Growing interest in gut health has increased the demand and variety of probiotic products available in Australia. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity of probiotics, the ‘more is better’ mentality has started to catch on, leading to the impression that multi-strain probiotics are more effective than single strains.
Products advertising multiple probiotic strains in their product therefore imply impressive benefits, but this is not necessarily true. There are only a ‘handful’ of multi-strain probiotic products on the market that have been well researched. Simply putting together a mixture of various probiotic strains, without the scientific evidence to support the combination, does not guarantee a more beneficial product! Evidence to support the benefit of each individual strain is vital, additional to evidence that supports its efficacy when consumed as part of a multi-strain.
Far more studies have been done on the effectiveness of single strain probiotics, in favour of multi- strains, given that the health benefits of probiotics are strain specific. Therefore, any benefits from taking a single strain probiotic product can be linked directly to that strain.
Yakult is an example of a single strain probiotic containing only the Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain (LcS). This strain was purposefully selected given its ability to reach the intestines alive with the potential to contribute to human health. The LcS strain present in Yakult is now backed by over 85 years of research which highlights its safety and benefits throughout all life-stages.
The verdict: When asking if you should choose multi-strain or single strain probiotics, pick quality over quantity. Don’t be distracted by an impressive number of strains and instead, focus on the quality of evidence available. It is better to pick a probiotic that is backed by science over a multi-strain combination that is lacking in research.