The human digestive system is home to trillions of microorganisms.
As you may know, some of these microorganisms are good and have a mutually beneficial relationship with us, while others are bad and can harm us. There are a couple of ways you can get probiotics. One is through food and drink; the other is through supplements.
So when it comes to probiotics vs yogurt, which one is better? That’s what we take a look at in this article.
Why Are Probiotics in Yogurt?
Making yogurt requires fermentation and probiotics are used in the fermentation process. The most common probiotics used in the fermentation process of yogurt are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which each have a variety of sub-strains and health benefits.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting Probiotics from Yogurt
Yogurt is not only a great source of probiotics but also healthy and nutritious overall.
Healthy, high-quality yogurts can be rich in calcium, vitamins and protein. Yogurt is good for teeth and bone health. Yogurt is also a great source of protein, especially for people on a vegetarian diet. One study found that it may even protect against type 2 diabetes.
Yogurt has the potential to pass on to you all the health benefits that probiotics have to offer — whatever the benefits of the probiotics that were used in the fermentation of the yogurt at least.
Some of the health benefits of probiotics include:
- Prevention and reduction of diarrhea (1) (2) (3)
- Probiotics may strengthen your immune system (4)
- Probiotics may help you lose weight (5)
- Probiotics help to restore a healthy balance of the microbiome (the collection of all the microorganisms in the digestive system) (6)
- Probiotics may improve your mental health (7) (8)
- Probiotics may improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol, raising good cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure (9) (10) (11)
- Probiotics may improve allergies such as dairy allergies and eczema (12) (13) (14)
- Probiotics may help if you have a digestive disorder (15) (16)
It’s great that you can get health benefits from the probiotics that come in yogurt. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages of relying on just yogurt for probiotics.
Yogurt Contains Less Probiotics than Supplements
In general, most servings of yogurt are going to contain a lot less probiotics than the majority of probiotic supplements on the market. With yogurt, you can reliably expect to get somewhere in the millions of probiotic cultures. While that may sound like a lot, an effective dose of probiotics is more likely to be in the billions.
Yogurt Has Less Probiotic Diversity than Probiotic Supplements
Yogurt is great for getting bifidobacterium or lactobacillus probiotic strains into your diet. Both of these probiotics have great health benefits, but probiotic supplements have a much wider range of probiotic strains.
Yogurt Can Have a Lot of Sugar
Another issue with yogurt is that many brands add sugar to their product. While that may make it taste good, it’s unhealthy and can lead to weight gain. If you want your yogurt to actually be healthy, look for products that have no added sugar.
Probiotics need to make it to the intestines for you to be able to enjoy their health benefits. That means they need to survive the journey through the stomach and its acid, which kills probiotics if they come in contact with each other.
High-quality probiotic supplements have an almost guaranteed delivery method: enteric-coated capsules. Enteric-coated capsules protect probiotics until they get to the intestines, where the capsules are digested and the probiotics are released.
Yogurt Is High in Histamine
Some people are sensitive to histamine. Fermented dairy products like yogurt and cheese have higher concentrations of histamine. Side effects of histamine intolerance include: headaches, congestion, indigestion, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, and more.
Advantages of Getting Probiotics From Supplements
1) Probiotic Supplements Give You A Higher Volume of Probiotics
With yogurt, it may be difficult to get enough probiotics for them to be effective. You’re also coupling the low dose of probiotics with a delivery method that may not deliver them effectively either.
Where probiotic supplements shine is that they usually have a much higher potency of probiotics than any probiotic food can offer. So you get a high enough dosage to be effective while also accounting for the fact that a portion of them are going to die along the journey.
2) Probiotics in Supplements Have a Higher Chance of Survival
High quality probiotic supplements are usually delivered through enteric-coated capsules. Enteric coated capsules are extremely effective in transporting probiotics through the digestive system all the way to the intestines. This allows them to survive past the stomach acid and arrive safely in the intestines to be released, which is where they need to reach in order to be effective.
3) You Get More Probiotic Diversity from Probiotic Supplements
With probiotic yogurt, the most you can really expect is a couple of bifidobacterium and/or lactobacillus strains. But with probiotic supplements, you can get a very wide range of probiotic strains in a single capsule.
This can make a big difference because many probiotic strains have a unique health benefit or set of benefits that you might not be able to get from other strains. So the more probiotic strains you consume, the more potential health benefits you’ll get.
4) You Can Choose the Probiotic Strains You Need With Supplements
You may find that you benefit a lot from a certain probiotic strain. Or if you’ve done some research into probiotic strains and their health benefits, you may find that there’s a strain out there that's known for improving health in a certain way that you would really get a lot out of. In these cases, you can easily find a probiotic supplement containing that strain.
Disadvantages of Getting Probiotics from Supplements
There aren’t a whole lot of disadvantages of getting your probiotics from supplements other than them containing more probiotics than feels comfortable for your body and getting an upset stomach from the delivery method of the supplement. You may find that you get an upset stomach from taking certain types of pills.
Some probiotic supplement manufacturers also include binders and fillers that can be harmful so be mindful when choosing a product.
What to Look for When Buying a Probiotic Supplement
When shopping for a high quality probiotic supplement, here are some things to look for:
- Manufactured in a cGMP facility
- Manufactured in the USA
- Free of binders, fillers, and dyes
- Has a wide range of probiotic strains
- Is potent enough to be effective (20 billion CFU+)
Our probiotic product, BlueBiotics Ultimate Care, meets all of these criteria and more. You can find it here.
Please note: This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Probiotics Vs Yogurt: Is One Better than The Other?
In our opinion: yes! Probiotic supplements are the clear winner. With probiotics, you get a wider range of probiotic strains, higher potency, and better deliverability if the product uses enteric-coated capsules.
But you don't have to rely on just one — there's no problem with taking probiotic supplements and eating yogurt!