Approximately 4 million (1.6%) of adults in America used probiotics in the last month. These dietary supplements are the third most commonly used among adults, behind vitamins and minerals.
Many people take probiotics for maintaining a good gut. While bacteria are usually associated with spreading diseases, the bacteria probiotics can also promote overall good health. However, some people find it difficult to find the right supplement.
Not sure what to look for in a probiotic? Keep reading for six helpful tips. With this guide, you can find the probiotics you need to give your body an overall boost.
1. Know What You Need
Before you can learn how to buy probiotics, you need to know what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you won’t be able to accomplish your specific health goals.
For example, everyone experiences constipation from time to time. However, it can also become a chronic issue. It often occurs with bedridden patients. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) might also experience chronic constipation.
Here’s what to look for in probiotics for constipation:
- B. animalis
- B. longum
- L. reuteri
- L. plantarum
- L. rhamnosus
- S. cerevisiae
If you have the stomach flu or food poisoning, you might experience diarrhea. Probiotics can reduce how often you experience this symptom. Look for strains that include:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
Patients with IBS might also experience diarrhea. For these patients, try the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains.
Many people also take probiotics for weight loss. Some strains can decrease the amount of fat your gut absorbs. Balancing the bacteria in your gut can improve your body composition so you can shed the extra pounds.
Here’s what to look for when buying probiotics for weight loss:
- Lactobacillus gasseri
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus combined with Bifidobacterium lactis
Probiotics can support your brain health, too. As a result, you can reduce symptoms of:
- Poor memory
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
For added brainpower, try:
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus helveticus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
There are also probiotic strains for heart health, immunity, and general health. Consider speaking with a doctor to determine which probiotics are best for achieving your health goals.
2. Check for Multiple Strains
Once you know which strains to look for, you can start learning how to buy probiotics.
Probiotics that contain more than one strain are often the most effective. That way, you’re providing your body with different health benefits all at once.
As you research products with different strains, make sure the strains are coded.
This means the company is able to track the exact origin of each strain they’re using. If you know the origin of each strain, you can tell they’re human and non-GMO. Otherwise, you might end up with probiotic strains derived from animals (such as rats).
If you’re choosing a probiotic product with multiple strains, make sure it’s a balanced formula. Otherwise, the product will include one or two major strains with a small sprinkle of other strains thrown in. As a result, you might not receive the health benefits you’re hoping for.
3. Consider CFU
Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units (CFU). The CFU will indicate how potent the probiotic is.
When learning how to buy probiotics, make sure the product guarantees “CFU at expiry.” This indicates the product contains at least the amount of bacteria the label advertises.
Some products contain media and unhealthy cells as well. During your research, see if the probiotics are triple-cleaned. This will ensure the weaker cells and toxins are removed from the product.
That way, you’re buying a potent, high-quality probiotic.
Some probiotics are most effective at doses of one to two billion CFU a day. While taking higher doses won’t necessarily harm you, it also won’t offer additional health benefits.
4. Go Allergen-Free
The probiotics market is expected to reach $65.87 billion by 2024. However, many of the probiotics currently on the market contain allergens. These can include:
- Tree nuts
Instead of risking your health by using a probiotic with these ingredients, search for “allergen-free” on the label. Avoiding GMOs and allergens will ensure you’re using a healthier probiotic. After all, you might not even know you’re allergic to one of the items on this list!
5. Keep Capsules
Probiotics are often packaged in capsules. The capsules will ensure the probiotic travels down to your stomach where it can get to work.
Some companies use enteric-coated capsules to house their probiotics.
Enteric-coated capsules, however, contain plasticizers. If you want to avoid phthalates and plasticizers, search for probiotics that are contained in plant-based capsules. Choosing products that use vegan, delayed-release capsules will help you avoid consuming unwanted ingredients.
These capsules reach the gut 45 minutes after standard capsules. They’re also able to deliver 10 times as much bacteria to the gut because they don’t have to fight their way through plasticizers.
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6. Review Probiotic Packaging
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of possible probiotics, take a look at the packaging.
Many probiotics are offers in bottled packages. Every time you open one of these bottles, the probiotics are exposed to ambient air and humidity. This can cause them to degrade over time.
Instead, look for probiotics that are self-stable.
You can also search for products that are contained in blister packs. These packages protect each capsule, so they’re not damaged by humidity or outside elements.
How to Buy Probiotics: 6 Steps for Supplement Success
Treat your gut to the right probiotics. Whether you’re constipated or want to give your overall health a boost, there’s a probiotic out there that can help. Now that you know how to buy probiotics, you can find the right one for the job!
Make sure to keep your specific health needs in mind. That way, you can target specific health issues, thereby improving your overall quality of life.
Your gut will thank you for it!
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