Consider The Science And Clinical Studies
Not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, there are vast quality differences in the research, development, and manufacturing process between brands. This starts out with the research that goes into understanding each strain. Each strain included in a product should be thoroughly analyzed to determine its strength.
As a next step, the bacterial strains should then be carefully combined with an intended outcome in mind.
Lastly, the combination of strains should be tested in laboratory studies and in human clinical studies for efficacy. This is especially important because some bacterial strains work well together, whereas others dont. Just because there is one clinical study with one strain saying it does one specific activity, this may no longer be true when combined with another strain.
Omni-Biotic probiotics follow this stringent research and development process. Every Omni-Biotic strain is identified and extensively analyzed to determine its strengths and suitability for specific indication-focused probiotic formulations. The final products are tested for gastric survival, intestinal viability, metabolic activity, and extended real-time shelf stability.
Things To Look For In A Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are everywhere. Chances are, youve seen them advertised on TV, in magazines, and touted in health books.
Theyre one of the few supplements that have gained widespread fame and acceptance in western countries.
Its little wonder why probiotics have gained so much traction and why so many people are utilizing them for the benefit of their health. Over the past decade, researchers have highlighted just how much probiotics affect our bodies. In fact, they affect nearly every part of your body, and scientists have discovered many of the ways in which probiotics exert their benefits.
Do Cfus Matter And How Many Billion Cfus Should Your Probiotic Ideally Have
CFU stands for colony forming units and is used to quantify how many bacteria in probiotics are capable of dividing and forming colonies. There are a lot of numbers flying around of how many CFUs are included in different probiotics, and some of the numbers can be staggering. But to put it bluntly, we have approximately 100 trillion bacteria in our bodies, which equates to about 5 pounds worth.
So when you see staggering numbers of CFU inclusion, they are not generally that big in the grand scheme of things. We know that probiotic bacteria are alive and active if they are able to divide and form these colonies. CFU numbers on probiotic supplements can vary anywhere from several million to 50 billion, but the researchers concluded that effective probiotic dosage for general gut health seems to be in the range of 10 million to one billion CFU/mg per day in humans. However, the dosage recommendations can vary for specific conditions of reasons as to why you might be taking a probiotic supplement in the first place.
Whats actually important, though, is that the strains included are numbered and clinically validated. Quality over quantity, people.
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What Side Effects Can Probiotic Supplements Give You
Most of the probiotic supplements are safe to use. You can have a few side effects if you are taking some medications or have some chronic conditions such as Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, diabetes, etc.
You should consult with your doctor before taking a probiotic supplement if you have any types of chronic illness or are on medications. If you are taking antibiotics then wait for a few hours before taking probiotic supplements to avoid the side effects.
Some common symptoms of those who have negative reactions to probiotics supplements are as follows:
If you are not tolerating any particular supplement, stop taking it immediately. Start with small doses after consulting your doctor and slowly increase to the recommended dosage.
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Contains The Right Strains Of Probiotics
There is a variety of probiotics out there, and so its very important to take the most therapeutic strains of probiotics.
Lactobacillus is an important strain of probiotic because it effectively survives transport into the intestines and is a very durable strain of bacteria 4. Researchers also put emphasis on the specific strain, lactobacillus acidophilus, because it is widely known to be therapeutic6. Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to enhance the immune system7.
Lactobacillus plantarum, another strain of lactobacillus, is especially helpful at soothing the intestines and benefiting people with irritable bowel syndrome8,9. There is evidence that this bacteria family could help with anxiety and reduce the chance of cardiovascular disease10,11.
Lactobacillus paracasei is another form of this effective lactobacillus strain, and evidence suggests it might have anti-allergy effects, health-promoting effects on skin, and antibacterial effects12,13,14,15.
Bifidobacterium lactis is another strain of probiotic that has been extensively studied, and one scientific review concludes that this strain is documented to improve function of the immune system 16. This probiotic has also been proven to efficiently colonize in the intestines of humans 17.
It is important to pick a probiotic with strains like these that have been tested and evidenced to be beneficial to humans.
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Probiotics : What To Look For In A Probiotic Supplement
While the idea of live bacteria and yeast living inside your body may not sound the least bit appealing, they are actually good for you and a crucial part of digestion. Probiotics are actually the good bacteria your body needs to “help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells or produce vitamins,” per the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. In recent years, probiotic supplements have become increasingly popular, as they offer a method of infusing these healthy, live microorganisms into your system.
Meet the Expert
- Niket Sonpal, MD, is a New York City-based internist and gastroenterologist, and faculty member at the Touro College of Medicine.
- Lauren Minchen, MPH, RDN, CDN, is a nutrition consultant for Freshbit, an AI-driven visual diet diary app.
Are Refrigerated Probiotics Better
The short answer: not necessarily.
Whats most important is understanding what youre taking and why. Specific strains have specific benefits , and thats what we should be focused on.
There is no rule of thumb regarding how many different strains. Go with the product that has evidence,, executive science officer of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics , tells LIVESTRONG.com.
If you are just looking for adding live microbes to your diet, then choose as many or as few as youd like. Regarding CFUs, the argument is the same: Use what the evidence requires.
Simply put, the best dose is the one that has been tested in humans and shown to provide positive outcomes. Most probiotics have been tested at levels between 1 and 10 billion CFUs per day, according to the ISAPP.
Heres a list of specific strains of bacteria backed by a significant amount of research.
Benefits of Specific Probiotics and Where to Find Them
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Choosing Probiotics For Your Health Needs
Probiotics are not one size fits all.
There are 400 to 600 bacterial strains in the human intestine, making up trillions of bacteria all together. These beneficial microbes support healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system function, and more.
Different probiotic strains perform different functions in the human body. Some strains of bacteria even work together in teams. This is why different combinations of strains work best to address different health goals.
For example, specific strains are known to support neurotransmitter production, including the happiness hormone serotonin. These types of strains can be found in probiotics supporting the gut-brain axis and mood.
Individuals who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome , on the other hand, will likely be looking for a probiotic to promote better digestion, reduce inflammation and support a strong gut-barrier.
When youre choosing a probiotic, first of all, consider what youre hoping to accomplish for your health. Oftentimes, an in-depth stool test can also shed more light on what your gut flora and gastrointestinal health may need.
Does The Form Of Probiotic Matter
You may be thinking what does it matter how you take a probiotic? As long as you take it, right? The truth is, not all probiotics are the same. Often it isnt just about the type of probiotic and what is included in it, and more about how fast the bacteria can get to your gut in order to be beneficial to you.
Powders have been known to be the least beneficial because of what happens in the stomach. With every probiotic you take you run the risk of stomach acid killing the bacteria before it even makes it to your gut. The more protected your probiotic is, such as specific coasting or a delayed-release capsule, the more likely the bacteria will reach the gut in order to work.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
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Since you can get probiotics from food, you might be curious about why you would even want to take a supplement. Besides the convenience factor, one benefit from probiotic supplements is that you can choose products with targeted strains for certain issues with a supplement. On the other hand, if you eat fermented foods you can still get probiotics, but you may not know exactly which strains or how much.
So if youre looking into probiotics for a specific reason then you may benefit from looking into specific strains of bacteria that can help with that. For example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is a probiotic strain that researchers found particularly helpful for diarrhea. Another thing to note is that probiotic supplements do not have to be approved before they are sold. Otherwise, for the general benefits, eating probiotic rich foods like yogurt each day can do the trick.
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How To Choose A Probiotic Supplement
When choosing a probiotic supplement, consider your health needs, the number and type of strains, clinical studies available for the product, the colony forming unit count, other information such as the expiration date, whether the product must be refrigerated, and if the product contains allergens.
Probiotic supplements are known for their many health benefits, including supporting digestive health, immune function, healthy skin and even mood. They come in many different forms, including capsules, powders, liquids and gummies. Then there are also the bacterial strains, CFU counts and other factors that differentiate probiotics in the market today.
So, what is the best probiotic out there, and whats a good approach to choosing the best product for your needs?
In this blog post, we will dive into how to choose the right probiotic supplement for your needs.
What To Look For When Choosing A Probiotic
The reality is, quality matters when it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement. Its not as simple as going to your local vitamin shop and choosing the first probiotic you see.
1. The type of strains
With so many beneficial strains of bacteria, how do you know that you are getting the right ones for your body? Working with a functional medicine practitioner is one way to get tailored recommendations based on your lab work. Otherwise, a safe bet is to look for a probiotic that contains the strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Not only have these strains been extensively studied, they are the dominant strains in most peoples guts.
2. The delivery method
While capsules are the most common way to take probiotics, you can also find probiotics in liquid and powdered form. When choosing what form you should take, its important to really consider your overall health case and how that might benefit from each of the different forms. For example, if you are struggling with severe digestive distress, capsules might be harder on your gut and esophagus and it would be better to choose powder or liquid probiotics.
3. CFU count
4. The research
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Foods And Beverages Versus Supplements
Lets start with foods and drinks versus supplements. Certain foods and beverages contain live bacteria. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt and beverages such as kombucha are considered sources of probiotic bacteria. Incorporating these foods into your diet is beneficial but cannot be compared to taking a targeted probiotic supplement.
It is more difficult to know the exact amount of probiotic bacteria per serving and the specific strains. Fermented foods and drinks usually have a much shorter shelf life, and many require refrigeration.
For probiotic foods with shorter shelf life, it is possible that some of the probiotic bacteria are dead when you consume the product. Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement allows you to be more targeted.
Why Is Picking A Probiotic So Confusing
Now, its not my style to buy a one-way ticket to Negative Town, but when it comes to supplements its all about being discerning, making good decisions and avoiding being taken advantage of.
And why would we be taken advantage of? Well to start off, the dietary supplements market is projected to hit a valuation of U.S. $349.4 billion by 2026 and the 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days .
Long story short, with all that money on the table there is bound to becorruption, lies and sneaky marketing tactics.
Now, this doesnt overshadow the fact that probiotics can help with overall wellness. Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFCMP, and founder of STAT Wellness explains, pro and biotics literally means for life. She says, They are the beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract, help with serotonin levels , metabolism, contribute to a healthy immune system, and better-looking skin.
They have even shown promise for a variety of conditions, including the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis .
The key to finding a great probiotic, however, requires making informed decisions, label reading, brand transparency and science. But Im getting ahead of myself.
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Is The Product Safe
Probiotics have been around for a very long time, and most have been shown to be relatively safe. However, there is always a chance that a foreign microorganism could potentially cause a patient harm.
Fortunately, all products sold in the US, Canada, and the UK must be reviewed and authorized before they can be sold.
This includes probiotics, which are considered to be drugs under the Food and Drugs Act.
What About Kefir Yoghurt Drinks
As with other fermented foods, kefir a traditional Eastern fermented milk product available as both a drink and yoghurt also has limited clinical evidence behind it. Its hard to measure exactly what concentration of which bacteria each batch contains.
Kefir products usually contain a broader range of probiotic bacteria than yoghurt-based drinks, though.
As a milk-based product, it can be high in sugar .
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What To Look For In A Probiotic
First, look at what genus, species, and strain are in the product. Probiotics names have three parts, usually listed in order. The first part is the name of the genus, the second part is the species, and the third part is the name of the strain. For example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is from the genus Lactobacillus and has the species name rhamnosus. GG is the name of the strain. Different companies patent different strains that they develop.
Lactobacillus is usually abbreviated with an L, and Bifidobacterium is usually abbreviated with a B. Lactobacilli work in the small intestine, and Bifidobacteria work in the large intestine. Because antibiotics can kill the bacteria along the entire intestinal tract, it is important to add back both of these types of bacteria for people who have just taken antibiotics.
A general rule of thumb is to make sure the product you recommend contains species from both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii has also shown benefit for a number of conditions.
Some of the most-researched probiotics are:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- Bifidobacterium lactis BB12
- acidophilus NAS
- bulgaricus LB-51
- acidophilus DDS1
- Saccharomyces boulardiithis is actually a yeast that has been found to have several benefits
Others, which have been studied less but are often taken, are L. johnsonii, L. reuteri, L. rhamnosus, B. breve, B. infantis, E. faecalis, and Streptococcus salivarius.
Look For Probiotics That Have A Variety Of Strains
Different strains have been found to work favourably for different health conditions. Probiotics that have been found to provide health benefits include various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Many probiotic supplements contain a combination of different strains in the same supplement. A general recommendation is to choose probiotic products with at least 1 billion colony forming units and containing the genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii, some of the most researched strains,” says Vinita Contractor, holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach. Look for a supplement that contains multiple strains, sometimes listed as a proprietary blend. Inferior brands might contain only one probiotic strain, she says. The sicker your gut is, the higher the probiotic dose. For a leaky gut or inflammatory bowel disease , one may need to take up to 200 to 400 billion CFUs daily, says Contractor.