2021 Probiotic Supplements Guide

What To Look For:

Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep your digestive system healthy. The colony of microorganisms in the body is essential in maintaining physiological processes, most notably the conversion of food to essential nutrients and transport of nutrients in the body. Before we delve into sources of probiotics and their associated health benefits, let’s understand what they are, how they function, and the mechanism in which they influence other functions in the body.  You will find that you can improve your gut’s bacterial ecosystem (a.k.a. gastrointestinal micro biome) by eating fibrous plant foods, complex carbohydrates, fermented food, and taking probiotic dietary supplements.

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Probiotics are “good” bacteria that:

  • Supports healthy gut function and digestive health†
  • Supports healthy immune system function and a healthy GI tract†
  • Supports normal micro flora in the gut and normal digestion†

They have metabolic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties crucial in maintaining holistic wellness. Gut micro biome converts food to essential nutrients which are vital in all body functions. Probiotics also attach to the mucous membrane of the digestive tract and improve gut immune system capabilities.

When gut micro biome is thrown out of balance by a combination of factors including age, diet, environment, genes, and medication, the body’s overall health declines. Sometimes probiotics from ingested food are not enough to support and maintain the body. For those with an imbalanced gut ecosystem, probiotic supplements provide an excellent source of beneficial bacteria to promote holistic wellness. There are numerous different probiotics brands, our result show the majority of products don’t live up to their claims. That’s because most probiotic supplements can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even get to the digestive tract.

5 things to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement

  1. Contain Soil-Based Organisms and Shelf-Stable: Make sure your probiotic supplement has soil-based probiotics and is shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Ideally you want your probiotic to have a shelf-life of 2 years.†
  2. High CFU Count: Choose a probiotic brand that has a higher number of probiotics, ideally at least 50 billion per serving.
  3. Strain Diversity: Select a probiotic supplement that has 10 or more probiotic strains, such as Bacillus coagulants, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus herophilus strains.
  4. Survivability: Look for formulas that are in delayed release capsules such as DRcaps that protects the probiotics from stomach acid.
  5. Prebiotics: To support the growth of probiotics once they get into your system, it is essential that prebiotics are also included in the formula.

Degnan FH. The US Food and Drug Administration and probiotics: regulatory categorization. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46(Suppl 2):S133–S136.
Didari T, Solki S, Mozaffari S, et al. A systematic review of the safety of probiotics. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety. 2014;13(2):227–239.
Duffy LC, Sporn S, Hibberd P, et al. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. In: Coates PM, Betz JM, Blackman MR, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Informa Healthcare; 2010:469–478.
Hibberd PL, Kleimola L, Fiorino AM, et al. No evidence of harms of probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ATCC 53103 in healthy elderly—a phase I open label study to assess safety, tolerability and cytokine responses. PloS One. 2014;9(12):e113456.
Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, et al. The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Gut. 2010;59(3):325–332.
Sanders ME, Akkermans LMA, Haller D, et al. Safety assessment of probiotics for human use. Gut Microbes. 2010;1(3):164–185.
Ford AC, Moayyedi P, Lacy BE, et al. American College of Gastroenterology monograph on the management of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic idiopathic constipation. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014;109:S2–S26.
Goldenberg JZ, Ma SS, Saxton JD, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2013;(5):CD006095. Accessed at www.thecochranelibrary.com on April 24, 2015.
Guarner F, Khan AG, Garisch J, et al. World Gastroenterology Organisation Global Guidelines. Probiotics and Prebiotics. October 2011. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012;46(6):468–481.
Hempel S, Newberry SJ, Maher AR, et al. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA. 2012;307(18):1959–1969.
Hempel S, Newberry S, Ruelaz A, et al. Safety of Probiotics to Reduce Risk and Prevent or Treat Disease. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment no. 200. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2011. AHRQ publication no. 11-E007.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, University of Maryland http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/lactobacillus-acidophilus

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