Probiotics can be the solution to your health goals if you know about the options available to you. Here are questions to ask before choosing probiotics.
About 4 million American adults use probiotics in the span of a single month. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can support your health benefits. These bacteria can help you digest food, produce vitamins, or destroy disease-carrying cells.
In fact, so many people are recognizing the benefits of probiotics that they’ve become the third most commonly used dietary supplement. They’re ranked right behind vitamins and minerals.
Not sure where to begin when choosing probiotics? Here are seven questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase. By using these tips, you can explore your options for probiotics while getting the best bang for your buck.
Start your search and improve your health with this guide on choosing probiotics today!
1. What Are My Health Goals?
Before you start shopping, it helps to get a broad understanding of your specific health goals. That way, you can choose the probiotics you need to accomplish those goals. Otherwise, you could risk choosing probiotics that share the same benefits.
Here are a few health goals you might have in mind when looking to experience the benefits of probiotics.
Are you experiencing constipation? It’s completely normal. About 16% of adults experience constipation symptoms, while 33% of adults age 60 and up experience symptoms.
Thankfully, there are probiotics that can help.
If your constipation has become a chronic problem, you might consider probiotics such as:
- L. plantarum
- B. animalis
- L. reuteri
- S. cerevisiae
- L. rhamnosus
- B. longum
Taking these options for probiotics can benefit patients with irritable bowel syndrome who are experiencing regular constipation.
Did you pick up dinner from a new restaurant only to develop food poisoning? If you’re suffering from diarrhea, there are probiotics that can improve your digestion. Try:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome might experience diarrhea symptoms often as well. Their options for probiotics include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
Do you want to improve your performance at work? Consider using probiotics that can improve your brain function, including:
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Lactobacillus helveticus
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bifidobacterium brave
Taking probiotics regularly could also reduce your risk of anxiety or depression symptoms. They might also reduce the risk of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder or autism.
One of the benefits of probiotics is they can help you lose weight. If you’re looking for weight loss probiotics, search for Lactobacillus rhamnosus combined with Bifidobacterium lactis. You might also want to try Lactobacillus rhamnosus or gasseri.
These probiotics could decrease the amount of fat your gut absorbs after you eat. They can also improve your body composition, which could help you lose weight.
2. Are There Multiple Strains?
Before choosing probiotics based on your health goals, look for probiotics that contain more than one strain. These probiotics are more effective than ones with only a single strain. Choosing a probiotic that contains more than one strain will help you experience multiple benefits from a single probiotic.
Before choosing probiotics, make sure to determine the origin of each strain. Most strains are coded to help you track their origins.
Are the strains human and non-GMO? You don’t want to find out your probiotics are derived from animals like rats.
You’ll also want to look for a probiotic that maintains a balanced formula. Does the product only contain one or two major strains? There’s a chance smaller doses of other strains are only thrown in.
If you’re only getting a small amount of the strains you need, you might not experience the benefits of probiotics you’re hoping to.
3. What CFU Do I Need?
Before purchasing probiotics, make sure to determine the colony-forming units (CFUs) you need. Probiotics are measured in CFUs to determine the probiotic’s potency.
Does the product guarantee “CFU at expiry”? Look for this label before buying your probiotics. CFU at expiry indicates the product provides the number of bacteria advertised on the label.
Some probiotic products contain unhealthy cells. In addition to looking for the label’s CFU, confirm the probiotics are triple-cleaned.
Any weaker cells and toxins get removed from the end product during the cleaning process. By choosing a product that was triple-cleaned, you can make sure you’re getting a high-quality probiotic without sacrificing potency.
You’ll likely need one or two billion CFUs a day per probiotic. This dose will ensure you experience the benefits of probiotics. A higher dose won’t cause harm, though it won’t provide additional benefits, either.
If you’re still concerned about the quality of your products, look into enumeration. You can find more info here.
4. Are These Allergen-Free?
Over 50 million Americans deal with various types of allergies each year. In fact, allergies are the leading cause of chronic illness in the country. If you struggle with allergies, don’t forget to read the ingredient list when choosing probiotics.
Otherwise, you might end up with a probiotic that contains allergies such as:
- Tree nuts
- Tree nuts
You can minimize your risk of an allergic reaction by looking for products that are allergen-free. Make sure to avoid products that contain GMOs, too. Products that are both GMO- and allergen-free are healthier options.
5. Are the Capsules Plant-Based?
Most probiotics are packaged within capsules, which ensures the probiotic reaches your stomach.
Make sure the probiotics you choose aren’t housed within enteric-coated capsules. These capsules contain plasticizers. Instead, choose probiotics that are housed within plant-based capsules.
You can also look for capsules that are vegan.
If your probiotics don’t have to fight their way through the plastic capsule, they can get to work sooner rather than later!
6. How Are They Packaged?
Most probiotics are packed in bottles. However, these products can degrade every time you expose your probiotics to air and humidity.
Look for products that are self-stable to ensure they’re protected from outside elements.
7. How Were They Manufactured?
It can also help to learn about the manufacturing conditions, too. Look for probiotics that were manufactured at a facility that meets rigorous standards. You might want to choose products created in cGMP or FDA-registered facilities for peace of mind.
Choosing Probiotics You Need for Better Gut Health: 7 Questions to First
Ready to give your overall health a boost? Make sure to use these tips when choosing probiotics first. With these tips, you can find high-quality products designed with your health goals in mind.
Searching for more ways to improve your overall well-being? Explore the Health section for more helpful guides today.