When you're focused on buying probiotics, you quickly find that there are many options and brands from which to choose. You've got powders, pills, various ingredients, and promises for gut health, diarrhea prevention, and much more. Therefore, you may have trouble finding the right probiotic for you, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the right one.
Make Sure They Are Safe
The FDA does not regulate supplements, and probiotics are considered supplements. Therefore, it can be tough to know if the product is safe. If you're in good health, probiotics aren't likely to cause any problems. Side effects are likely to be mild and may include a little more gas than normal.
However, people with immune or health conditions may find that probiotics can cause more issues than they help. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about taking probiotics to see if it is a safe option for you.
Focus on Quality
Since the FDA doesn't check for health and safety claims like it does for prescription drugs, it's harder to determine if the product is high-quality. Therefore, you should choose a brand that you trust. It's not uncommon for probiotics to have lower bacteria counts than what is listed on the label or to include bacteria that is not listed as an ingredient.
If you've never bought probiotics before, it's best to seek recommendations from trusted sources, such as your doctor. It's also helpful to research various brands to see which ones get the highest grades for having the right bacteria and doing what they claim to do.
Select the Right Type
Scientists have three names for bacteria, including the strain, species, and genus. Therefore, you'd see something that looks like this: Bifidobacterium longum W11. In this case, “Bifidobacterium” would be the genus with “longum” being the species while “W11” would be considered the strain.
In a sense, it is like your full name (first, middle, and last). You must have all three in some cases; the full long bacteria name is essential so that scientists can research the probiotic to determine what type it is and if it will work for a particular health condition.
When you focus on choosing a probiotic, you should ensure that all three names are listed in the ingredients section and that they're the ones you need. Even if you see Bifidobacterium longum, it doesn't mean that it's the right strain for your condition or need.
Colony Forming Units (CFUs)
The CFUs tell you how much of the bacteria you're getting per dose. The amount you need will vary depending on the type of bacteria and what you're treating. There isn't an exact formula or rule to follow, though most doses do range from one billion to 10 billion CFUs, and you might take one pill one or two times a day.
If you don't get enough of the CFUs, you aren't as likely to get the best results. However, if you take too many CFUs, it could cause more severe side effects or waste your money since it won’t do anything extra for you.