The Best Probiotics for My Gut
With a plethora of options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose the right probiotic supplements. Every body is different, so every gut is different; we all require something unique to help our bodies and guts function at their peak. To help you out, I have a quick, easy guide to help you select the right probiotic supplement for you so that you can get on the road to better health.
Colony Forming Units (CFUs)
CFUs, or Colony Forming Units, are the measuring unit for probiotics and must be clearly displayed on the bottle. For most people, a probiotic in the range of 3-50 billion CFUs will be best suited for the average digestive system. The lower range is sufficient as a maintenance product if you have an otherwise completely healthy digestive system and will allow you to replenish the probiotics lost due to our modern lifestyle.
The higher potencies are recommended for specific reasons, including:
Stress and Travelling: Most of our immune cells live in our gut, so it is imperative to reinforce them during times that might prove risky for our immunity, such as while traveling or going through a stressful situation. Increasing your probiotics will help you to avoid future issues.
Older Age: As we age, our microbiome loses probiotics much more quickly, especially Bifidobacteria, which is found in the large intestine. A drop in Bifidobacteria may cause severe digestive problems. For these cases, a high potency probiotic with a high concentration of Bifidobacteria is generally recommended.
Diet: An unhealthy diet loaded with processed foods is also responsible for depleting our natural probiotics and compromising our digestive systems. Incorporating a high-potency probiotic supplement can help dramatically in minimizing the damage and re-balancing a problematic digestive system.
Be aware that anything beyond 50 billion CFUs won’t add any significant benefits, so the higher cost is usually not worth it.
Look for supplements that are free of chemicals and ingredients that may upset your gastrointestinal tract instead of helping it. Be sure to take a close look at any potential irritants it may have; a good quality supplement will have little to none.
Shelf Stable and Guaranteed Potency
It is imperative that you get what you pay for, so be an informed consumer. If the manufacturer advertises 50 billion CFUs in the product you purchased, that number of CFUs should remain the same when you use the supplement four months later. The label should specifically say, “Potency guaranteed until time of expiration.” Look for a label that says “Refrigeration Not Required” or “Shelf Stable” to ensure your probiotic will maintain its potency without refrigeration.
Another important factor to consider before investing in a probiotic is the strain diversity. Look for a good combination of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli; this will support both your large and small intestines. The label will include the abbreviations “L.” and “B.”
Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the vast number of supplements. This guide gives you the most important basics; if you have any questions, you can always speak to the pharmacist on duty. Your body can benefit from probiotics; take the time to educate yourself and make the best choice!
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