considered normal for a healthy vaginal tract. Competitive exclusion crowds out or inhibits growth of the yeast and harmful bacteria that causes vaginitis.

Danisco’s beneficial cultures resume the delicate balance required for comfort and health in a woman’s body.

Can travelers benefit from probiotics?

Travelers, especially to third world countries, are sometimes exposed to bacteria and pathogens that cause diarrhea. Benefits can accrue by taking probiotics 3 to 5 days before departure, during the trip and for two weeks upon returning home.

Is refrigeration absolutely necessary for probiotic storage and does it stay effective out of refrigeration?

Refrigeration is recommended whenever possible to maintain full potency of the probiotics over time. However, each one of Danisco’s strains is scientifically screened and studied for its own shelf-stable properties (please request strain specific data from Danisco). Some strains are stable (effective) for up to 24 months at room temperature when sealed in the original package.

Are there any side effects to taking probiotics?

Less than 1% of test groups report any side affects. Of those that may report any side effect, such is usually limited to excess gas, and the problem is remedied when the user discontinues use for a few weeks and then resumes taking probiotics as a lesser dose (50% of recommended dose).

Are probiotics medically approved (FDA etc.)?

Probiotics are considered to be “GRAS” or “generally accepted as safe”. This classification is given to products that are composed of ingredients that are natural or have been safely used for many years.

What is supernatant and what's its role in the manufacturing process of probiotic cultures?

Supernatent is the spent fermentation medium (i.e. the liquid fermentation broth after culture fermentation is complete). The supernatent contains water, original fermentation nutrients which were either unutilized or underutilized by the culture during fermentation and fermentation by-products.

Why is concentration used in the manufacture of probiotics?

Concentration of cells is done to separate water, unutilized fermentation nutrients and cellular waste products from probiotic cells. There are various means to achieve concentration, centrifugation and/or microfiltration being the most common.

Several decades ago concentration methodology was less sophisticated and potentially injurious to cells by exposing them to shear force and air incorporation during centrifugation. Nowadays concentration technology is significantly advanced. Process technologies now allow for mild concentration of probiotics. Air incorporation and shear force are minimized and we do not observe cell injury during concentration.

Concentration is also done for application, economic and efficacious reasons. Applications - by removing the supernatent, the resulting powder is much less hygroscopic and more amenable to a variety of dietary supplement and finished product applications. Economics - Currently probiotics are concentrated in a two-fold process. In the first stage the majority of water is removed via gentle concentration based upon centrifugation or microfiltration. This is a very low cost and effective means to remove water. In the second stage the remaining small amount of water is removed from the probiotic cells via the expensive process of freeze drying. Without the first stage of concentration the cost to produce probiotics would jump significantly due to an extraordinary increase in freeze drying cycle times. Efficacy - In many clinical studies an efficacious level of probiotics, as measured in CFUs/gram, could not be achieved without supernatent removal. So, in a vast majority of cases, concentration is a requirement to achieve an effective probiotic dose.

Find out more

Read more about our probiotics or contact us for more information.