The human body is home to trillions of microbes, many of which are beneficial. Probiotics are living bacteria that provide the host with health benefits when taken in sufficient quantities. They can be found naturally in some fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, as well as in dietary supplements.
Probiotics are thought to promote gut health by balancing the levels of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract, as well as stimulating the immune system. Some research has shown that they may also help with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Here are some tips when selecting a probiotic supplement.
Table of Contents
- 1. Know What Strains that Meets Your Needs
- 2. Look for a Probiotic Supplement that Contains at Least 10^6 to 10^9 CFUs
- 3. Look at Storage Recommendations
- 4. Check the Date of Manufacture
- 5. Choose a Product from a Reputable Manufacturer
- 6. Consider the Form of Probiotic
- 7. Read the Label
- 8. Take Your Probiotic Daily
- 9. Start with a Small Dose and Increase Gradually
- 10. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider
- Final Thought
1. Know What Strains that Meets Your Needs
Probiotics are available in many different strains. For example, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii. Each strain has different effects on the body.
If you’re looking for a probiotic supplement to treat a specific condition, be sure to choose a product that contains the strain(s) of interest.
2. Look for a Probiotic Supplement that Contains at Least 10^6 to 10^9 CFUs
Probiotic supplements are available in a wide range of potencies. To be effective, a probiotic supplement should contain at least 10^6 to 10^9 CFUs (colony-forming units).
3. Look at Storage Recommendations
Probiotic supplements are live microorganisms and, as such, need to be stored properly to maintain their potency. Check the supplement facts panel on the product label for storage recommendations. Most probiotics should be kept refrigerated, but some can be stored at room temperature.
4. Check the Date of Manufacture
Probiotics are live microorganisms and, over time, their numbers can decline. For this reason, it’s important to check the date of manufacture when choosing a probiotic supplement. The date should be clearly stated on the product label, and you should select a product that was manufactured recently.
5. Choose a Product from a Reputable Manufacturer
Probiotics are live microorganisms and, as such, they are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not approve probiotic supplements, but it does require manufacturers to follow good manufacturing practices (GMPs).
Choose a probiotic supplement from a reputable manufacturer that follows GMPs and has its products third-party tested for potency and purity.
6. Consider the Form of Probiotic
Probiotics are available in many different forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. Some probiotics need to be refrigerated, while others can be stored at room temperature. Consider your preferences when choosing a probiotic supplement.
7. Read the Label
When choosing a probiotic supplement, it’s important to read the label carefully. The label should list the genus, species, and strain of probiotic microorganism(s) in the product, as well as the amount (in colony-forming units or CFUs).
In addition, the label should list other ingredients in the product, as well as any potential allergens. Be sure to check the storage recommendations and the date of manufacture before purchasing a probiotic supplement.
8. Take Your Probiotic Daily
Continuous consumption will be helpful in maintaining the levels of good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics may be beneficial in a number of ways in addition to changing the gut microbiome’s makeup. But regular use of a probiotic pill is necessary to continue enjoying its advantages.
9. Start with a Small Dose and Increase Gradually
Probiotics are live microorganisms and, as such, they can cause side effects in some people. To avoid side effects, it’s best to start with a small dose of probiotics and increase gradually as your body adjusts.
If you experience any side effects, such as gas or bloating, stop taking the probiotic and consult your healthcare provider.
10. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider
Probiotic supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, if you have a medical condition, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement. This is especially important if you’re taking medications, as there could be potential interactions.
Probiotic supplements can be a helpful addition to your diet. When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for a product with your needed strains from a reputable manufacturer that contains at least 106 to 109 CFUs and that is within the expiration date. Be sure to follow storage recommendations and always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.