With so many probiotic supplements on the market today, it can be difficult navigating the sea of products to choose from. Luckily, we are here to help with our 4 key tips of what to look for when picking a probiotic supplement that is right for you.
Probiotics are measured in CFUs (Colony Forming Units). This number should be prominently displayed on the front of box or bottle you are looking at. You want to find a probiotic that has a range between 3-50 billion CFUs that specifically fits your unique digestion.
The lower end of the range, 3 billion CFUs, is what we would call a daily maintenance product. This potency would be well suited for a person with an otherwise healthy digestive system that needs to replenish the probiotics lost daily due to modern living.
Potencies higher than 3 billion are recommended for reasons that affect everyone which include:
- Age – As we age our microbiome tends to lose probiotics at a faster rate, especially Bifidobacteria, a genus commonly found in the large intestine. A low amount of Bifidobacteria may lead to digestive issues. A higher potency probiotic with a high concentration in Bifidobacteria like B. lactis, B. Bifidum and B. longum are recommended.
- Travel and Stress – With over 70% of our immune cells residing in the gut, it is a great benefit to send in reinforcements during times that are more likely to compromise our immunity. Increasing your daily intake of probiotics at this time may be very beneficial to avoiding future concerns.
- Diet – At times it may be tough to eat as well as you hope. Processed foods, artificial flavorings, and other common items in the western diet play a large role in depleting our natural flora.
- Compromised Digestive or Immune System – If your digestion or immune system is compromised, it is best to increase your probiotic intake to balance your flora back to normal.
It is important to note that going over 50 billion CFUs rarely adds benefit, only a higher supplement cost.
2) Diversity of Strains
Diversity of strains is vital to picking a probiotic. UP4™ Probiotics are designed to have strains that benefit the bodies they are made for. For example, UP4 WOMEN’S contains strains and ingredients that have a woman’s body in mind. For the average adult, you want to look for a nice mix of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. This will ensure you are supporting both your large and small intestine. They are sometimes abbreviated on the label starting with L. and B.
It is important to be mindful of the “kitchen sink” approach, however. Sometimes probiotic supplements will contain a multitude of different strains in hopes to look appeasing to a consumer who thinks they will be benefiting from all of this diversity. Sadly, there are only a handful of strains on the market that have been proven viable when packaged and when introduced to your body’s acid & bile. When you see probiotics with upwards of 20 strains, keep in mind that only a small portion of those strains will actually reach your gut and be beneficial to your health. There are also some strains, such as spore forming ones, that don’t naturally exist in abundance within a healthy gut. These strains are actually sourced from dirt! Although spores are very durable, we only use strains found naturally within a healthy digestive system.
3) Shelf Stable with Potency Guaranteed
Is the potency guaranteed at the time of expiration? In other words, are you guaranteed to get 50 billion CFUs when you consume the product? Or did that manufacturer put 50 billion CFUs in the product when it was made but by the time you purchase the product 4 months later, there are only 40 billion CFUs? It is important to get what you pay for. A way to do this is by paying close attention to labeling. The probiotic supplement you choose should have a clear statement on their packaging that says “Potency guaranteed until time of expiration.” In addition to having its potency guaranteed, a quality probiotic supplement should also be shelf stable, meaning you do not need to refrigerate it to keep its potency. Look for “Refrigeration Not Required” or “Shelf Stable” on the label.
4) Clean Label
You want a product that is free of chemicals and other ingredients that could potentially upset your gastrointestinal tract. The probiotic you choose should have a listing of all potential irritants it is free of in order to give you a quality supplement.
So there you have it, our top 4 tips on how to choose a probiotic that is best for you. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at email@example.com.