In recent years, the medical community has witnessed increased interest in the area of brain health, with heightened research efforts directed at uncovering the complexities of neurological disorders and methods of prevention. Correspondingly, the U.S. dietary supplement market has experienced tremendous growth, accounting for more than $40 billion in retail sales of over 85,000 different supplement products in 2018. Now a multi-billion-dollar industry, the brain health supplement market doubled its sales between 2006 and 2015 and continues its upward trajectory both globally and within the United States.
Today, there is a widely held notion of the universal “healthy” diet: with collective benefits applicable across all individuals. The U.S. federal dietary guidelines have aimed to establish blueprints for proper nutrition, which in theory should apply to all and lead to the same or at least similar results. However, increasing amounts of forthcoming research implicate the one-size-fits-all approach as fundamentally flawed due to its omission of a multitude of vital personal factors including biomarkers, metabolic capabilities, and genetic predispositions.
With many probiotic products on the market and a rising trend in consumption, an increasing number of people are taking probiotic supplements for their purported positive effects. These tangible health benefits have been contested by the medical community, as there is not enough human-based clinical data to support their efficacy in the treatment of a variety of conditions. Making strong recommendations to patients is difficult at this stage due to the lack of research, however, probiotics are viewed as generally well-tolerated and considered safe. Upcoming guidelines from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) hope to elucidate the issues related to probiotic supplementation and will be the first clinical recommendations to clarify specific indications for probiotics.