Which probiotic supplement is right for me?
When looking for a probiotic supplement, you will see that there are numerous probiotic supplements on the market. You will find lots of brands, with several different ingredients, with several different ways of taking them from pills to powders to liquids! With a lot to choose from in shops and online, sometimes it can be hard to determine which probiotic is the right one for you.
On this blog post, hopefully by the time you have read this you will feel more confident in choosing your probiotic supplement!
What types of probiotics are there?
There are many different types of probiotics, but to avoid over consuming you we will discuss the most frequently consumed ones.
The commonly consumed probiotics are strains of two species, these species are the most studied probiotics:
Bifidobacteria: This is a group of bacteria that is often used in foods and supplements. Bifidobacteria usually lives in your intestine and stomach. It is thought to support your immune system, limit the growth of harmful bacteria that is in your intestine and help contribute to the breakdown of lactose, turning it into nutrients that the body. Once broken down, they help our bodies to perform functions such as digestion and fight off harmful bacteria.
Lactobacillus: Classed as “friendly” bacteria, Lactobacillus normally lives in our digestive, urinary and genital systems without causing any issues. There are many species of lactobacillus, it also found in some foods such as yoghurt, kefir and in probiotic supplements. This certain species produces lactic acid. Lactic acid plays an important role in fighting against harmful microorganisms and helps to strengthen the immune system. It also serves as a fuel for your muscles and increases the rate as to how quickly your body absorbs certain minerals. This bacteria is naturally found in the mouth, small intestine and vaginal region.
What are the most common strains of probiotics?
It is important to acknowledge that each probiotic strain all effects our bodies differently. The probioitic strain names can be found on the food or supplement label, combined with the species name. Bifidobacteria or Lactobacullis species are often abbreiviated as B. or L. and will then be coupled with a unique strain name, such as plantarum for example. This will then give you the probiotic L. plantarum, which you will see on the probiotic food or supplement label.
We have listed below some common strains of probiotics that you may discover on your probiotic supplement labels
B. animalis: This strain helps to aid digestion and has been shown to strengthen the immune system.
B. lactis: Derived from milk, B. lactis can be found in certain cheeses. It is responsible for breaking down waste found in the body and helps with the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
B. acidophilus: This bacteria is normally found in your intestines, it is vital to support our gut health.
L. casei: This certain strain of bacteria is commonly found in probiotic drinks. Adding more L. casei into your diet can help aid digestion and help with any digestive issues you may already have.
L. rhamonusus: This strain of bacteria is made to survive in acidic conditions. It may also help to prevent and treat an upset stomach and potentially many other health benefits.
How do I choose the right probiotic supplement?
When choosing your probiotic supplement, it is important that you read up on the product carefully. Here is a list of what to look for when making your decision:
- Make sure the probiotic has been clinically tested and proven.
- Check the shelf life date. Be aware of probiotic supplements that don't promise shelf life stability all the way to expiration date, as strains can be dead by the time the supplement reaches you!
- Always read the label as to where you should store your probiotic. Some supplements require refrigeration.
- Check for the amount of CFU (colony forming units) the supplement has. The more the better!
- Look for a probiotic that has multiple strains.
Please remember to consult your Doctor or a medically trained professional should you need any advice in regards to taking a probiotic supplement.