It wasn’t until I had a client with sugar addiction, rock-bottom energy levels and continual weight gain that I had to dig deep and expand my expertise into what could help this young girl out.
The “client" was me. And the answer was probiotics! I was surprised because when I was in school to become a dietitian, I was taught nothing about probiotics … other than the fact that yogurt has some.
Now, after working with thousands of clients through our one-on-one virtual coaching program and formulating my own line of probiotics, I’ve come to learn that most people know very little—almost next to nothing—about probiotics.
The average Joe (or Jane) sees probiotics as something to take when you have intense digestive issues, or (rarely) something their doctor prescribes after a round of antibiotics. Most people believe that eating their daily cup of yogurt at the office is enough to keep their gut on track.
In order to get more consumers wise to the positive and proactive uses of (your) probiotics, here are the three most common myths consumers believe about them:
Myth #1: Probiotics are only necessary for people with digestive issues.
Consumers see probiotics as something that can cure a temporary issue or discomfort. Probiotics are commonly viewed as a natural way to fix problems that some people might turn to Pepto-Bismol to cure. But, as we know, probiotics do so much more than that. It’s up to us to educate consumers on probiotics’ role in increased energy levels, easier weight loss, better sleep, reduced sugar cravings, improved skin conditions and the many more benefits. There is so much good that probiotics can do; let’s not let commercials with Jamie Lee Curtis be the only thing that people know about probiotics.
Myth #2: I can just eat yogurt.
This is what I believed in dietitian school, and it’s what consumers are being told through TV ads, magazines, the media and of course, yogurt product labels (yogurt is the No. 1 food associated with probiotics).
We tell consumers that yogurt can be a source of probiotics; however, the problem is there are no regulatory standards for yogurt. Questionable strains could be in there. And no one knows how much or how little is really in each serving. Yogurt can be beneficial (so long as it’s not loaded with sugar), but taking a probiotic supplement is still critically important, even when eating a daily dose of yogurt. So, the message needs to be spread about the power of the pill.
Myth #3: Probiotics are all created equal.
This is not even close to being true, and yet, a lot of people don’t realize it. Probiotics can vary significantly in potency, efficacy and safety. Just like supplements in general, we need to tell consumers that it’s important to be selective of which probiotic they’re taking. Consumers need guidance on how to consider the type of probiotic (genus, species and the specific strain,) the number of colony forming units (CFUs) and whether they are clinically researched, and the potency guarantee. Potency at the time of manufacture and expiration is not the same thing—only products that guarantee potency at expiration assure reliable dosing from start to finish. That’s a lot of elements to consider, so it’s no wonder consumers are overwhelmed.
Because of all of this, it’s important that companies educate potential customers, as well as being transparent about their products. The goal is to help create smart consumers that are able to ask questions. Provide information on every single batch—that each is tested for quality, what sort of testing is done, and that there is documentation of this specific testing. In doing so, companies will have smarter and more loyal customers who will proselytize their products for a lifetime.
Consumers are confused. Probiotics are one of the most important supplements a person can take. Be the kind of company that educates your customers. Empower them to their healthier life, so that they can empower others to the same.
Dietitian Cassie Bjork is leading a nutrition revolution to debunk lies about food and nutrition, with coverage in virtually every major media outlet. As a registered, licensed dietitian; founder and CEO of the wellness company Healthy Simple Life®; and No. 1 international best-selling author; she has built a following of loyal fans by helping people with the root causes of their health issues—especially ones that health care practitioners often overlook. From major corporate events to personal client appointments, Bjork reveals the transformational power of real food and evidence-based nutrition to help people find freedom from diets and chronic health conditions.