Natural hormone balance

How to choose a probiotic supplement

 

Probiotics are the good bacteria in your body that are highly concentrated in your gut. I wrote an article the other day about fermented foods that are natural probiotics. I was asked “Is taking a supplement just as good? What is the best one to take?” I do believe that adding probiotic foods to your diet is the optimal way to improve and sustain your digestive health. I do understand that there are situations in which this does not work well for everyone. You may simply not like the taste of fermented foods. If you don’t like the taste of something you are unlikely to force yourself to keep consuming it. Some people travel a lot for work or for pleasure. This puts them in a situation where they are eating out more than they are eating at home. Food allergies can also be an issue. If any of those situations apply to you, a supplement may be the better choice. Today I will be discussing how to choose a probiotic supplement.

Number of CFU s

CFU is the abbreviation for colony forming unit. This is the number of live active bacteria that are found in each serving of the probiotic you are taking. Most physicians and natural health advisers recommend taking 1-20 billion CFUs daily.
Here is a general guide by age:

  • infant-12 months 1-2 billion CFU
  • toddler 1-2 years old 2-4 billion CFU
  • child from 2-4 years old 4-8 billion CFU
  • child from 4-10 years old 8-12 billion CFU
  • adolescent 12-16 years old 12-15 billion CFU
  • adult 15-20 CFU

If you have a compromised digestive tract or immune system it may help to increase the number of CFUs until the problem is resolved. A product with a CFU higher than 50 billion CFSs is not beneficial. It just elevates the price .

Number of strains

One of the most important criteria in choosing a probiotic is the number of different strains that are present in the product. Different strains of bacteria will have different benefits. A supplement containing multiple strains of bacteria are more likely to be beneficial than a supplement containing 1or 2 strains. Multiple strains will offer benefits specific to each strain and improve the ability of bacteria to colonize.
These 3 strains should always present in your probiotic supplement:

  • L. acidophilus—This is a strain of the Lactobacillus. It supports nutrient absorption and helps with the digestion of dairy.
  • B. longumThis is one of the most common bacteria found in the digestive tracts of adults, and it helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall. It also helps to get rid of toxins.
  • B. bifidum—Is found in both the small and large intestine. It is needed for the digestion of dairy products. It also breaks down complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein into small components that the body can use more efficiently.

Rotating brands of probiotic supplements every month is beneficial to exposing your gut to different types of bacteria

 

 

 

Packaging

The way a manufacturer packages and delivers probiotic supplements is very important. Live bacteria can die when exposed to the wrong environment. It also has to be an able reach the areas in your gut where it will be effective. Time release capsules are preferred.

The packaging needs to ensure that bacteria will be kept alive. With new technology probiotics don’t necessarily have to be refrigerated to meet this requirement. The microorganisms do need to be protected from moisture, light and heat. Do not buy supplements that are in clear bottles. Store your probiotics in a cool dry place. Do not leave them sitting on a counter top exposed to sunlight.

Expiration date

Do not buy a supplement without an expiration date on the product. Quality brands will list an expiration date on their product. You would think that this would be mandatory but its not. The supplement industry does not require manufactures to supply this information. Without it there is no way to determine how old the product is or if the bacteria are still alive. Make sure the label says CFU potency guaranteed through expiration date. Do not buy a probiotic if the label says CFU potency guaranteed at time of at time of manufacture, this means all the bacteria could be dead by the time you consume it. A supplement that contains dead bacteria is a waste of money.

 

Other things to look for

  • Look for a brand that has not been genetically modified with corn or soy, It will be listed as non GMO on the label.
  • Choose a brand that is  soy and gluten free. This decreases the chance of contamination from other substances.
  • This is optional, but a probiotic that is combined with a prebiotic fiber can be beneficial. Bacteria in your gut use prebiotic fiber as food to multiply and flourish.

Conclusion

Probiotics are beneficial for everyone and essential to a healthy digestive and immune system. Always read the label to determine which brand is best for you based on Strain and CFU count. Be aware of packaging and storage of your supplement to ensure you are receiving live beneficial bacteria.

 

 

Have any questions?

Comment below and I will be happy to answer them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Barb says:

    Thanks so much for this wonderful and informative article on how to choose a probiotic supplement.

    I have been taking probiotics for several years now and never really understood what the label meant. I’m finding it difficult though determining the right dosage. I’ve gone as high as 50 billion and as low as 10 billion with no success. What do you recommend?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Barb, What symptoms are you trying to treat? It sounds like the probiotics you are taking may not contain the correct strain for your symptoms. Have you tried adding fermented foods to your diet instead of taking a supplement? Drinking Kefir everyday would be a good one to start out with.

  2. Aaron says:

    Hi, Cool article. 😀 I was wondering if probiotic supplements are something for me. But I never used them since I got so super confused about all the options out there. So thank you for explaining me briefly what I have to look for 🙂 I would give you a thump up If you would have any on your page. 🙂

    1. admin says:

      Hi Aaron,

      Probiotics are definitely beneficial for everyone. I am glad that you found this article helpful and hope that you will be able to find one that works well for you.

  3. asmithxu says:

    This is extremely helpful. I’ve been interested in probiotics for a while but I have been on the fence about it because I wasn’t sure how to tell if a product would be effective. Now I have a great set of guidelines for choosing a product.

    It is interesting that you shouldn’t choose a supplement with dairy, since probiotic yogurts, by their very nature, have dairy in them. In your opinion, are supplements a better investment than probiotic yogurts?

    1. admin says:

      Overall I think that probiotic foods are a better investment than supplements.With yogurt it is more tricky. You really need to read labels when choosing yogurt. Some manufactures add corn syrup and other undesirable things to their yogurt besides active bacteria. Another thing to take into consideration is that. probiotic yogurts usually only contain 1 to 2 strains of bacteria. Supplements contain several strains. There are pros and cons to both. I like yogurt, but when it comes to probiotics Kefir will give you more bang for your buck.

  4. Michael Miller says:

    I really liked your breakdown of what different probiotic strands do for the body. I also like how you mentioned alternating probiotics so that a variety of beneficial bacteria is introduced. I have a lot of food allergies and am currently following a paleo diet. I haven’t had much success with probiotics or digestive enzymes in tje past and was wondering if there is a specific brand that would work well specifically with a paleo diet?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Michael,

      To determine if a probiotic is friendly the best thig to look for is the inactive ingredients.For example, a probiotic containing cornstarch would not be Paleo friendly.One brand that is Paleo friendly is Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Probiotic

  5. Hightek says:

    I only take рrоbіоtісѕ occasionally, when mу stomach gets out оf whасk (acidic) fоr ѕеvеrаl dауѕ іn a row. Mу еxреrіеnсе іѕ thаt thе рrоbіоtісѕ that I uѕе hеlр to rееѕtаblіѕh my ѕtоmасh’ѕ еԛuіlіbrіum, аnd thе еffесt іѕ рrеttу immediate. I take thеm for оnе оr twо days аnd I’m good tо gо. Thіѕ іѕ соmіng frоm ѕоmеоnе that іѕ ѕkерtісаl оf mоѕt “mіrасlе сurеѕ”. Probiotics wоrk for mе.

    1. admin says:

      Hi,Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with probiotics.

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