How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the growing knowledge around the importance of our gut health, and its many benefits to our overall wellness. Whether you suffer from IBS or other bowel conditions, or have recently been on a course of antibiotics, taking a probiotic supplement could really change your life.
Balancing and improving your gut bacteria is key for a healthy digestive system, so the first thing to look at is including more probiotic foods into your diet like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha – but for those who can’t eat these foods every day, a probiotic supplement may be your best option.
But with so many on the market, each one claiming to support a slightly different ailment, how do you know which one to pick?! Here’s our handy breakdown to help you out….
Variety, Not Quantity…
Many probiotic supplements pride themselves on the number of CFU units (or how many bacteria are in it), some boasting 50 million per dose! But it’s not the quantity that’s important, but the variety of strains within the supplement.
Different strains of probiotic bacteria have slightly different functions, so a supplement with multiple strains will benefit you more.
The best probiotics will include a variation of the following most important strains:
- L. acidophilus – helps with supporting the absorption of nutrients and with the digestion of dairy foods.
- B. longum – helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall and flush out toxins.
- B. bifidum – critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products, and helps breakdown complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins into more efficient components.
- L. rhamnosus – known as the ‘travel probiotic’, this strain can help prevent diarrhoea and upset stomach.
- L. fermentum – helps neutralize the by-products of digestion and balances gut bacteria.
Check the Packaging…
There are a few things to look out for on the packaging to ensure you’re getting the best supplements for your needs.
Firstly, make sure that the bacteria is ‘live’, and look for CFUs in the billions (as well as having more than one strain!).
Next, make sure your probiotic has an expiry date. All bacteria will have a shelf-life, and should not be taken after this date.
Lastly, make sure the capsules or supplements aren’t in direct sunlight exposure. Bacteria survive best in dark, cool environments. If your packaging is transparent, the cultures may not have survived the journey to you!
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