Via fortyforks/iStock
Via fortyforks/iStock


Are the benefits of probiotics exaggerated?

The Atlantic’s Ed Yong is one of our most vivid and compelling science writers. Late last year, he came out with I Contain Multitudes, the best book I’ve read about the microbiome—the universe of living creatures we harbor within our bodies…

He also threw shade on claims made for probiotic supplements and fermented foods like yogurt as a boon for our biomes. While probiotics and yogurt do teem with microbes, he writes, they may not be “important members of the adult gut.” And although these tiny critters may be robust enough to survive the trip through our digestive tracts, they don’t seem to affect the composition of our biomes, he says, pointing to this 2011 study tracking how yogurt consumption affected the biomes of twins. The bacteria delivered by yogurt and supplements pass through our bodies “like a breeze that blows through two open windows,” he writes.

Read on at Mother Jones.

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