How to choose probiotics

When looking at probiotics, there are several key things to consider.

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Different strains, different effects

Firstly, not all bacteria are probiotics and not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of probiotics can have different effects. For example, one strain may help with digestion while another may help to boost the immune system.

In addition to being able to identify the specific strain, it’s also important that the strain has been tested in clinical studies to ensure it’s safe and that the amount is adequate and effective. 

What to look for when choosing a probiotic

  • The product is backed by science 
  • It provides an effective dose
  • It provides the benefit you’re seeking
  • It’s safe to use
  • And it’s labelled properly, including the names of the microbes, suggested dose, storage conditions, and how many live microorganisms are in each dose

Colonization of the gut

Good probiotics colonize the human gut temporarily – this is what enables the probiotic to restore a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. A daily intake of probiotics, whether from food or supplements, ensures adequate and stable levels of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). 

In summary, not all bacteria are probiotics and not all probiotics are equal. Strain specificity is important. Additionally, probiotic strains should be tested in clinical studies to ensure their safety and effectiveness. 

You can learn more about probiotics in the videos and articles in our Learning Lab.

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