Probiotics 101: What Are The Different Types Of Probiotics & How Many Should I Take?
When walking through the supplement aisle of your local grocery store, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the shelves upon shelves of different probiotic supplements. Which probiotic is best for your needs? How do you choose the right one? How do you know how much to take? In this blog, we’ll explore the different types of probiotics and help you understand how much of each you should take.
What Is A Probiotic?
Probiotics are live bacteria that support your health. Depending on the type of probiotic you take, these “good bacteria” may support our gut, immune, or cardiovascular health. Probiotics are not “one-size-fits-all.” Probiotics can contain different strains of bacteria, varying numbers of colony-forming units (CFUs), and be backed by varying levels of scientific research.
Read More: Health Benefits of Probiotics
Types of Probiotics
Lactobacillus, also known as bacteria that secrets lactic acid, is one of the most common probiotics and is often found in yogurt and other food products. This bacteria produces lactic acid when broken down and is an important part of the human gut. Maintaining the right levels of Lactobacillus in the gastrointestinal tract helps maintain gut health, promote digestion, and help the body fight against harmful bacteria invading the gut microbiome.
Bifidobacterium doesn’t produce lactic acid. Instead, it produces short-chain fatty acids, which are essential for balancing your gastrointestinal tract. The fatty acids produced by Bifodobacterum can help maintain gut barrier function. This additional benefit can support and strengthen your immune system.
Is The Number of CFUs in A Probiotic Important?
The number of CFUs in a given product has become a common way to compare probiotics. However, the quality of the bacteria strain is much more important than the number of CFUs. Choosing a low-quality strain (or a strain that isn’t well-researched) with a high number of CFUs won’t give you the optimal results you’re looking for.
How To Choose A Probiotic
When shopping for a new probiotic, consider:
- The quality of the probiotic strain
- Whether the strains have been subject to clinical research
- Results of clinical trials
For example, Floradapt’s Baby Colic probiotic is made with a Bifidobacterium strain that’s undergone two published clinical trials. These trials have shown that the probiotic can support healthy microflora in infants, which is characterized by less gas associated with routine fussiness, colic, and discomfort.
It’s common for some probiotics to be composed of two or more strains of bacteria. For these multi-strain probiotics, you’ll need to evaluate clinical research on each strain. For example, Foradapt’s Gut Comfort is formulated with two strains of Lactobacillus and one strain of Pediococcus. Three clinical studies have shown that the probiotic can support the correct balance within the gut, which is characterized by less anxiety and discomfort.
How Much Of A Probiotic Should You Take?
Probiotics’ strengths can vary greatly on the quality of the strain and CFUs. To make sure you’re getting the correct dosage, consult with your doctor and carefully follow the directions on the supplement facts packaging.