Health Advice



On Nutrition: A primer on probiotics

Barbara Intermill, Monterey Herald on

Published in Nutrition

My grandkids are already back in school.

“What did you like the most?” I asked after their first day.

“Recess and lunch,” they answered in unison.

So I changed my question: “Tell me one thing you learned today.”

Perhaps that’s something we should all ask ourselves, especially in the ever-changing field of nutrition. So today, class, we’re going to take a pop quiz on probiotics — a topic that may or may not be familiar. Take your best guess.

1. Probiotics are:

A. Professional robots

B. Friendly bugs in your body that do you good

C. Beneficial bacteria that mostly live in your lower intestines.

D. B and C

2. The right balance of good bacteria in our bodies may ...

A. Help us jump tall buildings

B. Fight off certain diseases

C. Make us less susceptible to certain allergies

D. B and C

3. In order to be effective, probiotics must be:

A. Living

B. Dead

C. Taken at the right dose

D. A and C

4. What’s the best way to get probiotics?

A. In food

B. In supplements

C. Both food and supplements are effective

D. Via sunlight

5. Which of these foods are not good sources of probiotics?

A. Kefir, yogurt, cultured buttermilk

B. Pecorino, cheddar and mozzarella cheese

C. Sauerkraut, vinegar and sourdough bread

D. None of the above; all contain probiotics

6. Probiotics help keep you well because they ...

A. Fight off bad bacteria

B. Make you get out of bed to exercise

C. Help your body absorb nutrients

D. A and C

7. Since probiotics are living organisms, their growth is stimulated by

A. Ham and eggs

B. Prebiotics


C. This is all very confusing

D. None of the above

8. Prebiotics are

A. Food that feeds probiotics

B. Found in foods high in dietary fiber

C. One reason why we need fruits and vegetables

D. All of these are correct

9. Probiotics found to be useful for certain types of allergies are

A. Lactobaccilus

B. Bifobacterium

C. A and B

D. Lactosneezy

10. These probiotics have been found to help prevent diarrhea associated with antibiotic therapy:

A. Lactobacillus GG

B. Saccharomyces boulardiic

C. A and B

D. Is this test almost over?

11. Which of these statements is true?

A. Probiotics are safe for most healthy people

B. Probiotics may not be safe for severely ill people

C. It’s important to talk to your health care provider before taking probiotics

D. All of these are correct

12. True or false: We still have a lot to learn about probiotics.



1. D

2. D

3. D

4. C

5. D

6. D

7. B

8. D

9. C

10. C

11. Very true

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