choose probiotic

How To Choose An Effective Probiotic

Wondering how to choose a probiotic?

With numerous options on the market, its hard to know will be safe and effective.

Supplemental probiotics have many benefits, including strengthening your immune system against a pandemic illness like the coronavirus. Being as there are hundreds of beneficial bacteria, picking the right product can be difficult. This article will provide recommendations for choosing the best probiotic to meet your needs.

You Need Bacteria That Are Alive

The most important issue when choosing a probiotic is whether the bacteria are alive when you take them. Many manufacturers don’t invest in the technology to ensure that probiotic bacteria will survive exposure to temperature, humidity, and pH changes. This is the reason some products are only guaranteed to be alive at the time of packaging. Better quality products will be guaranteed through the expiration date. This means the bacteria are packaged in a way that keeps them alive and they have undergone strenuous testing ensuring viability through expiration.

You Need A Probiotic That Survives The Journey Through The Stomach

Another key issue when you choose a probiotic is whether the bacteria can survive the low pH of stomach acid and reach the GI tract alive. Certain probiotic strains are able to adhere to intestinal cells and repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria. Companies have also developed technology that avoids breakdown in the stomach. One research review found that if a company doesn’t have a manufacturing process specifically designed to ensure the bacteria are alive and uncontaminated, they are unlikely to be effective and should be avoided (1).

You Need Billions of Bacteria

Because there are so many bacteria in the gut (trillions!), you need to choose a probiotic that supplies a LOT of live bacteria. Bactria are counted in terms of colony forming units (CFUs). One CFU equals one bacterium capable of dividing and forming a colony. Research shows a minimum of 5 billion CFUs a day is necessary to get any benefit. People who are overcoming an unhealthy gut or want to repopulate their GI tract after antibiotics need significantly more CFUs daily (2).

You Need A Strain-Specific Probiotic

There are many different strains of bacteria. Benefits are strain-specific: A product that is designed to treat antibiotic-induced diarrhea may not have metabolic or neurological benefits. Likewise, certain strains improve nutrient absorption, whereas others are more geared at raising the number of pathogen-fighting immune cells. Therefore, it’s critical that you choose a probiotic that contains a strain that matches with your health situation. What follows is a list of probiotic strains with strong evidence to back up their use (1, 3, 4, 5, 6):

Ingredient Function When To Use It
Lactobacillus acidophilus
La-14®
Increases absorption of nutrients.
Supports immune cell function.
Displaces harmful bacteria in the GI tract.
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.
Following antibiotic treatment to repopulate the gut.
For immune support.
To overcome depression.
Bifidobacterium longum BI-05™ Has anti-inflammatory effects. Supports immune cell function. Increases absorption of nutrients. To counter “leaky gut.”
For immune support.
To increase nutrient status.
Lactobacillus plantarum
Lp-115®
Increases absorption of nutrients.
Counters harmful pathogens in the GI tract.
Increases immune function.
Has anti-inflammatory effects.
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.
For immune support.
To overcome depression.
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019® Enhances immune cell function.
Protects against pathogens.
Increases gut transit time.
Has anti-inflammatory effects.
To overcome constipation.
To overcome IBS symptoms.
For immune support.
For metabolic benefits (lower LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity).
Saccharomyces Boulardii Enhances immune cell function.
Protects against pathogens.
Increases gut transit time.
Has anti-inflammatory effects.
Fights off bacterial toxins.
During antibiotic treatment to maintain healthy bacteria.
When suffering diarrhea.
To overcome constipation.
For immune support.
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® Enhances immune cell function.
Inhibits ß-glucuronidase.
Increases gut transit time.
Has anti-inflammatory effects.
For immune support.
To overcome constipation.
To overcome IBS symptoms (bloating, nausea, abdominal pain).
To counter “leaky gut.”
To improve estrogen metabolism.
Safe and effective for children.
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 Increases immune cell function.
Has anti-inflammatory effects.
For immune support.
Helps reduce symptoms of the cold.
Safe and effective for children.
Choose A Multi-Strain Probiotic To Amplify Benefits

Many products use multiple strains to maximize the therapeutic effect (7, 8). For example, we have designed four multi-strain probiotics that can be used in specific situations:

Proflora Chewables provides two strains that support the immune system and have been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold in children and the elderly (3, 6). It supports overall gut health and can be used to counter constipation (2). It is a chewable product that provides 15 billion CFUs making it great for daily use.

Our Proflora Excellence 2.0 is great for general immune, metabolic, and neurological health. It’s another daily use probiotic that can be used to combat depression, overcome insulin resistance, and support immune cell response (9, 10, 11, 12).

Mega Proflora provides the same four bacterial strains as Proflora Excellence but with three times as many live bacteria making it ideal for “front loading” gut health. A whopping dose of healthy bacteria supports immunity in people with a compromised immune system, such as the elderly, those recovering from cancer, or individuals with underlying health conditions (9, 10, 11, 12).

Proflora Excellence SB provides the therapeutic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii that survives antibiotics. It has been shown to support immunity and overcome diarrhea making it your go to when on a course of antibiotics (13, 14, 15). S. boulardii may be contraindicated for people with a central venous catheter. If this is you, speak with your doctor before supplementing (14).

All of our Poliquin® Probiotics have been specially designed to ensure they are alive when you take them and will survive the digestive tract to reach the intestines where they can have maximum benefit.

Final Words

Probiotic supplementation is just one aspect of achieving a healthy gut. There are several actions you can take to give your gut some love so that it will love you back!

 

 

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