Maneesha Shastri. I write from the perspective of a Nutrition and Food Science major at San Jose State University, and a basic tenet that your best shot at improving health is through nutrition.

Do you want to actualize and optimize good health?

Perhaps your first step is to incorporate Probiotics into your dietary supplement regimen.  There are other nutritional angles available, but I’m approaching this from the perspective of Nutrition and Food Science, Physiology, and Microbiology. The research into the influence of the microbiome on health has exploded in recent years, as can be seen the number of published studies available on PubMed. As the knowledgebase in these beneficial expands, we all learn of new benefits that are beyond the gut realm. 

So many options…..which one is best?

When most people hear the word bacteria, the first connotation that occurs is negative. Bacteria has been more Foe than Friend, and many people may think talking about bacteria and strains is analogous to talking about catalytic converters with your mechanic. There are hundreds of dynamic strains in the human gut (a community knows as the gut microbiota), and research is linking these bacterial residents to a healthier gut, women’s health, and immunity. So, in general, taking probiotics may help unlock many of these potential benefits. 

Published = Preferred

The most important way to choose a probiotic is to remember it is not about the numbers, but it is all about the strains. You can buy a probiotic which claims to have a massive number (labeled as CFUs”), but there is a huge numbers myth. There is no rationale to believe that the larger the number, the better the effect. A label may state 60 billion CFUs per dosage, but if the quality is altered, or there’s an unpreferred strain present, then it will not have the benefits of a probiotic based on published research. Published studies equals a product worthy of further consideration. A strain with a lack of findings or results that are inconclusive will be less promising than a strain with multiple studies. These studies can be found in biomedical databases available to the public. Doing the research on a specific strain or formulation can make the world of a difference when it comes to health. 

Also, a major checklist item for me is stability when deciding between products. Be careful to note that some probiotics may list the amount of active strains during ATOM (an acronym, that means “at time of manufacture”). It is vital to find a product that has manufactured to offer a stable shelf life, showing the amount of active CFUs at the end of the shelf life. Be careful to note that some probiotics may list the amount of active strains during ATOM (an acronym, that means “at time of manufacture”). During packaging, a good probiotic will have been packaged in a way to promote efficiency and prevent spoiled and ineffective consumption.  

Remember, everyone has a microbiome (we’re walking around with 4 pounds of bacteria at any given time).  In this blog series, let’s find ways to boost the gut microbiome!