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Probiotics Part 2: Probiotic Supplements

In our last article, we discussed what probiotics are, which foods are good sources are and why they are important. You learned that probiotics can be found mainly in fermented foods. If you haven’t read Part 1 in this series check it out here!

To continue on with this series we are now going to talk about probiotics from supplements!

When thinking about probiotic supplements you first need to decide if you really need it!

Most foods that are a source of probiotics meet the daily needs in one serving. For example, one serving of yogurt will meet enough need of probiotics for a day. It’s important to know how much probiotics you are taking in because too much bacteria can cause problems.

According to this Harvard Health article:

“Another concern about probiotics is that they’re considered dietary supplements, not drugs. As a result, the FDA doesn’t monitor the manufacture of probiotics. It’s not clear if probiotics that can be bought at pharmacies and health food stores are high-quality products. It’s even possible that some lower-quality products may not even contain the probiotic bacteria that are listed on the label.”

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-take-probiotics

You should consult with your doctor/clinician before taking any form of supplementation, especially when considering probiotics.

After consulting with your clinician, you then need to decide which supplement is best for you!

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Which strain do you need?- If you have a certain medical condition, you might want to consider the strain that will help your condition. Some conditions include diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD).
  2. How much do you need?– Most probiotic supplements contain 1-10 billion CFUs. This is the same amount of CFUs as in one serving of probiotics from food. Make sure your probiotic is getting enough CFU to cover your daily needs if necessary.
  3. What kind of supplement do you want?– supplements for probiotics come in all different forms (capsules, powder, liquid, etc.). To help determine which is best for you, ask your clinician.
  4. Be aware of what you are taking– Be sure to read the facts label and know what you are putting in your body. Be cautious of allergens as part of the ingredients. Normally the label tells if they are free from certain allergens such as dairy and gluten.

Bottom Line with Probiotics from Supplements:

  1. Only take probiotic supplements if you can’t get it from food and you have consulted your clinician!
  2. Be sure to read labels and do research on which supplement is right for you.
  3. More does not equal better when it comes to probiotics, even too much of good bacteria can cause problems.

Recommended Readings:

Prebiotics: Fuel for the Probiotics!
Probiotics Part 1: Probiotic Food

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