What To Look For When Shopping For Probiotic Supplements
Your microbiome – the inner ecosystem of microorganisms and bacterial cells that live inside your gut – has an enormous impact on your overall health. Research shows that everything from immune function to mood stabilization to skin health to how your brain works have connections to your microbiome.
When this intricate internal ecosystem is thrown off balance (dysbiosis), through poor dietary habits, alcohol, toxins, excess stress, medications, antibiotics, or illness, it can have a cascading negative effect across the rest of the body.
What Are Probiotics?
The World Health Organization defines a probiotic as any “live, nonpathogenic, nontoxic microbial organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Benefits Of Probiotics
Probiotics can help your brain and body by:
- Promoting healthy digestion
- Encouraging positive mood and emotional balance
- Supporting mental focus while doing intense work
- Maintaining a healthy response to everyday stress
How Should You Choose a Probiotic?
Deciding which probiotic to take isn’t as simple as choosing the one with the highest colony forming unit (CFU) count. There are several other factors to consider.
3 Things to Look for When Shopping for Probiotic Supplements
- Show Me the Science!
Probiotics can contain many different types of microorganisms. They’re identified by their specific strain, which includes the genus, species, subspecies (where applicable), and an alphanumeric strain designation.
You want to look for probiotic supplements that include strains supported by evidence from human clinical studies – preferably ones that are randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled.
As integrative medicine expert and supplement formulator, Dr. Parris M. Kidd says “A probiotic strain can perform well in cultures, or in experimental animals, but the only way to know that it will consistently help people is to put it through clinical trials.”
Research indicates that the effects of probiotics are strain-specific. Meaning, just because one type of Lactobacillus produces a specific effect, doesn’t mean another Lactobacillus strain will, too.
For example, Lactobacillus helveticus strain Rosell®-52 has specific properties that make it beneficial, distinct from other strains of Lactobacillus helveticus.
- More Isn’t Always Better
Probiotics are typically measured in colony-forming units. These CFU represent the number of probiotic cells in a sample that are capable of dividing and forming colonies.
If we’re trying to support our microbiome, the more CFU the better…right?
Not exactly. When it comes to probiotics, a higher CFU count isn’t always better.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Higher CFU counts do not necessarily improve the product’s health effects.” The best dose, per strain, is the one that has been shown to deliver positive outcomes in human clinical trials.
- Is It Shelf Stable?
Many probiotic supplements are unable to survive the trip from manufacture to store shelf, much less the trip from your mouth, through your acidic digestive process, to your gut. In order to remain effective, some probiotic formulas require refrigeration, while others like ProBrainBiotics MAX, offer advanced shelf-stable solutions and intelligent packaging choices to preserve efficacy. ProBrainBiotics MAX is sealed in blister packs that protect against moisture and air, which enhances its stability.
Remember, to get the most out of your probiotic supplement and reap all its clinically backed benefits, you must take it daily. Shelf-stable probiotics can be placed in plain sight so they’re less likely to get lost in the back of the fridge.
If you aren’t taking a high-quality, brain-directed probiotic supplement, consider adding one to your daily vitamin regimen to help boost your health and vitality. If you take good care of your gut, it will take good care of you!
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