Here’s the Deal With Probiotics and Why You Should Take Them
If you’ve ever seen an Activia yogurt commercial, you’ve probably heard of probiotics. While doctors and nutritionists alike rave about their benefits, Jamie Lee Curtis doesn’t quite answer all of our questions on the topic. Post 30-second yogurt ad, we’ve found ourselves staring at the screen, thinking, “Do we need to take probiotics as a supplement if they’re in our food? Should we only take the fancy refrigerated ones, or are the regular ones in capsule form okay?” And the list goes on. To find out the answers to all of these questions and more, we decided to tap a group of experts who really know their probiotics.
What are probiotics exactly?
Let’s start with the basics. We chatted with Kiran Krishnan, a research microbiologist who co-founded Nu Science Trading, a producer of probiotic supplements. He filled us in, sharing that probiotics are live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. If you need help translating that into English, Krishnan is here to help. He explained that probiotics are friendly bacteria that can affect one or more systems in the body in a beneficial way. “These benefits can be for short-term problems like a cold, flu and diarrhea or long-term issues like autoimmune disease, allergies and asthma.” So basically, probiotics are good bacteria that do good things for your body, not the kind of bacteria that makes you sick. Pretty simple, right?
Why should you take them?
Craig Koniver, MD, tackled this next question for us. He’s the founder of FastVitaminIV and seriously knows his stuff. He told us, “People are mostly familiar with probiotics for digestive issues like IBS, viral infections, constipation and diarrhea. While adding supplemental probiotics can greatly help with all of those issues, they can also benefit people who need to boost their immune system, those who are chronically fatigued and even those looking to improve their mood.” He added, “The gut contains at least 80 percent of the immune system’s particles, and probiotics are the single greatest way to boost the immune system.” The scientific research on probiotics right now is most convincing when it comes to their uses for digestive and immune-boosting purposes, but Koniver notes that in the near future, “There will be more and more research completed that shows how probiotics are beneficial in heart disease prevention and cancer prevention as well.”
How do you take them?
According to Gregory Leyer, PhD and CSO at UAS Labs, where UP4 Probiotics are made, you can get your probiotics by sipping on some kefir or munching on yogurt and certain cheeses. Even if you regularly consume dairy, Leyer says that a probiotic supplement can mean more healthy bacteria per serving, so it’s good to take one regardless. As for which type of supplement you should go for (there are many different strains to choose from), Leyer explains that the best ones may still be TBD. “Research is still identifying the best type, so it’s hard to pinpoint, but my recommendation would be to seek out products with strains that have been clinically studied and documented.” Basically, it’s best to do your research before you pick your probiotic.
Krishnan also notes that it’s important to choose a probiotic that is shown to stand up to the tough acids that are in your digestive organs, as some of them are not quite strong enough to survive the journey to where they’ll be most helpful in your body. He advised us that, “A good quality probiotic supplement should call out clearly on their packaging or website that they have third-party laboratory testing to prove that their product survives past the stomach acid.” Another thing you should know about probiotics? They’re safe for pretty much anyone, except those with compromised immune systems due to illness or treatment for a serious illness. The main risk is getting an upset stomach, which Koniver notes you can avoid by starting out with a dose of 25 billion CFUs (the units used to measure probiotics), and working your way up from there.
As for refrigerated supplements versus the ones you see on store shelves? Not all experts agree on this, but Krishnan says that while many people perceive that the refrigerated ones are better, that’s not necessarily the case. “Those probiotics are kept in the fridge because the strains cannot survive being held at room temperature. Imagine what will happen to them in the body, as the body is 98 degrees.” He certainly has a point there.
Here’s the bottom line.
Based on what we know right now, it seems that a probiotic supplement is an awesome idea for anyone hoping to boost their immune system or deal with any digestive problems in a safe and natural way. While there’s definitely more research to come on the full benefits of probiotics, it certainly seems like something your tummy and bod will appreciate.
Do you take probiotics on the reg? Tell us why @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com