Not all probiotics are created equal. Is yours really worth the money?
Just about everyone knows how important gut health is these days. An unbalanced gut is connected to everything from anxiety to brain fog to all manner of disease…
AND affects immunity.
Unfortunately, not all probiotics are created equally. As a plant-based reader, you probably already know it can be a challenge to find vegan probiotics in the first place.
But an even bigger problem is how quickly and easily the bacteria that make up your probiotics DIE.
CFU’s: What are they? Why do they matter?
Most probiotics promise a certain number of CFUs (Colony Forming Units) at the time of manufacture. This is actually an easy promise to make. But it’s much harder to keep those CFUs alive.
Because once the probiotics are encapsulated and bottled, they start to slowly die off.
What’s killing your probiotics?
One of the main issues is heat. Many strains of probiotics are very sensitive to heat. If the temperature is too high, the probiotics die. (That’s why many probiotics are in the refrigerated section of your local healthfood store.)
Of course, these probiotics are dying by the thousands just during the 10 or 20 minutes you’re transporting them from the store to your fridge!
Cracking the seal on the bottle exposes your probiotics even more. If the heat doesn’t kill those strains, then oxidation will.
By the time you’re finishing the bottle, the potency of the probiotics is dramatically lower than when the bottle was still fresh.
And that’s just the heat problem. We haven’t even talked about…
The Stomach Acid Problem!
By definition, probiotics must be alive. That’s what the “pro” part means! If the probiotics die, they are no longer probiotics. They are just dead bacteria.
And what good is it to consume dead bacteria? Not much.
As we mentioned, many probiotics are sensitive to heat and begin to die if the temperature is too high. But that’s NOT the only obstacle probiotics face…because if probiotics survive the heat, they still have to survive your stomach acid.
The acid in your stomach can kill all kinds of bacteria — even the kinds that are included in probiotic supplements. According to expert, Dr. Ian Stern, “An overwhelmingly large percentage of probiotics die upon contact with stomach acid.”
This is a big problem because the ONLY way to get the benefits of probiotics is if they’re still alive when they get to your gut, where they can grow and colonize. It’s pretty simple, really: dead bacteria do NOT grow and colonize, and therefore cannot re-balance your gut with good bacteria.
So at this point you’re probably wondering, “If most probiotics die from heat, oxidation, and stomach acid…
What’s the solution?
Unless you want to carry a cooler and ice packs to the store with every probiotics purchase (which still may not work, btw)…
The best way to resolve these issues is to make sure you only buy probiotics that:
- Contain a variety of ultra-resilient strains like Bacillus coagulans, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Include PRE-biotics, as well (like insoluble fiber)
- Are guaranteed to contain a high number of CFUs at the time of consumption
Take care of those issues and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your gut in balance for better health, mood, brain function and overall immunity.
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