How To Choose The Right Probiotic Supplement?

This post is sponsored by Renew Life®.

A quick guide on choosing the right probiotic supplement for you and your family. 

Probiotics are live microorganisms aka friendly bacteria that live within our gut and play a vital role in our health & wellness. Our gut hosts trillions of bacteria that help maintain the gut flora, aid in digestion/absorption of nutrients, and play a role in immune health among many other things. Under normal conditions, good bacteria outnumber the bad ones but stress, illness, diet, genetics, and environmental factors can cause an imbalance in the gut flora. Imbalance in gut can directly or indirectly affect many aspects of the health including GI health - change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, bloating), skin issues, autoimmune conditions, weight change, mental health (brain fog, stress, difficulty sleeping) etc. Gut health is a very complex, multi-faceted area but we can all agree that one way to improve gut microflora is through the regular use of probiotics (and prebiotics). 

BEST PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

Ideally, it is best to get probiotics through different food sources like kefir, fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut), kombucha, yogurt, tempeh, miso etc. If you are unable to get probiotics in your diet regularly, probiotic supplements are definitely something to consider. Probiotic supplements are "dietary supplements" and can be purchased over the counter (although there is a prescription-based probiotic available). If you are overwhelmed with so many options out there or unsure how to pick a probiotic supplement, then here is a quick guide on choosing the right probiotic supplement for you and your family : 

  • Probiotic supplement can be found in capsules, chewables, powder, and liquid. Regardless of the form, you should look whether or not the supplement contains “live and active cultures”.

  • Not all probiotic supplements are created equally! Did you know there are number of different species, strains, and genus, of bacteria? This is a really key factor to understand because not all species with a specific genus or strain impart the same benefit. When research is done on probiotic, a specific type of microbe is used and the results can be only associated with that specific microbe. For example, for the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4356, Lactobacillus is the genus; acidophilus is the species; and ATCC 4356 is the strain. So in order to get the benefits, you should always match the particular strain with published scientific research.

best probiotic supplement guide

Renew Life® Extra Care Ultimate Flora  has 12 Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains, which are known to help restore digestive balance & supporting digestive & immune health. 

  • It is best to pick probiotics that have independent third-party test done to ensure the amount of bacteria stated on the label is what's actually in there. Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFU) which describes the number of active, live organisms capable of living and reproducing to form a group of the same bacteria. Generally, dosages recommended range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per day for children, and from 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units per day for adults however, dose can vary based on the product and individual's need. Make sure to check CFU and serving size. In some instances, you may find serving size CFU/gram or CFU/ml without any indication of how many grams or ml are in a serving size (not just how many capsules), then that specific information is useless.

probiotic supplement guide

Renew Life® Extra Care Ultimate Flora has 30 billion live cultures; 18 billion Bifido and 12 billion Lacto cultures per capsule. If you need more or less, they have other specific probiotic supplements for kids, women, and for anyone needing extra care for the gut. 

  • Our stomach produces digestive acids and enzymes which can destroy/kill probiotics. Research have found that Lactobacillus are intrinsically resistant to acid environments and Bifidobacterium, are found in large numbers in the colon and serves as a digestion aid to ferment and digest complex carbohydrates from the host’s diet. These are two main species of bacteria used in probiotic formulations and due to these properties, it allows for targeted, species-specific probiotic delivery systems. For probiotic supplements, the formulation & delivery method makes all the difference, so do your research on the company and their products. There are many different ways in which probiotic formulations are prepared and delivered such as freeze-dried formulation, micro encapsulation, enteric coating etc

RenewLife Extra Care Ultimate Flora , utilizes "delayed-release capsules so more probiotics reach the intestinal tract. The pills are not that large and easy to swallow, which is always a bonus. 

  • Just like with food products, probiotic supplements are required to have a label that lists ingredients, serving size, different strains, CFU, storage information, and the expiration date. Learn about what strains of bacteria are present and in what quantity (CFU). There is no standard recommended daily dose of probiotics as individuals needs are different. Research suggests aiming for 1 billion - 10 billion live bacteria cultures. There is a debate whether to choose single strain or multi-strain probiotic but whatever route you choose, make sure each individual strain has been researched, and learn how how multi-strain interact with each other.

Probiotic supplements is a growing industry with lots of new exciting research on the horizon. Our gut's microflora is unique; what works for one person, may or may not work for other, so find out what supplement is best for your gut based on your lifestyle, health, genetics etc. Also, remember that if your probiotic isn't making difference in your digestive health, it is best to reassess your pick. 

 

I was able to purchase Renew Life® Extra Care Ultimate Flora at my neighborhood Kroger. Surprisingly, all Renew Life® probiotics were in an aisle with other multi-vitamins instead of probiotics so be sure to look at both aisles. 

To learn more and see the full line of Renew Life® supplements, visit
www.RenewLife.com. 

Do you take probiotic supplements? What information do you normally look for?

This post is sponsored by Renew Life. Thank you for supporting the brands I love that continues to make Food, Pleasure, and Health possible.