OptiBac Probiotics has created a new online educational tool that it says could help clear up the many misunderstandings around probiotics.
The non-commercial project – OptiBac stresses that the strains detailed are not limited to those used in its own probiotics range – aims to classify probiotics, document the best researched strains and show which strains are well researched for specific conditions.
“In the more than a decade since we started this company, we’ve seen so many misconceptions and myths when it comes to probiotics,” explains Soraya Janmohamed, co-founder, OptiBac Probiotics. “Most commonly, we see people talking about probiotics at a species level instead of at a strain level, and making generalizations about probiotics doing x, y, z, when actually different strains have been shown to help in different ways.
“With the database we’re hoping to really support education around probiotics, with a tool showing which strains are researched for which health conditions. Whether those strains are available in our range or a competitor’s! It’s about helping retailers recommend better, and consumers choose better for themselves too.”
Joanna Scott Lutyens, nutritional therapist at OptiBac Probiotics, says: “My brief was to document the best researched probiotic strains out there – and not to just promote those in our own products. That’s pretty radical stuff, but a delight to hear, as a nutritional therapist with a passion for health – of course I was keen to be able to explore the best researched probiotics out there and as far as possible, to present an impartial overview of them. Now I’m looking forward to seeing this database grow as we continue to add well researched strains. ”
The database is laid it out in the style of a family tree, so people can easily see where each strain fits in terms of the species and genus it belongs to. Lutyens says she hopes this also helps to demonstrate which probiotic names refer to strains, and which refer to species “as time and time again we hear people refer to acidophilus as if it were a strain for example, whereas it is a species of probiotic”.
The database can be seen here.