The Mystery of Probiotic Supplements

The holiday season is wonderful. Many of us get to visit family, relax, eat our favorite foods, and (hopefully!) even take some time away from work to enjoy ourselves. That can be a huge treat in itself.

Many of us also get off track with diet and exercise this time of year, which can leave us feeling sluggish and can upset the balance of our digestive systems. Many find probiotics helpful this season because they can help to support our natural processes through these ups and downs from our regular routine...

If you’re looking to add a probiotic to add to your regimen, there are a few things to look out for when choosing.

First, take a look at dietary sources of probiotics, which can be one of the least expensive ways to incorporate them into your diet. (Sauerkraut, kraut juice from Nourished edible wellness, local Kombucha, kefir, etc)

If you find that a supplement is still the right route for you and want additional protection or have been advised to take a probiotic from your doctor or wellness practitioner, take some time to sift through your options, and keep these factors in mind:

Bacterial Contents: CFUs — colony-forming units — are the metric by which the makers of probiotics quantify the amount of bacteria within the supplements. Probiotics aren’t regimented by the FDA, which means that manufacturers can include a huge range of ingredients with little indicator of whether or not they’ll have the intended purpose. Aim for a probiotic with at least 1 billion CFUs of bacteria.

This benchmark is high enough to where you’ll ingest enough to experience to advantages, but not so high that you’re reaching prescription-level territory. Supplements with drastically more than 1 billion CFUs aren’t necessarily super-effective, rather they have a specific type of user who is typically referred to that CFU content because of a specific issue.

Strain Variety: perhaps the least talked-about aspects of probiotics is the variety of bacteria within them. Probiotics work by introducing “good” bacteria into the gut to outcompete the “bad” bacteria. The chances of this being an effective strategy are heightened when you introduce multiple “good” types. What’s more, there are certain bacterial blends that are best for general digestive support, people with IBS/IBD, antibiotic recovery, etc.

(Choosing the right variety could be a key factor in finding what’s best for you!)

Probiotic Viability: the bacteria are alive when probiotics are manufactured and will die over time, so you want to make sure you’re ingesting enough to actually benefit from the positive effect. Some probiotic brands will list their CFU count “at manufacture” meaning that they cannot guarantee that bacterial quantity after the supplement has been shipped to a store, sat on the shelf, and eventually made it’s way to your home. Instead, look for a brand that indicates a shelf-life, so that the supplement is guaranteed to contain the CFU count on their label until that date.

Ultimately, finding a great probiotic is a very PERSONAL journey to find a brand and product that you trust and believe in. For any questions, consult with an experienced wellness advisor who can help you find the perfect one for your needs (hint: someone like myself or Lisa Kilgour specialize in this! If you are pregnant and need digestive help, check out Laurel Garner. If you have severe allergies, book to see Myia Sparreboom.)

(I get by with a little help from my friends.)

Of course if you need the support and coaching to take your ferments and probiotic (or other) supplements, working with a local Holistic Nutritionist is your best bet for wellness.

For even more reading about getting a probiotic to suit your individiual needs, you can read the full article here.

Hope this helps you navigate purchasing probiotics!  Don't be overwhelmed with the choices available, and remember you can always speak to the sales staff at quality health food stores. They are well educated and can help you sift through what works for you, what is affordable for you and the dosage you may need. 

(For me? My favourite brand personally is Udo's Choice.)

Below, there is some research that you might want to look into about specific brands of probiotics! PS. I am not affiliated with nor received monetary compensation or samples IN ANY WAY shape or form from this review website. I am simply sharing this page to my fans as I found it interesting, and I think if you'd read this far, you might find it well worth the read, too :)

Check it out HERE.

Here is to your happy and healthy gut this season!

Make it simple, not a mystery, by asking for help to allow you to relax about it all. The more we stress, the worse it gets. Remember, RELAX this Holiday season!

xo

-R