3 Things To Know When Choosing a Probiotic
This post is sponsored by Seed.com
Many of you have been curious whether you should be taking probiotics.
The answer—yes. As most people know, probiotics can often offer immediate digestive relief for those living with occasional bloating, constipation, or irregularity. But what you may not know, is that beyond this, good gut health can actually impact whole-body health—including skin, heart, and metabolic health, and gut immune function. And for those of you who are pregnant or trying, or even a new mama, probiotics are safe, and even recommended (though, as with all new changes during this time, we suggest you double-check with your practitioner).
Now, the real question: which probiotic should you take? The pharmacy aisle and listings of Amazon are overflowing and overwhelming. The word ‘probiotic’ also appears on everything from kombucha to ice cream. In a crowded category, how do you know how to choose the best one?
This mama did her research, and here’s our take on 3 things to look for:
1. First, does refrigeration matter?
Many people think all probiotics must be refrigerated, but actually, refrigeration doesn’t mean ‘freshness’ or ‘superiority’. In fact, if a product can’t survive the shelf, it’s unlikely to survive the very acidic trip to your gut. The most sophisticated probiotics today have been strenuously tested for heat and offer delivery systems (i.e. innovative capsules) that protect against humidity, moisture, and stomach acid.
2. What’s the dosage?
You may have seen huge numbers like ‘15 billion CFU’ on a probiotics label. But, does bigger equal better?
The answer is no. Rather than be concerned with the overall CFU number, you should ask if each strain is included at its clinically-verified dosage (i.e. the amount used in the scientific study).
In other words, when a clinical study on a probiotic (or anything else) demonstrates a benefit, the same dose used in the study must also be included in that dosage into the product. If the strain hasn’t been studied at all, then it doesn’t even qualify as a probiotic.
3. What strains are included?
You may have heard of Lactobacillus acidophilus—the bacteria commonly found in yogurt. But, ‘Lactobacillus acidophilus’ on its own doesn’t tell you enough. Within each species of bacteria, there can be hundreds or even thousands of strains. And just like a French bulldog is very different from a Great Dane, each strain of bacteria has its own unique characteristics and functions, too.
For example, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v has been shown to effectively reduce IBS symptoms while Lactobacillus plantarum MF1298, was actually found to worsen them. Strain specificity matters, and you should always look for the characteristic letters and numbers (in this case, 299v) that designate the strain. Then, you should ask to see the human clinical evidence that that strain was studied to do something for you.
We found a probiotic that checks all of these boxes and more: Seed’s Daily Synbiotic. While it may be a bit more expensive than other probiotics on the market ($1.67/day), its proprietary formulation of 24 clinically-validated strains, and their global testing and regulatory standards make it a clear win in our book. A daily investment in your whole-body health—gut health, heart health, skin health, gut immune function, and more—backed by science, sounds right by us.