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What are Live Cultures?

What are they?

‘Live cultures’ or ‘active cultures’ refer to the microorganisms found in foods such as yoghurt that may be beneficial for human health.  The term ‘live cultures’ is currently interchangeable with ‘probiotics’ but due to recent European legislation (the Nutrition & Health Claims regulation states that the word ‘probiotics’ is a health claim which should only be used in particular circumstances after 2012) there has been a tendency to move towards the term ‘live cultures’ to describe these microorganisms.  Examples of live cultures include Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus bulgaricus

What are they not?

Are live cultures always bacterial?

No. It is also possible to have active cultures of beneficial yeasts, for example Saccharomyces boulardii.

Are they the same thing as dairy or yoghurt?

Not quite.  Yoghurts will always contain live cultures (to different extents, according to various factors including pasteurisation, whether or not live cultures have been added for nutritional value, and so on), and interestingly, it is the live bacterial cultures which help to convert milk into yoghurt.   However live cultures can also be found in other foods such as sauerkraut, and they may be extracted from dairy and cultivated and multiplied to make a live cultures (more commonly referred to as 'probiotic') supplement. 

Does OptiBac Probiotics do live cultures?

Yes. All of our products contain various types of live or active cultures.  For more information, browse our product pages or read about us


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