Choosing the Right Probiotic

Choosing the Right Probiotic

You may have heard of probiotics, the “good” bacteria that can help people stay healthy. Various studies show that there may be a multitude of health benefits to taking probiotic supplements.However, taking them without knowing how each microorganism strain works may be a waste. Not all probiotics are created equal, so choosing the right probiotic is essential for specific tasks. Don’t reach for just anything as it is best to look for the best formula that matches your individual health concerns.

Astounding Assistance

Before you take any probiotics talk to your doctor to make sure there will be no contraindications (side effects) regarding your specific health history. There are many claims and studies regarding the effectiveness of probiotics but there is no guarantee they will work on everyone. However, the use of microorganism assistance is becoming more prominent and successful as it is studied.

Berkeley Wellness of the University of California cites some research:

  • Digestive problems – “A 2012 research review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that probiotics reduced the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 42 percent…”
  • Weight loss – “A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 found that people who drank fermented milk with a particular strain of Lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks had a reduction in abdominal fat and body weight…”
  • Immune system – “A 2012 study in the British Journal of Nutrition, found that certain probiotic strains boost measures of immune response.”

Other possible health benefits of probiotics include assisting: oral health, skin conditions, depression/anxiety, urinary tract infections, and yeast infections/vaginal health.

Billions of Friendlies 

The first sign of choosing the right probiotic is getting enough. US News reports that the amount of microorganisms in each probiotic capsule needs to be equal to or greater than 1.5 billion CFU’s (colony-forming units). There are many inexpensive brands that offer microorganisms in the millions. This could work if you take 2-4 or more capsules per day however it is much easier to take one potent dose in the billions.

Alive and Well

It may seem odd that you are ingesting living organisms but just remember that they are the good guys, like a cavalry coming to make everyone safe. Make sure your choice indicates that you will be getting “live active cultures” with good delivery to the gut. This may entail time coated or encapsulated capsules capable of making it through the harsh acidity of your stomach and into its home in the colon. Take each dose on an empty stomach with room temperature water.

Also, many strong brands require refrigeration to keep the cultures from depleting and these are probably the best choice. However, others offer non-refrigerated storage for on-the-go delivery which is just fine.

One more thing, it is important to choose a brand that advertises, “viable through end of shelf life”. This means that the live organisms will be at their full potency until the bottle’s expiration date. Avoid small print that informs “viable at the time of manufacture” which is basically letting you know that when you pop one in your mouth all the organisms could be dead.


There are a variety of strains needed for specific systemic results. Sometimes, choosing a probiotic with up to seven different strains ensures that you will receive a proper delivery that addresses a multitude of symptoms. Getting to know what strains you are taking and what they do is an important factor.

Here are a handful of the many strains that are out there:

  • L. Acidophilus – Digestive function, nutrient absorption and immune health.
  • L. Rhamnosus – Lowers blood pressure, combats osteoporosis, improves sleep quality.
  • B. Infantis – Improves immune function, reduces kidney stones, may help low birth weight.
  • B. Lactis – Breaks down waste and aids in nutrient absorption.
  • Lactobacillus GG – Vaginosis, recurrent ear or respiratory infections.

Talk to your doctor about which probiotic may be good for you and your lifestyle to potentially assist maintaining optimal health.