Probiotics have become a popular phenomenon today. According to the American Society for Microbiology, there are ten times more bacteria in and on your body (particularly gut bacteria) as compared to the number of your human cells. One look online will tell you that the sheer number of probiotic supplements available on the market mimics this ratio. Adding a daily dose of these probiotic bacteria to your diet offers a whole host of benefits from supporting digestive health, skin, immunity, and mental clarity.
While research has shown the effects of probiotics are vastly beneficial, the challenging part is to choose the right probiotics for yourself and your family members. If you are looking for a probiotic supplement for supporting gut health, it is important for you to know that not all probiotic strains offer the same results. You should know about the different types of probiotics and their purported benefits before choosing one over the other.
Let us take the guesswork out of it for you—here is everything you need to know about choosing the right probiotic supplement for yourself and your loved ones.
What Are Probiotics & Where Can You Find Them?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that work in tandem with your biological systems to promote health and well-being. From supporting your immune system and mental clarity to your digestive health and metabolism, there are many benefits to gain from adding probiotics to your daily diet.
But, all probiotics are not created the same and do not offer the same advantages. While some bacterial strains may help you lose weight, others are best suited for those who want to gain a few pounds. Probiotics can be found in fermented food items such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and miso. Consuming these foods provides your body with these healthy bacteria, however, you do not have a say in the type of strains, their quality, or the number of live cultures you consume. Furthermore, it is essential that the yogurt you pick is labeled as including ‘active’ and ‘live’ cultures. Similarly, buttermilk should be cultured and unpasteurized.
If the food item has undergone any pasteurization or sterilization, the bacteria it has will have died. Even if a food source has live cultures, there is no way to be sure of which specific strains are in it. Probiotic supplements offer you increased control in these areas and are the best source to ensure you are getting adequate amounts of the good bacteria your body needs. Regarded probiotic supplements, like Here’s the Skinny, with ample live bacteria CFU (colony-forming units), and the specific strains within are mentioned on the label.
How Probiotics Work & Specific Strains
In general, your gut flora has trillions of bacteria of more than 500 different species. Most probiotic supplements have a blend of different strains for maximum efficacy. The most common types of probiotic strains belong to the families Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces. On food and dietary supplement labels, you’ll usually see the specific strains written with the genus name abbreviated, followed by the name of the specific strain in lowercase (i.e. L. plantarum, L. casei, B. longum, etc.).
Studies show that specific strains can be beneficial for specific health conditions or bodily functions. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the more common and beneficial strains.
- For weight loss and targeted belly fat reduction – Lactobacillus gasseri
- For acne, digestive and vaginal health, and diarrhea problems – Lactobacillus acidophilus
- For better brain functioning and gastro-intestinal health – Lactobacillus casei
- For anti-aging benefits and better digestive health – Bifidobacterium breve (6)
- For better immunity, gastro-intestinal health, and chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – Bifidobacterium bifidum
- For skin ailments like eczema, conditions like Traveler’s diarrhea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and infant health – Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- For anti-inflammatory benefits – Lactobacillus plantarum
- For better brain function and constipation issues – Bifidobacterium longum
- For immunity, digestive system support, and higher antibody levels – Bifidobacterium lactis
- For increased ceramide levels and skin support – Streptococcus thermophiles
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Probiotic Supplement
Now that you know what probiotics are and how they work, let’s review how to choose the best probiotic supplement for you and your family.
Read the Label & Avoid Unnecessary Added Ingredients
Read the label of the supplement carefully to find out how many CFUs it has, what the delivery system is, and which specific strains are included in it.
Some probiotic supplements include other ingredients in the medium as well, so you need to be especially sure the supplement you choose is safe for you. The ingredients table offers pertinent information about the existence of any binding agents, fillers, additives, allergy-causing substances (gluten, corn, dairy, or soy), and artificial colors. You do not need any of these, so steer clear of supplements that have any of these unhealthy additives.
Check the Expiration Date
The expiration date that matters when it comes to probiotic supplements is calculated from the time of manufacture, not bottling. Ensure that the right date is mentioned on the label. If the expiration date recorded is from the time of bottling, it is better to switch to another brand of probiotic supplements.
Single Strain vs. Multiple Strains
Before you select a probiotic supplement for your family members, it is vital to consider the types and quantity of strains in it. Some probiotics have only one or two strains of bacteria, while others feature a blend of 7-10 strains. Since every probiotic strain offers different health benefits, the rule of thumb indicates that more strains are better (though quality is equally important as we’ll also discuss).
Choose strains depending on the results you hope to see. L. acidophilus is a strain that supports the immune system and aids with candida infections and overgrowth. B. bifidum is one of the best strains to support your digestive health and immune system. Strains such as B. lactis, S. boulardii, B. infantis, and L. rhamnosus GG are especially good for children and infant probiotics.
Get Enough CFUs Per Day
It is also essential to consume supplements that have enough live cultures of your target probiotics. CFUs (or colony forming units) indicate the number of bacteria that have the capacity to divide and form new colonies of healthy bacteria in your gut.
Some supplements advertise 50-90 billion CFUs. Not only does research suggest that there are no additional benefits of such high CFU counts, but there may actually be a few drawbacks such as bloating, pain in the stomach, and excessive gas. Such a high dosage label implies a marketing gimmick and simply a way to hike up the price of the supplement—steer clear. Studies show that you need to take at least 8-10 billion CFUs a day to get the best results. Some strains can be effective with as little as 1 billion CFUs, while others need as much as 20 billion CFUs to be consumed daily.
For a daily probiotic supplement, a CFU count of 5 to 10 billion is a good one. Higher CFU counts may be recommended for specific illnesses, but it is important to check with a physician before changing your dosage. If you supplement utilizes a scientifically proven delivery system, it can have less CFUs because more of them will stay alive as they migrate through your digestive system.
Find the Right Delivery System
A supplement may have a great blend of probiotics but that will not be worth much if they do not get to the target area. The environment within your stomach is a harsh one—and for good reason. Stomach acids are crucial to helping our bodies break down and digest food as well as eliminate pathogens, however, they can be equally harsh on good bacteria. The goal of a good delivery system is to ensure that as many microbes as possible survive the rigors of traveling through your stomach acids so they can reach your lower GI-tract and actually do the work they are intended to do.
Our company is firmly rooted in science, and through rigorous research, we’ve developed a line of targeted probiotic supplements that utilize a patented delivery system—called BIO-Tract—that gives them 15 times more survivability than standard probiotic capsules.
Lovebug Tablets vs. Standard Capsules
LoveBug Probiotics have 15 times more survivability than standard capsules
Make Sure the Bacteria is Alive
In order to enjoy the benefits of probiotics, it is essential for the microbes to be alive when you consume them. When choosing your probiotic supplement, ensure that it has live cultures.
Some supplements require refrigeration to keep the cultures alive. However, there is no way to ensure that the damage is not already done during transit or while storing on the shelves.
Most reliable brands err on the side of caution by increasing the viable count of live cultures 2-10 folds. This overage ensures that even if some of the microorganisms die during storage and transport, there are still enough live microorganisms to be beneficial for your overall health.
The best thing to do is to pick a supplement that is of high quality and does not require refrigeration. Again, a solid delivery system eliminates these issues because it ensures greater survivability of the organisms within. LoveBug’s probiotic supplements have a one-year shelf life without any need for refrigeration. So go ahead and store them in your medicine cabinet, desk drawer, or by your nightstand without any worries (though if you’re taking them daily as recommended, they’ll be long gone before then!).
Choose Hassle-free Storage Options
Probiotics are available in the form of capsules, tablets, powders, dried formulas, and pre-formulated drinks. Depending on the type of supplement, the recommended way to store it may differ.
Some probiotics need to be refrigerated. As previously mentioned, this can be problematic because the live cultures might have died during transport and storage to and from the manufacturer and seller. Heat-dried powders need to be stored in the refrigerator.
On the other hand, freeze-dried options can be stored at room temperature. Supplements that do not need to be refrigerated are travel-friendly and portable, which might be a better option for you if you travel frequently or have a trip coming up.
Give Your Family a High-Quality, Targeted Probiotic Supplement
LoveBug Probiotics’ supplements take the guesswork out of it because they have a proprietary blend of bacterial strains designed to meet specific needs—Colds Suck offers immune support, Here’s the Skinny supports overall digestive/gut health, Labor of Love meets pre- and post-pregnancy needs, Yeast is a Beast is perfect for women’s health needs, while Tiny Tummies and Little Ones are age-specific supplements for infants and kids.
Our probiotic supplements are travel-friendly and do not need to be refrigerated. These multi-strain, sugar-free, and non-GMO supplements have 15x more survivability, thanks to a patented delivery technology called BIO-tract. Each tablet has a blend of strains to give you optimal benefits with every single dose.
Since they do not need to be refrigerated, they are portable and travel-friendly. Available in a tablet form, these supplements are sugar-free, non-GMO, and free of all unnecessary ingredients, have multiple useful strains, and are delivered to your gut via BIO-tract for superior survivability. Make maintaining the health and wellbeing of your family a stress-free process with LoveBug Probiotics.
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