Under the term “probiotics“, there is a multitude of products that can be significantly different from each other. Choosing the right supplement can solve your health problems or prevent them from occurring in the future. Choosing a product of dubious quality can end up wasting time, money and upset the stomach and intestines.
Below we will show you four key aspects to pay attention to when deciding on the right probiotics to choose.
We hope that it will help you get through the thicket of products that, apart from the manufacturer’s promises, do not carry anything interesting!
The best probiotic supplement – how to assess the strength of a given probiotic?
The first thing to pay attention to when choosing a probiotic is the strength of the supplement. Probiotic “strength” is measured in CFU, which means colony forming units. CFU is the number of bacteria or colonies that are able to settle in your home and then reproduce, contained in one capsule or in one portion. Some companies recommend taking more than one capsule at a time (remember to check it out because it’s a tricky way for some companies to make their supplements look better than they really are!). CFUs should be measured in billions. As with the number of capsules per serving, many probiotic brands will conceal the strength of their supplement on the back of the label, making it difficult to find. It is worth being aware of that.
However, the best probiotic brands will clearly show their strength on the front of the labels.
Knowing how important the strength of the supplement is, let’s move on to the number of strains.
The best probiotic pills – CFU (strength) of bacterial strains
When selecting a probiotic, it is worth paying attention to the value of CFU per specific strain of bacteria. The goal of the best probiotics is to re-populate the intestines with good bacteria so that the bacteria can grow and reproduce successfully, displacing bad bacteria and other pathogens at the same time. If the strength of the strain is too low, then simply there will not be enough bacteria to cause the strain to revive in the gut and change the bacterial landscape. We recommend finding about 5 billion CFUs per strain, so for 10 probiotic strains it should be about 50 billion CFUs.
It is also worth noting that studies have shown that consistently taking high-strength probiotic agents to change the lining of our intestines. Otherwise it will simply return to its previous, unsatisfying form.
The best probiotic supplements use “patented strains”
The next thing to look at are the bacteria themselves. We strongly recommend searching for brands that use patented strains.
A patented strain is one that has been extensively researched in terms of health benefits, which is why it has been given a specific name or, as we will see in the following paragraphs, is hiding under a specific number. Conversely, a non-patented strain is one that has no research, so you can never be sure of its exact effects. Non-patented strains are still used by most probiotic companies because they are much cheaper.
How do you recognize what is patented and what is not? It’s really easy, just search for the number assigned to the strain listed on the label. But let me explain how it works. Let’s look at an example of the most common strain of bacteria in probiotics – Lactobacillus Acidophilus. In fact, Lactobacillus Acidophilus is not technically a strain. Lactobacillus is a genus or family of the strain, and Acidophilus is a strain species. The actual strain is determined by the number, for example in the probiotic is La-14. Thus, the full name of the strain is Lactobacillus Acidophilus La-14.
The easiest way to understand this is to compare it to dogs. The type or family of a dog is canine, which includes dogs, coyotes, dingoes, wolves, jackals, etc. The species (ie Acidophilus) is a dog, but the strain is the equivalent of a dog breed, ie a pug or German shepherd.
Thus, although wolf and pug belong to canines, there are of course big differences between them. The same applies to the probiotic. Since most companies simply exchange Lactobacillus Acidophilus on their bottles without specifying a number, this means they use cheap generic strains that can not be properly identified, making it impossible to estimate their actual health benefits.
With the specific strain number listed on the probiotic bottle, you can immediately identify the specific strain and easily look at the exact tests that have been made on it. When brands do not exchange patented strains, this is a large red warning flag. Patented strains will be specially selected for their resistance to gastric acid and bile, so that they will not die when passing through the digestive system. In the case of non-patented strains we cannot tell if they are resistant to acids and bile, and assume that they probably will not survive the journey.
Get the best probiotic pills – coated or delayed decomposition.
The best probiotic supplements will also be used with specially coated pills, regardless of whether they are film-coated tablets or delayed-release capsules. This means that the capsule does not dissolve as soon as it enters the stomach, which could expose probiotics to gastric acid and bile. We mentioned that the strains should be chosen because of their resistance to acid and bile, but nothing in life is 100%, so using a coated or delayed capsule is just an extra insurance to make sure that the bacteria into your large intestine reach live .