Top 5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Probiotic
Written by Evan DeMarco
Regulating gut health is a critical part of improving total wellness, and it starts with healthy gut flora. There’s no better way to foster a healthy gut microbiome than with probiotics! In our previous guide to probiotics, we took a look at what they are and why they’re an important supplement to consider.
But not all probiotics are the same. Just like any supplement, your mileage varies depending on the quality of the formulation. For example, taking a supplement with only 1 or 2 kinds of bacterial strains won’t give you the same benefits as taking a supplement with 4 or 5. To get the most out of it, you have to know what to look for when choosing a probiotic.
Below, we’ve outlined 5 key variables to consider before buying a probiotic. We’ll explain what to look for, why each variable is important and what to avoid. Proper gut health starts with a good education in probiotics!
1. 50 billion CFU or higher
In our last post, we discussed Colony Forming Units (CFUs). This is the number of live bacteria in each probiotic serving. The number varies depending on the formulation, sitting somewhere between 1-10 billion. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually enough to have a real impact for most people. You should be looking for probiotics with 50 billion CFUs or more!
Let’s clarify something upfront: More isn’t always better. 50 billion CFU isn’t automatically better than 10 billion CFU. The reason to look for a higher CFU number is because it generally represents multiple cultures in a formula, which do more for gut health. Higher CFUs per serving introduces your gut to more healthy bacteria.
2. Multiple strains
Piggybacking off of the last point, always look for multi-strain probiotic blends. These will almost always have higher CFU ratings, which means if you’re searching for one, you’ll likely find the other!
The reason to choose a probiotic with multiple strains is simple: Diversity is good for your gut. Different bacteria cultures play different roles in regulating gut health. Diversifying your probiotic enables your gut to reap the benefits. Instead of trying to nail down one type of culture to address chronic inflammation and another to help brain fog, a multi-strain probiotic will create a balance of healthy gut flora across the board.
3. Prebiotic from inulin
There’s a lot of confusion between probiotics and prebiotics. It’s easiest to think of it this way: Probiotics are healthy bacteria in your gut; prebiotics are a type of fiber that nourishes them. To promote good gut health, you should supplement your probiotics with prebiotics. The good news is, many probiotic formulations already do this. It’s important to look for one that includes both.
Make sure you’re taking a probiotic that includes a prebiotic made from insulin. Insulin is a soluble fiber found in plants, easily broken down deep within the digestive tract. It’s low in calories and offers a slew of benefits—everything from promoting weight loss to controlling blood sugar levels (for diabetics).
This tip has less to do with the probiotic itself and everything to do with how it’s packaged. It may seem trivial, but choosing blister-packed probiotics over a big bottle of pills makes a big difference. Here’s why.
Humidity is a big problem for probiotics. When they’re lumped together in a bottle, pills are subject to humidity, which can ruin your probiotic. More than just corrupting a few pills, you’ll be stuck with an entire batch that’s no longer viable! In blister packes, pills are separated and airtight, eliminating problems with humidity and spoilage.
5. Dairy-free formulation
In recent years, dairy has been shown to cause health problems in many people, even outside of those with lactose intolerance. While most people associate probiotics with yogurt (which may contain lactose), many of the best probiotic formulations are completely dairy-free. This gives you the benefit of healthy gut bacteria, without the addition of lactose and other enzymes that may throw things off balance.
Find probiotics that fit the bill
Choosing probiotics that fit all these criteria ensures you’re getting a product with the most potential to help you foster a health gut microbiome. It may seem tedious to check for 50 CFU or shop around until you find blister packaging, but it’s worth it to get the best caliber probiotics!
Before you do too much shopping, you can always check out Omax’s Triple Action Probiotic + Prebiotic Inulin. We’ve done the legwork to create the very best probiotic product, so you don’t have to search high and low, between products that just aren’t quite right. Give it a try today!