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Ask Tufts Experts January 2017 Issue

Q. Probiotic supplements with an enteric coating claim to be better. Does that mean probiotics in yogurt and kefir do not make it to the intestine?

A. Robert M. Russell, MD, emeritus professor at Tufts' Friedman School, and emeritus professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, replies: "While it is true that an enteric coating would protect the probiotic from acid killing in the digestive tract, if the probiotic is part of a food matrix such as yogurt, the buffering capacity of the yogurt or kefir would also act as an effective protector against stomach acid. It has been shown in many studies that probiotics in yogurt can survive the passage through the stomach and can be recovered not only from the small intestine but also from the colon."

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