Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria, that are beneficial to the body’s digestive and are vital for a resilient immune system.
But how do you know if you need a probiotic?
Here are some signs that you may need to add a probiotic to your diet.
1. You’re having digestive issues. Gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea, a probiotic may help improve your digestion.
2. You’re feeling fatigued. If you’re feeling more tired than usual, probiotics may be able to help.
3. You’re often sick. If you’re constantly getting sick and can’t seem to shake off the colds and flu, a probiotic may be able to help.
4. You’re taking antibiotics. They kill off both bad and good bacteria in the gut, so taking a probiotic can help replenish the good bacteria that’s been lost.
5. You’re under a lot of stress. Stress can have a major impact on your gut health, and probiotics may be able to help. Research shows that probiotics can help reduce stress-related gut symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhoea.
If you’re experiencing any of the above signs, let’s talk about adding a probiotic to your diet. Probiotics can be found in some foods such as yoghurt and kimchi, or you can take a probiotic supplement. Let me guide you to the best one for you.
With a plethora of options to choose from, it has become a grueling task to choose the right probiotic supplements for you. Here are some tips that will help guide you to select the best probiotic supplement right for you.
Colony Forming Units (CFUs)
CFUs, or Colony Forming Units, are the measuring unit of probiotics. This number must be clearly displayed on the probiotics bottle. A probiotic should be in the range of 3-50 billion CFUs to best suit your digestive system.
A lower range would be sufficient as a maintenance product. This potency will allow you to recover the probiotics lost due to the modern lifestyle when otherwise you have a completely healthy digestive system.
The higher potencies are recommended for specific instances, including the following:
Stress and Travelling: Most of our immune cells live in our gut, so it is imperative to reinforce them during times that might prove crucial for our immunity, like while traveling or going through a stressful situation. The intake of probiotics at this time can help you to avoid any future concerns.
Older Age: As we age, our microbiomes lose probiotics much faster, particularly Bifidobacteria, which is found in the large intestine. A reduction in its amount may cause digestive problems. For such cases, a high potency probiotic that has high concentrations of Bifidobacteria is recommended.
Diet: An unhealthy diet loaded with processed foods is also responsible for depleting our natural probiotics. Including probiotics supplements can help a great deal in offsetting this damage.
Compromised Digestive System: If you have a problematic digestive system, probiotic intake may help restore some balance.
Products above 50 billion CFUs really don’t provide any added benefit, so don’t be fooled into thinking more is better.
You should look for a supplement that is free of chemicals and ingredients that could upset your gastrointestinal tract instead of aiding it. Choose a probiotic that has listed all the potential irritants that it does NOT include to be sure of the good quality of the supplement.
Shelf Stability and Guaranteed Potency
It is imperative to get what you pay for. It is important to be sure that if the manufacturer says they put 50 billion CFUs in the product you purchased that that number of CFUs remains the same four months later. To be sure of this, it is important to pay full attention to the labeling while making the purchase. The supplement you purchase should specifically say, “Potency Guaranteed Until Time of Expiration.” It should also be shelf stable so that you don’t have to refrigerate it to keep its potency. Look for a label that says “Refrigeration Not Required” or “Shelf Stable.”
Another important factor to consider before investing in a probiotic is the diversity of strains. Look for a combination of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli for an average adult. This will support both your large as well as small intestine. Look for the abbreviations L. and B. on the label.
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned criteria while buying a probiotic supplement will help you to choose the right one for you. Check all these units and factors on the labeling to be sure you are purchasing the best quality the supplement.
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