8 Secrets To Choosing The Right Probiotics For You and Your Family
Written by: Kat Gal
Probiotics, probiotics, probiotics. Everyone is talking about them.
But what are probiotics and why are they so important?
Probiotics are good bacteria that help nurture and balance your gut flora – your life essence.
Probiotics may help with digestive disorders that you may not like openly talking about due to their ability to rebalance the body from the inside out.
But, besides all the uncomfortable and often gross “bathroom issues” you may be experiencing, unhealthy gut flora can lead to an array of other issues, including but not limited to allergies, low immune function, skin problems, fatigue, mood disorders, yeast overgrowth, joint pain, headaches and more.
You see, everything starts in the gut – including your health. Focusing on and caring for the health of your gut can provide huge, positive results within your body, which then radiates outwardly too.
Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet with plenty of healthy fats, protein and produce along with ditching the packaged and processed junk, identifying food sensitivities/allergies and using probiotics are a sure-fire way to be well on your way to optimal gut health. Yes, you read it right; it is absolutely necessary to include probiotics for your internal ecosystem.
But how do you choose the right probiotics?
There are so many varieties, forms and brands of probiotics, I don’t blame you if you get so lost that you may even want to give up on your search. Worry no more, I am here to help you navigate through the mystery land of probiotics and choose the right one for you.
Here are the TOP TIPS to consider when choosing the RIGHT probiotic.
1. Read the label
Reading the label will give you all the useful information you need to find the right probiotic for you.
You don’t want fillers, binders, additives, artificial colors or ingredients. And make sure it’s allergen free (gluten, soy, corn, dairy are the most common ones on the market).
2. LIVE Bacteria – How Many CFU’s Do You REALLY Need?
Probiotics can have anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion (or even more!) bacteria (CFU’s – colony forming units) per serving. Depending on your current health and any medications you may be taking, the correct dosing to repopulate your healthy gut bacteria may vary. Be sure to speak to a professional to ensure you’re taking the right amount for you.
Generally, starting with 20-50 billion is a good marker.
3. Beneficial Bacteria Strains
Some probiotics only contain one single-strain of bacteria, while others may contain up to 10 or more. Again, since all strains have different functions, the more strains are better. It’s best to aim for at least 10 individual strains.
4. What kinds of strains should I look for?
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the most popular strain of probiotics that has been shown to be helpful with candida overgrowth and your immune system.
Bifidobacteria Bifidum is another one you might’ve heard about in TV commercials. It helps with digestion, B vitamin synthesis and immune system function.
B. Longum helps to maintain the integrity of your gut wall and is helpful in eliminating toxins.
Saccharomyces Boulardii is great for traveler’s diarrhea and other indigestion. Also a big player in combatting chronic yeast.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Streptococcus Thermophiles help the gut to digest and absorb lactose (milk sugars).
Bifidobacterium Infantis 35624, Lactobacillus Plantarum 299V and Bifidobacterium Bifidum MIMBb75 regulate bowel movements and relieve gas, bloating and pain.
5. Check the expiration date
Since we are talking about live bacteria, you have to make sure they are still potent and able to do their job. The expiration date should be from the time of manufacture, not the time of bottling. This is important! If it doesn’t state this on the label, don’t be afraid to call the company and ask. If they don’t know, you may want to consider another brand.
6. Do I need to refrigerate my probiotics?
While many probiotics require refrigeration, there are more and more coming out on the market that do not. Always check the bottle and decide based on your lifestyle. Even if your probiotics do not need refrigeration, keep them in a dry and relatively cool area.
7. Check for other ingredients
Some – but not all – probiotics contain prebiotics, non-digestible foods that feed the probiotics. For the most part, your normal diet will likely provide all prebiotics needed, but you may want to still consider this factor. If you have any dietary concerns (food-allergies, vegan lifestyle, etc,) you may want to check all other supporting ingredients on the bottle, as I mentioned in #1.
8. Should I still eat probiotic-rich food if I am supplementing?
Of course! Supplementing with probiotics is awesome, especially considering modern society’s often unhealthy lifestyle. But eating probiotics in addition has the pottential to help you feel even healthier and your gut will thank you for it. Sauerkraut, coconut kefir, kimchi, microalgae, tempeh, pickles, kombucha, fermented cabbage and yogurt (as long as they are pure without added sugars, etc.) are great options to eat your probiotics with to help your gut health.
Exciting news too! Fitlife is about to launch their new probiotics – Biotic Balance – complete with 10 strains of beneficial bacteria and 50 Billion CFU’s! Pretty cool stuff! 🙂 So keep your eye out for more info… 🙂
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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