Do Probiotics Need To Be Refrigerated In Order To Survive
Lets first distinguish between whether they need to be refrigerated once theyre in your home versus when theyre on their way to you or your favorite retailer.
The temperature inside of a delivery truck can reach temperatures that can certainly kill your probiotics. This is why we are always sure to ship our probiotic formulas iced and insulated.
As for how to store your probiotics once theyve made it to you safely, the best advice depends on the brand.
Some probiotic supplements require refrigeration, while others do not. This is why you may have heard of shelf stable probiotics versus refrigerated probiotics.
Additionally, certain bacteria strains are sensitive to heat and moisture. For those that are, the heat kills them instantly while the moisture activates them prematurely before they enter your body.
Both instances can lead to an early expiration of the probiotics in your supplements. Thats why its important to know what bacteria strains your supplements contain, as this can dictate the best way to store them.
After testing a selection of probiotic supplements in 2009, ConsumerLab.com reported that 85% of the probiotics failed to disclose ingredient contents on their packaging. At Probulin, transparency is what were all about. All of our products have clear details of whats in them on the packaging. For every supplement, the packaging lists out each of the organisms incorporated in the supplement formula.
How To Store Your Probiotics
If this has you guessing whether you should be stashing your probiotics in the fridge or the pantry, well, dont read into it too much.
A probiotic that needs to be refrigerated will clearly say as much on its label, Axe says. Plus, youll find it in a refrigerator at the store you purchase it from. The shelf-stable probiotics, meanwhile, will be found on store shelves with other supplements. When in doubt, you can always refer to the label for specific storage instructions, he notes. A good place to stash that must-be-refrigerated probiotic supplement? Right next to foods that contain living probiotics, like yogurt.
Also worth noting: Probiotics are some of the most sensitive dietary supplements, according to dietitian Wendy Lord, R.D., a contributor to the health professional network Health Reporter. This means that even the shelf-stable ones should be stored carefully according to their directions. Because theyre so sensitive to environmental factors like sunlight, oxygen, and moisture, their packaging is intentional, so you shouldnt transfer them to a plastic bag to tote around with you or store them in, say, a medicine cabinet in your bathroom that might get steamy.
What Is The Deal With Spore
Spore-form probiotics are typically Bacillus species bacteria that have a dormancy period where they are spores. The analogy I use with patients is that spore-biotics are like eating a seed instead of eating the plant. Spores survive the heat and acidity of the stomach and sprout or start producing active bacterial colonies once they reach the hospitable environment in the large intestine. Our colon is where probiotics are meant to live anyway. Scientific research has generally shown that the greatest benefit to spore-form probiotics is their superior ability to survive gut transit and effectively colonize the large intestine. For this reason, many spore-biotics only contain 1-5 billion CFUs as opposed to 25-50 billion CFUs in refrigerated probiotics.
A refrigerated probiotic still needs to be evaluated based on number and variety of organisms, additives and the reputation of the company. It can also be harder to remember to take these probiotics as they are out of sight. For those of you like me who pre-package your vitamins for the week, you have to remember to take these separately and they are much harder to travel with. As with any supplement, make sure the company is following strict manufacturing guidelines to check for quality, potency and contamination. A bonus to look for is companies who support independent research investigating the effectiveness and survival rates of consumed probiotics.
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Should You Just Refrigerate Anyway
If you live in a climate that has temperatures higher than 77f or 25c then it may wise to refrigerate after opening the probiotic supplement bottle.
We do know from studies that most probiotic strains donât cope well with hot and humid weather.
Refrigerating a probiotic supplement that states âno refrigeratingâ wonât make the probiotic any less effective so for peace of mind you could always just stick it in the refrigerator.
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Which Ones Are Best To Buy Refrigerated Or On
Its a good question too. This depends on how they are packaged. Probiotics like Culturelle ** have each one of the capsules packaged individually, so they are shelf-stable. The bacteria are in a kind of resting state, safe from moisture and air in their little foil pouches. Many probiotics that come in a bottle are shelf-stable until opening. Upon opening the capsules are exposed to air, warmer temperatures, and moisture, so they should be kept in the refrigerator. Also, if you want to double check the claims on the bottles label, look at LabDoors probiotic rankings. Note that their quality system evaluates whether the number of live bacteria in the bottle and the bacteria GENERA present are what is claimed on the label, the purity of the product, and price per capsule . What they dont do is to examine which STRAINS of bacteria are present and what their effects might be. With many of these probiotics, it is the strain level information that may confer a benefit.
Hope those answers help clarify things a bit.
**Another science blogger alerted me to the fact that Curelle has titanium dioxide in it, which as a nanoparticle, might accumulate in organs. It is a commonly used, FDA approved, food dye but this is certainly something to be aware of considering several new studies including this one on gut health during chronic exposure.
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Are Refrigerated Probiotics Better
Many studies show that shelf stable probiotics are effective. These studies show that shelf stable products are more effective than refrigerated ones. Probiotics have been shown to be effective in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease , Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome .
These are all conditions in which the gut is inflamed and the bodys immune system is out of whack.
- Which can lead to diarrhea
- Ibd is a chronic inflammatory condition that is characterized by inflammation of the colon
It is also associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.
IBS can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, poor diet, lack of physical activity, stress and anxiety, or a combination of all of these factors. The most common cause of this condition is an imbalance of gut bacteria.
How Fermentation Boosts Beauty Benefits
Whats all the hype about fermentation and probiotics in beauty products? Cant I just have my kimchi and kefir and call it a day? Sure! You can. But, with all industry eyes on fermented topical products, why would you deprive your skin of so many juicy benefits?
When you add more biodiversity to the microbiome party, your microbial ecosystem becomes healthier. Aging and a variety of skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis are shown to demonstrate low ranges of biodiversity on the surface of the skin. A 2020 study found that after just 4 weeks of applying a topical oil or ferment-containing serum, the bacterial community that lives on the skin becomes more beneficial as younger probiotic strains are regularly introduced.
Fermented probiotic strains serve your skin in the following ways:
- Boost ingredient penetration into the skin
- Concentrate ingredients to deliver benefits in a single drop or pump of formula
- Absorb deeper into the skin for higher efficacy
- Longer-lasting hydration and moisturization
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When Should They Be Kept Out At Room Temperature
There are a number of new technologies that do not require probiotic strains to be stored in the refrigerator. Modern sophisticated freeze drying technologies like lyophilisation make sure that your probiotics are kept stable at room temperature. These probiotics are packed in special blister packs to prevent moisture.
When it comes to probiotics refrigeration freeze dried probiotics are more stable and can withstand wide fluctuations in the temperature they are stored in. The bacteria are not dead, but kept in an inactive state. They begin functioning as normal as soon as they come in contact with your stomach.
Some supplements have bacteria in the lag phase. This means that the bacteria mature and grow in size, but, are unable to replicate.
They have not yet come to the point where they begin to divide and multiply. Bacteria adapt to their environment during the lag phase and have a better chance of surviving the corrosive stomach environment. They also do not require refrigeration because the bacteria are essentially not metabolizing.
Shelf stable products are more convenient than the ones in the fridge, especially when you are traveling. You can keep them at your bedside table and even at your desk, to make sure you never a miss a dose and these doses are healthy.
Most manufacturers recommend keeping supplements in the refrigerator once opened to prevent moisture from getting to the bacteria.
Refrigerated Probiotics Vs Non
Shelf-stable probiotics are non-refrigerated probiotics.
This means that they can survive room-temperature environments much better than refrigerated probiotics.
Theyll still keep their original potency level on the shelf for around 2 years from the date of manufacture.
These are great if you find yourself always on-the-go.
Perhaps you have a busy lifestyle and need to take your probiotics in a travel bag, to the hotel, gym, and other places that may not have a refrigerator.
While you obviously dont want to leave them in your car in the middle of the summer, you can feel confident knowing theyll benefit you even without keeping them in a fridge.
Then, are refrigerated probiotics better than their non-refrigerated counterparts?
Theres really no way to answer this.
Certain strains of probiotic bacteria require refrigeration, while others do not.
However, a non-refrigerated strain may be just the one you need in order to treat your specific condition.
The factor thats going to play the biggest role in efficacy, is the quality of the product you choose.
You can usually tell the difference between them by obviously reading the label, but also looking at the packaging.
As previously mentioned, if they were stored in the refrigerated section of the store or shipped with an ice pack, its likely a refrigerated type of probiotic.
Most high-quality probiotics also come in moisture-resistant and heat-resistant packaging.
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What’s The Best Way To Store Probiotics
While you don’t have to refrigerate shelf-stable probiotics, there are some things you can do to make them last longer:
- Keep your probiotics in their original package or bottle. Some materials, like glass or certain plastics, are better at blocking out humidity and other environmental factors that can kill the bacteria and reduce the effectiveness of your probiotic. You might not think anything of it, but manufacturers carefully choose their packaging to optimize shelf-life, so don’t transfer probiotics to pill containers or plastic baggies.
- Store them in a cool, dry place.
- Make sure they’re tightly sealed.
- Avoid storing them in a medicine cabinet in a bathroom where you shower. The heat and humidity from the hot water can kill the probiotics.
These tips helps maintain a safe temperature and protects the probiotics from their two major enemies: heat and moisture.
Can Unrefrigerated Probiotics Make You Sick
Although probiotics should be refrigerated, they do not spoil or die-off quickly at room temperature. Although probiotics should be refrigerated, they do not spoil or die-off quickly at room temperature. They may be left at room temperature for days and even several weeks without a great loss of viable organisms.
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To Chill Or Not To Chill How To Store Probiotic Skincare
You may have come across probiotics in the health food store, sitting pretty in their very own refrigerated section. You might also see probiotics in that same store that are being stored on regular shelves next to vitamins and other supplements. How can these microorganisms exist in both sections and survive?
More Colony Forming Units
Some believe the answer is loading probiotic products with even larger numbers of probiotic bacteria and simply anticipating that the majority will not survive. Unfortunately, this raises the important concern of knowing the exact dose ingested. How will this practice of adding more affect those who have a need for very specific levels and can have problems if they take too much or too little? Will these mega dose probiotics carry the potential of harm for certain segments of users?
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So Should You Opt For A Refrigerated Or Shelf
If youre wondering whether you should stick with your shelf-stable probiotic or make the switch to refrigerated probiotics, know this: One isnt necessarily better than the other! While it might seem that refrigerated products are more likely to retain their potency than shelf-stable options, theres plenty of technology nowadays that protects the bacteria in shelf-stable products from heat, light, and oxygen, Lord says.
Which you choose really comes down to personal preference and whether your healthcare provider has recommended you take certain strains in order to support your unique health needs and goals, she says.
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Ultimately, neither choice is superior, so any type of high-quality probiotic will be beneficial, Lord says.
As for what high-quality looks like, youll want to look for two things: a variety of different types of probiotics and enough of them. Diversity is the key when it comes to probiotics, explains Lord. The gut flora is diverse, so supplements should have a variety of bacterial strains as well. Some of the most-researched strains are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. And when it comes to quantity, pay attention to the number of colony-forming units, or CFUs, on the label. Its generally recommended to choose probiotic products with at least 1 billion colony-forming units, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
What Does 100 Billion Cfu Mean
100 billion CFU means “100 billion colony forming units” – which is a fancy way of saying “100 billion probiotic cells. Most probiotic supplements range from 1 billion CFU, all the way up to 400+ billion CFU. You might think that more probiotics is better, but that isn’t always the case. Just as with many medications , it’s important to increase the dosage slowly, sometimes over a period of months. A great starter dose is Less than 5 billion CFU.
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Why Do Probiotics Require Refrigeration
Probiotics or friendly bacteria are basically living organisms. Like all living things they have an ideal environment to thrive and survive kind of like the Lakers are able to thrive when the league favors them to win championships see the season in 2000 and 2002. Without this environment they can die and perish.
Heat, acid, and time can kill these bacteria. This is one of the reasons why your gut becomes unhealthy when you eat more acidic food or when you indulge in highly processed sugary treats.
Probiotic supplements on packaging might contain billions of colony forming units. However, these are naturally sensitive to light and moisture. Without proper refrigeration the bacteria even if inactive does not survive and perishes.
Moisture can activate the bacteria inside the pills where they again perish due to a lack of proper environment and nutrients to support growth.
This is one of the reasons why probiotic supplements should be kept out of humidity and in refrigerators. Some probiotics like yogurt and drinks cannot be kept out of the refrigerator because of their medium composition. These foods are probiotic enriched and will go rancid if not kept in cool temperatures.
The amount of water or moisture retained in a probiotic determines how long it will thrive within a supplement.
Probiotics which have low moisture content do not require refrigeration whereas probiotics with higher moisture content need to be refrigerated.
Do You Need To Refrigerate Probiotics
No, not all probiotic supplements need to be kept in the fridge. The best way to determine whether they need to be kept in the fridge or not would be to simply check the label on your supplement carefully. Another good way to determine if your probiotic needs to be kept in a fridge would be to look at how it was stored when purchased. If it was refrigerated at point of purchased or delivered in packaging with a cool pack, then it will be more than likely that the product will need to be kept in a refrigerator. Some probiotic supplements can be kept at room temperature safely. These probiotics will be labelled as shelf stable on their packaging or labels which you will be able to see upon purchasing the product.
It is worth remembering that probiotics are bacteria and they have to be stored correctly in order to work. If the supplement is kept out of the correct temperature range, then the product will degrade much faster and ultimately, wont work. If you buy a probiotic supplement that was not temperature controlled, they will not function in the way they should.
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