Probiotics and Prebiotics

There’s a lot of hype about probiotics – and consumer interest is outrunning their understanding of the evolving science.  Probiotics—and prebiotics—are a growing and swiftly-evolving product segment in Australia, with consumers keenly interested in finding out more.

A poster presented at the Choosing Wisely 2019 Annual Meeting earlier this year looked at the most-common queries Australians have about their complementary medicines—and which medicines they’re asking about.

Of the 42,000 calls received by the National Medicines Line service between January 2014 and December 2018, more than 2000 were about complementary medicines. Probiotics were the third-most asked-about items, with 8.4% of these calls pertaining to them (fish oil was first, and magnesium second).

And an April 2016 report by Ethical Nutrients found that 2.9 million Australians had recently consumed a probiotic supplement with the intention of restoring “gut health balance”. The report, which surveyed 1020 Australians aged 18 to 64 who viewed themselves as “health-conscious,” also found that three in five did not understand the importance of storage.

“There’s a huge level of interest in probiotics,” says Jacqui Hagidimitriou, a pharmacist at the award-winning Terry White Chemmart Samford and winner of the Bioceuticals Integrative Medicine Award. She is also currently pursuing a degree in nutrition.

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