How Do I Identify a Quality Probiotic Supplement?

Choosing a probiotic supplement can be daunting. “The FDA does not regulate supplements, and many times the customer does not know what they are or are not getting,” notes Morra. Still, better probiotics share some common traits:

  • They contain genetically identified, well-researched strains like those listed earlier. (An internet search can reveal the level of research on any strain.)
  • They’re free of all major allergens as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
  • They contain a guaranteed number of living units through the expiration date.
  • They’re made with good manufacturing practices (GMP). Look for GMP certification or USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention) verification on the label.
  • They’re tested by an independent laboratory to verify label claims.

Some, but not all, quality probiotics need to be refrigerated. Freeze-dried capsules and soil-based probiotics generally don’t require it. If the label recommends refrigeration, be sure the seller has followed that instruction.

The number of colony-forming units (or CFUs) does not appear to be important, and more is not necessarily better. “If the probiotic is potent enough, you don’t need hundreds of billions of units,” notes Rountree, adding that beneficial ranges will vary among probiotic categories.

With soil-based probiotics, for instance, 2 billion units are probably enough to make a difference, while many Lacto-Bifido blends feature CFUs ranging from 25 billion to 50 billion, and some contain even more.

Opt for a probiotic that meets the criteria for a quality supplement over one that promises the highest number of CFUs.

This originally appeared as “The Probiotics Puzzle” in the April 2020 print issue of Experience Life.

Mo Perry

Share
Published by
Mo Perry

STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND: Words of Inspiration

Here a few mantras that help our fitness editor boost her motivation and focus.

16 hours ago

Welcome to Wellness

The world of yoga, meditation, and other wellness practices has not always felt welcoming to…

18 hours ago

The Why, the Wonder

There is no timeline for learning and discovery: Both are lifelong opportunities for growth.

2 days ago

How to Engage Your Core and Glutes

Show your glutes and core some love with these activation strategies.

2 days ago

A Perilous Prescription?

Cannabis-based medicine is gaining popularity among seniors coping with chronic pain, anxiety, and other conditions.…

3 days ago

Understanding the COVID Vaccines

Three functional-medicine doctors answer key questions about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

3 days ago