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How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement

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The popularity of probiotic supplements has been growing over the last decade, and rightfully so! Numerous studies have proven that the best probiotic supplements have powerful health benefits that support your entire body. After all, approximately 90 percent of your body’s genetic material is owned by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that compose your microflora. And, probiotics are most beneficial for fighting off those pathogens that cause illness.

However, the growing popularity of probiotics can put a person into a tailspin. You may have wondered what you should be looking for. Several basic criteria will be covered in this article:

  • the most effective species of probiotics
  • the most efficient dosage of probiotics
  • why prebiotics are important when taking probiotics
  • looking for a probiotic delivery system that protects
  • electing heat resistant packaging for a probiotic supplement
  • choosing a probiotic brand with good manufacturing practices
  • expecting a range in probiotic supplement pricing

The Most Effective Species of Probiotics

There are two important probiotic strains that are essential for health. They include the Lactobacillus species and the Bifidobacterium species. When selecting a probiotic supplement, be sure to choose one with both. Additionally, each species of contains several beneficial strains. The best probiotic supplements will carry at least 10 strains. In this section, you’ll find descriptions for the two major species as well as several strains within those species. Each are beneficial for your gut and overall health.

The lactobacillus species consists of several strains. Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities are some of the potential therapeutic properties. Following are some of the most important strains with their benefits.

Like the Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacterium boosts your immune system. It consists of several beneficial strains.

Click here for a full list of strains and it's definitions.

The Most Efficient Dosage of Probiotics

Microbiologists use colony forming units or “CFUs” to describe the number of live active organisms within a probiotic supplement. A CFU is the measurement of bacteria and yeast that is capable of living and reproducing to form a group of the same. It does not include the bacteria that is inactive or dead as only the viable organisms are considered probiotics. The nutrition label of a probiotic supplement will state the number of CFUs.

So, how many CFUs are appropriate when purchasing a probiotic supplement? Because modern diet and stress jeopardize friendly bacteria and general health, most experts now recommend 10 to 50 billion CFUs for protection. The more, the better!

Why Prebiotics are Important When Taking Probiotics

Many people confuse prebiotics with probiotics. After all, the names sound similar. However, they both have different functions. While probiotics “replenish” the friendly bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, prebiotics “ nourish” the friendly bacteria. Prebiotics stimulate the growth and maintenance of beneficial gut microbiota.

It’s important to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a prebiotic for support. When reviewing the nutrition label of a brand, be sure it includes some of the following soluble fiber ingredients:

  • Inulin
  • Oligofructose
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Other oligosaccharides
  • Sunfiber®

Looking for a Probiotic Delivery System that Protects

When choose a probiotic supplement, you want to be sure it has a delivery system that helps protect against stomach acidity. Technology such as  DR Caps® provides this protection. This innovative system also helps mask taste and odor – as well as bad aftertaste – without the additional cost that usually comes with costly coatings. Additionally, this vegetarian capsule has unique properties that slow disintegration which ensures the full release of probiotics are within the intestines.

Moisture Resistant Packaging for a Probiotic Supplement

Not only is the supplement’s delivery system important. The packaging is just as important to protect the live active cultures within each probiotic capsule. Be sure to choose bottles with insulated lining such as the patented Active-Polymer® technology. High quality packaging provides stability to all the capsules contained within.

When storing your bottle of probiotics, be sure it’s kept in a dry, cool, and dark area. Read the brand’s packaging as some require refrigeration.

Choosing a Probiotic Brand with Good Manufacturing Practices

Quality brands of probiotic supplements are usually stamped with the “GMP” logo. GMP stands for “good manufacturing practices.” It is a system that ensures products are consistently produced and controlled to quality standards while minimizing risks involved in pharmaceutical production.

Expecting a Range in Probiotic Supplement Pricing

The price range for probiotic supplements vary depending on the quality, species, strain(s), number of strains, and CFU count. Those with lower CFU counts (less than 10 billion total CFUs) range anywhere from $12 to $25. Higher strains would obviously be more costly. The best probiotic supplements usually contain at least 10 strains within the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species and have at least 10 billion CFUs. They range in price from $35 to $75. 

References

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Prebiotic Importance

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/3/830S.full

Probiotic Delivery System

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26639716

http://www.capsugel.com/ihc/drcaps

Probiotic Quality Assurance

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/73/2/393s.full

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC374774...

http://csptechnologies.com/products/activ-polymer....

Good Manufacturing Practices Criteria

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProces...

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