There is no limit to the number of probiotic supplements present in the market today, so how does one decide which is the right one for them and their family members?
Since there are larger numbers of bacteria living in our body than the human cells (1), in order to make the microbial activities work in synchronization with the human cells, it is important to select the best probiotic supplement. There are certain factors, on the basis of which we can decide upon the effectiveness of a supplement such as:
- Expiry periods of the supplements
- The cost of the supplement and its exchange or return rule.
- Different bacterial strains
- The precise reason we are looking for the supplement in the first place
What can probiotic help us with?
- Lower cholesterol
- weight loss
- preventing obesity
- To reduce the symptoms’ of allergy
- To deal with bowel syndromes
Once we know what we need the probiotic for, it will help us a great deal to study the labels to understand their functions, and to make a choice. Following are some ways through which labels of a probiotic supplement can help us decide:
1. Bacterial strains:
There are various different kinds of bacterial strains found in a supplement, and different strains are beneficial for treating different kinds of symptoms. Probiotic bacteria come from two common genera, namely Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These two common groups are further divided into various different species of bacteria, and each of these species contains different strains. In the label of the supplement all three factors are mentioned; first the genus, then the species and a code in the end which identifies the strain. Use the internet to search if the strain would be effective against the symptom or disease you are dealing with.
2. Shelf life is important:
The expiry date of the probiotic supplement is a matter of great importance. Choose the one that says “Viable through the end of shelf life” so that the bacteria are still active and alive by the time it reaches your mouth, and brings positive effect to your health.
Make sure that the supplement you are about to consume is tested, and certified by an authentic authority because there is a high chance that the amount of bacteria mentioned in the label might just be a lie.
4. Quantity of organisms in the supplement:
The label would mention how much organisms are there in a single dose. Go for the one that has more than six strains, and almost 5 million colony forming units.
Here’s a list of some of the supplements that are effective for certain conditions:
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus for lactose intolerant
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Lactobacillus fermentum VRI-003 PCC for eczema
- Bifidobacterium animalis lactis Bi-07 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM for severe cold
You do not need to be a medical expert to figure out which probiotic is right for you, a simple academic search and a good look at the label would land you with the right supplement.