We have previously explored, here on our Health Insiders blog, the dosage and colony-forming units (CFU) recommendations when it comes to probiotic supplements but it appears as though there is still some confusion and uncertainty. Especially regarding probiotic dosage and their strength! So, that is exactly what we will be recapping in today's blog post. Now, there are no rules when it comes to dosage as probiotics are not medicine so they are considered quite harmless although overdoing it is not advised. Taking too many probiotic supplements with a high CFU can sometimes cause mild stomach upset and discomfort. Therefore sticking to a daily limit will help ensure your probiotics intake is regular and consistent. You can already be consuming billions of probiotic CFUs through the food you eat; so taking more probiotics than needed is highly unnecessary as well as expensive.
Probiotics are generally considered a very safe daily supplement that can be difficult to overdose on but that does not mean you should take more supplements than you are advised or need!
What strength should a probiotic be?
When it comes to the daily recommendation of CFU, per billion, it’s advised to choose probiotics with at least 1 billion CFU to be at all beneficial for your health. The Colony-forming units per capsule define the ‘strength’ of your chosen probiotic. Therefore, when referring to the strength of a probiotic, we are talking about its CFU per in the measure of billions. 1 billion CFU might, initially, sound like a heavy dosage but in fact, that is quite a low amount; it’ll do very minimal in the body in the way of supporting the gut bacteria. The more ‘good’ bacteria you can pump into the body, for your overall gut or intimate health, the better. Even though the minimum recommended is as low as 1 billion CFU, there is no harm in taking a high-quality probiotic supplement with a much higher and controlled dosage.
Typically a probiotic supplement, that is intended for daily consumption, would have a much higher dosage than just 1 billion CFU. This is due to the belief that a higher dosage of probiotic bacteria is more likely to have a positive effect against neutralising any ‘harmful’ bacteria inside the body. Which are the whole point of taking probiotics; to support ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, mouth and intimate area and make sure that it neutralises and keeps the balance over ‘unfriendly’ bacteria. An off-balance can be the cause of many health issues and bacterial infections, which is why a strong probiotic that can help keep the bacteria balanced is so widely preferred.
How many billion CFU probiotics should I take?
The body itself has trillions of bacteria therefore for probiotics to be effective, you would be looking to take the average recommendation of CFUs for adults per day. Children, adults and women-formulated probiotics all have different dosages and strengths…
- The strength of child-friendly probiotics can be from 5 billion - 10 billion colony-forming units.
- Adolescents and Adults are recommended to take between 10 - 20 billion CFU capsules.
- Probiotics formulated especially for women can also be around 20 billion colony-forming units.
The reason for the differing CFUs amongst these three groups is the need and the intended reason for taking the supplement. For instance, children might only need minor gastrointestinal support therefore 5-10 billion CFU for them is more than enough. Teens and adults can benefit more from a higher dosage as they are likely to need more support in the way of controlling bacteria. Therefore a higher dosage is both safe and advised. Now, a probiotic formulated especially for women is likely to have a very high dosage of approximately 20 bill CFU as these couples will typically contain more Lactobacillus bacteria to support intimate health and the gut. Therefore a higher concentrated amount of probiotic bacteria will be more effective for women looking for that additional support in the way of intimate health.
Is 50 billion CFU probiotics too much?
Whilst you can expect to find the majority of probiotic supplements capped around the 20 billion CFU marker, does not mean that taking more is not safe but it can be unnecessary in many cases to exceed your daily dosage by that much. The number of daily probiotics you take is entirely up to why you are taking them as everyone's gut health and microbiome can all be different and therefore require more or less support from probiotics. Healthy adults can safely take upwards of 30 to even 50 billion colony-form units if they feel it is necessary. A smaller amount of CFU can be effective and a higher strength does not always guarantee ‘better’ results! Although a dosage higher than 50+ billion has been linked to having more clinical benefits. However, we always advise that you seek medical advice from your GP or Doctor before taking exceedingly high probiotic dosages just to ensure your reasons for doing so are not due to a more serious conscious needed medical treatment as opposed to probiotics only.
How do you know if your probiotic is too strong?
To be safe and limit your chances of experiencing any side effects like bloating, gas, diarrhoea or even nausea; it’s best to stick to your ‘recommended’ probiotic strength based on your age and needs. All three of our Wellgard Probiotic blends are effective as well as safe to take daily; they all contain a stable amount of live probiotic bacteria that can be highly beneficial for the entire body.
- For children, we have our VITAKID* formulation (more stock pending*)
- We have our VITAGUT made for Teens and adults
- Finally, we have our women's formulation called VITAFLORA