Choosing the Best Probiotic Supplements
Your body has trillions of microorganisms, particularly in the gut. These groups of bacteria are known as the gut microbiota. Some living organisms in your gut are bad, while others are there to fight it and maintain the balance between the two. When there is an unbalanced, problem ensue.
Probiotics are good bacteria that compete against the unfriendly ones for bacterial binding sites on the inside of the lining of the intestine. Probiotics act like your little helpers that help maintain the harmony of the gut ecosystem. Outnumbering its number helps inhibit unwanted bacteria and keep the gut ecosystem in balance.
One way to replenish the probiotics in your gut and restore harmony is to eat the right foods that encourage good bacteria to thrive. These include kefir, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and cultured beverages such as kombucha. However, unlike many people in Asia that typically include fermented foods in almost all their meals, most Americans don’t consume enough of these probiotic-rich foods and drinks. That’s where probiotic supplement comes in.
How to choose the right probiotic supplements
For probiotics to be effective, they must contain live and active bacterial cultures. The general recommendation is to choose probiotic supplements with at least 1 billion colony-forming units or CFU. Your supplement must contain genus like Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, or Saccharomyces boulardii.
Quality is extremely important when it comes to supplements, and that’s especially true for probiotics. Many commercial brands nowadays fail to identify specific strains or doses, which could mean you could get an ineffective or even harmful dose of probiotics. But, even then, with probiotics, it’s all about survival. These delicate living organisms must endure several obstacles, which include the production process, shelf life, and stomach acidity, once taken, to reach the intestine to do their job.
When choosing probiotic supplements, look for probiotic doses that range from 5 to 100 billion CFU. It should be dairy-free. Start at a low dose, then increase your dose as you tolerate it. Look for supplements with multiple strains such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, and Strep. Thermophilus.
Read the other ingredients on the label as some supplements contain undesirable fillers and binders like lactose or cornstarch. These ingredients may cause unpleasant reactions like gas and bloat. Always look for the expiration date or whether the product requires refrigeration.
When choosing the right dose, start with 30 to 50 billion colony-forming units. The more imbalanced your gut is, the sicker you are- the larger the dose of probiotics you need to accomplish a positive effect. For instance, if you have IBS, you may need to take up to 200 to 400 billion CFU’s per day.
Take your probiotic supplement on an empty stomach once or twice a day for at least three months. After three months, you can then assess and decide whether to continue the dose or not. If you have small intestinal bacterial growth, be careful when starting with a probiotic supplement right after your treatment.