With a plethora of options to choose from, it’s hard to choose the right probiotic supplements.
Here are some tips that will help guide you to select the best probiotic supplement for you.
Colony Forming Units (CFUs)
CFUs, or Colony Forming Units, are the measuring unit of probiotics. This number must be clearly displayed on the probiotics bottle. A probiotic should be in the range of 3-50 billion CFUs to best suit your digestive system.
A lower range would be sufficient as a maintenance product. The higher potencies are recommended for specific instances, including the following:
Stress and Traveling: Most of our immune cells live in our gut, so it is imperative to reinforce them during times that might prove crucial for our immunity, like while traveling or going through a stressful situation.
Older Age: As we age, our microbiomes lose probiotics much faster, particularly Bifidobacteria, which is found in the large intestine. A reduction in its amount may cause digestive problems. For such cases, a high potency probiotic that has high concentrations of Bifidobacteria is recommended.
Diet: An unhealthy diet loaded with processed foods is also responsible for depleting our natural probiotics. Including probiotics supplements can help a great deal in offsetting this damage although changing your diet to whole foods can alone improve your gut bacteria.
Compromised Digestive System: If you have a problematic digestive system or have had a course of antibiotics, probiotic intake may help restore some balance.
Products above 50 billion CFUs really don’t provide any added benefit, so don’t be fooled into thinking more is better.
Look for a supplement that is free of chemicals, fillers and ingredients that could upset your gastrointestinal tract instead of aiding it. Choose a probiotic that has listed all the potential irritants that it does NOT include (like gluten and dairy for example) to be sure of the good quality of the supplement.
Shelf Stability and Guaranteed Potency
It is imperative to get what you pay for. It is important to be sure that if the manufacturer says they put 50 billion CFUs in the product you purchased that that number of CFUs remains the same four months later. To be sure of this, it is important to pay full attention to the labeling while making the purchase. The supplement you purchase should specifically say, “Potency Guaranteed Until Time of Expiration.” Unless you opt for a product that is refrigerated, it should also be shelf stable so that you don’t have to refrigerate it to keep its potency. Look for a label that says “Refrigeration Not Required” or “Shelf Stable.”
Another important factor to consider before investing in a probiotic is the diversity of strains. Look for a combination of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli for an average adult. This will support both your large as well as small intestine. Look for the abbreviations L. and B. on the label.
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned criteria while buying a probiotic supplement will help you to choose the right one for you. Check all these units and factors on the labeling to be sure you are purchasing the best quality the supplement.
Some of the brands I trust are Pure Encapsulations, Klaire Labs and Garden of Life but there are many other good options out there too.
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