Tips for Reading a Probiotic Label
Now more than ever, people are looking for ways to maintain their overall health. One way many people are doing so is by taking probiotics or eating more probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, tempeh, or yogurt. If you decide to take probiotics, you’ll want to read the label carefully to ensure you’re taking the right probiotic for your needs and getting the highest quality. But, reading labels can be confusing, with the various strains and colony-forming units (CFS) numbers. So with all that information overload, what should you be looking for? Before looking at how to read a probiotic label, let’s talk about what they are and choose the right one for your needs to better understand what you’re looking at when you see the labels.
What are Probiotics?
When you think of bacteria, you probably think of something that makes you sick. However, there are both good and bad bacteria — the good bacteria being beneficial for your body. Probiotics are live bacteria and are considered to be good bacteria because they help maintain proper gut health. And, due to the relationship between microbes and most of our body’s systems, probiotics may also help maintain overall health, too. Research has shown a relationship between probiotics and maintaining immune health, digestive health, and even heart health.
Choosing the Right Probiotic
When it comes to choosing the right probiotic, you need to be familiar with the right type of probiotic for your needs as well as the appropriate CFUs.
Types of Probiotics
While there are many types of bacteria that are classified as probiotics and have different benefits, most come from two groups: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Other common types of probiotics include Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, and Bacillus. Each genus is comprised of different species and those species each has different strains. Since different probiotics work in different ways, it’s important to choose the right type or types. For example, you may be looking for a probiotic to help maintain immune health such as Floradapt Immune Support, or heart health like Floradapt’s Cardio probiotic.
Number of CFUs
Probiotics are measured in CFUs. The number of CFUs lets you know how much bacteria you’re getting in each dose. That amount varies depending on the type of bacteria and what it’s being used for. Most doses range from 1 to 10 billions CFUs; however, more isn’t always better1. Quality is key when it comes to your probiotics.
How to Read a Probiotic Label
Because how a probiotic works can vary from brand to brand it’s important to get as much information as possible before you buy. When you see labels, you may see a lot of various information, from the number of CFUs and health claims to the bacteria strain and directions. Sometimes the labels can be overwhelming and even confusing. Here are some of the most important pieces of information you should be able to find on the label and what they mean:
- Bacterial strains – this list should include the genus, species, and strain of the probiotic.
- Other Ingredients or Ingredients – this is a list of active and inter ingredients as well as any allergens.
- CFU (colony forming units) – these are the number of live probiotics in the product.
- Recommended use or directions – This information tells you how to use the product and may include expected benefits.
- Company Information – It’s important to be able to easily see who the company is and know how to contact them with any questions, to get more information, or to report any adverse effects.
When reading a probiotic label to choose the right probiotic, it’s also important to remember that higher numbers or more expensive products don’t always equal the best. Sometimes less is actually more. When it comes to probiotics, taking only what you need will give you the best results. That’s why we developed highly targeted products for specific health benefits. Learn more about the Floradapt difference.