KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The probiotic supplement industry is huge as people look to improve their health – gut health is a focus of the conversation.

Gastroenterologist Dr. Johnny Altawil, diagnoses and treats disorders of the stomach and intestines. He says the topic of gut health has exploded over the past few years.

“Probiotics is the hottest topic in our profession right now. There has been research on this for a few decades now. Probiotics are what we like to call the friendly bacteria, the good bacteria, and they are good. They help fight some infections and are good for gut health,” says Altawil.

“And probiotics are everywhere. They find their way into our bodies on their own. They get to our bodies through diet but there are also some formulas that we can get probiotics from, which are now extremely commercially available, and it’s everywhere.”

The global probiotics market was valued at over $58 billion in 2021 according to Grandview Research. Before you stock up on the supplement you think you need, there are things to consider. 

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“Probiotics are considered as food additives, so they don’t have to go through the United States Food and Drug Administration approval… So we’re buying things we hope it’s what it is.”

Dr. Altawil stresses if you want to add probiotics to your diet go for the kind found in a healthy color-rich diet.

“Yogurt has a lot of probiotics, and low-fat yogurt, even though it may not give you all the benefit that we desire, but it’s healthy. It has a good source of protein and if you’re not lactose intolerant, then you should be able to tolerate it.”

But overall if you are a healthy person, with no real gut issues don’t stress over adding the OTC additive to your diet. 

“I would not take them. I don’t think there’s really solid evidence. We know that the probiotics help but taking the pill may not help. You’re going to get it through the diet. So, I would focus on a diverse diet, healthy diet, and then getting probiotics from the diet.”

Dr. Altawil emphasized how important taking fiber is for gut health. For women about 25 to 30 grams a day and for men at least 38 grams a day.