Which probiotic is right for you?
Although probiotics are now available in a variety of foods and supplements that promise a wide
range of health bene;ts, probiotics themselves are just beginning to be understood. An understanding
of the fundamentals of probiotics will help you select the best supplement for your needs.
What Is a Probiotic?
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that are available in
different strains providing health bene;ts when consumed
in adequate amounts. Probiotics also exist naturally in
foods such as cultured or fermented yogurt, cheese, and
vegetables and have been consumed for generations. In
recent years, many probiotics have been scienti;cally studied
and identi;ed for offering speci;c health bene;ts. Dietary
supplements are a good way to ensure that you are getting
the necessary amount of probiotics that have been shown to
deliver the speci;c health bene;ts you are seeking.
Probiotics contain different genera, species and strains of
the same species – not all microbes sold as probiotics have
been tested for health bene;ts and not all products should
be expected to work the same. Therefore, product claims
related to health bene;ts should be made only for products
that have been tested in human studies and found to be
How Do Probiotics Work?
A healthy digestive tract is important for overall health
and wellness. A normal digestive tract includes a balanced
amount of “bene;cial” bacteria, but various factors can
upset this balance. With 60% of the body’s immune cells
located in the digestive system, experts believe there is
a relationship between the health of the body’s digestive
system and its natural immune defenses. Some scientists
believe that routine consumption of certain types of
probiotics can optimize immune health by reinforcing the
protective barrier of the intestine. Other types of probiotics
are being researched for their role in other health bene;ts,
such as maintaining the healthy function of the digestive tract.
Why Combine Probiotics with Nutrients?
Combining a high quality probiotic with a multivitamin is not
only very convenient for those looking to limit the number
of pills to take, but also provides dual levels of support for
immune system health. A unique combination of probiotic
and vitamins and minerals works in harmony to help your
immune system stay strong naturally. It ensures the delivery
of probiotics to the gut and vitamins and minerals in the
stomach for optimal absorption.
What Should I Look for
in a Probiotic Supplement?
Look for the following information on the product label:
• The probiotic should be clearly named. Look for
products that identify the genera, species and strain of
the probiotic. For example, Bi;dobacterium [genera]
• The level of probiotics delivered per dose for the life
of the product. This number is usually expressed in
“colony-forming units“ or “CFUs.” The CFU level should
be through the expiration date shown on the packaging,
rather than “at time of manufacture.” This gives
consumers con;dence that the product is formulated to
deliver the health bene;ts it claims on the packaging.
• The health bene;ts or claims that have been
demonstrated in human clinical trials for the product
should be clearly stated.
• Proper storage conditions, handling and use information
for the product.