Photo credit: Atlas BioMed
Probiotics are the most useful when you know HOW to use them.
I’m in the market for new pans and surprising, I know, I get ads on Pinterest all the time about a pan that is perfect for everything and it is pretty.
I am a sucker for pretty things but just because something is pretty or has a pretty label does not mean it is the best product. A little more research into the pan and customer reviews said it did not hold up and started chipping.
Do not be fooled by pretty advertising and pretty products unless you are using them to decorate your house. Just like you, I am bombarded every day with advertisements about health supplements.
Before I bring a product into the pharmacy, I do research behind the brand.
Is it third party tested? Where do they source their ingredients? Are there any clinical trials for the ingredients? What are the strengths of the active ingredients? Are those the strengths used in the clinical trials?
Let’s talk about probiotics and what questions you should be asking to make sure you have chosen a good quality probiotic and that you aren’t just throwing your money away.
Four Important Questions
Has the company done testing to make sure the probiotic will be alive at time of consumption? To work probiotics, must have live cultures that make it to their intended site of action, the intestines (in most cases). Companies can do laboratory testing to verify the potency and probiotic viability.
Is the number of probiotics going to be effective in colonizing the intestinal tract? The potency of probiotics is measured in colony forming units (CFU). This is determined by allowing the probiotic to grow on a media in a controlled setting and counting the number of colonies present. For children choose a probiotic the has 5-10 billion CFUs and for adults 10-20 billion. This may vary based on individual health concerns or stool testing.
According to a couple of google searches and reputable sources you should choose a probiotic that is stored in the fridge. But from the many lectures I have taken on gut health and I mean many, I don’t agree with that statement. I don’t remember which lecture it was but the expert said your gut is not kept a cool 35 degrees so choosing a probiotic that is only stable at that temperature will not be beneficial, it will not be active once it gets to the intestines. Instead, I recommend choosing a probiotic that is shelf- stable.
Fourth, probiotic species.
Did you know that they have done research on the different strains of probiotics? That is why you see probiotics geared towards stress and anxiety, weight loss, prevention of traveler’s diarrhea, specifically for women. One 2013 study found that Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus acidophilus more effectively reduced joint pain than anti-inflammatory medications in Rheumatoid arthritis patients. Another study found that the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have been beneficial in metabolic syndrome by reducing weight and visceral fat and improving glucose intolerance.
When to take a probiotic?
Most sources say to take your probiotic 15-30 minutes before your first meal of the day.
Should you switch it up?
There is much debate on this subject. So really the answer is it depends. It depends on gender, diet, are you healthy, activity level, what is your goal with probiotics. If any of these factors have changed recently then maybe your probiotic should too.
One of our probiotics lines is more expensive than others, BUT that’s because their products have actual clinical data. Their main product Megaspore has eight studies on it alone.
So, when you’re thinking about cost, remember companies that go above and beyond to make sure you are getting a good quality product will cost more because it cost more to source good ingredients and to test their products.
I believe it’s better to pay a little more for something that you know is going to be beneficial, than wasting money on another product that may not.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good quality supplement for a reasonable cost and if you need help tailoring your supplement regimen to your specific needs. Schedule an appointment. Or if you are having gut issues that you haven’t been able to get a handle on ask us about GI stool testing.