How to choose the best probiotic comes down to these 7 Tips
1. Country of Origin: You absolutely want to buy probiotics made in the U.S.A. Probiotics made in the U.S. are less likely to lose their potency and more likely to contain more active strains at the time of consumption vs the time of manufacture. Most probiotics are made overseas. That means they have to survive temperature change from traveling thousands of miles. Also, the facilities in the U.S. are regularly inspected by the FDA. Our facility in Wisconsin is inspected yearly. The FDA infrequently inspects overseas facilities, only once every 5-7 years if at all. If the package does not say, “Made in the USA” then it probably is not!
The right packaging you select is important to ensure potency of the probiotics as well as convenience of administration. You may prefer capsules over tablets or powder over chewables, especially for your child. Individual powder packets can maintain their potency and freshness better than bulk powder in a bottle or plastic container and are much easier to use.
I previously had suggested to choose individually wrapped capsules and tablets (the ones that you push out of the foil packs) for the same reason as powder packets, because I thought once all bottled probiotics were opened and exposed to air and moisture they would start to lose their potency. I maintain that stance with powder probiotics, but I am however, changing my stance on some bottled probiotics in capsule form. I have done extensive research as we are looking to launch an adult probiotic in capsule form and want to use the best packaging method. Here is what I learned:
A. When probiotics are put in the foil packs also called blister packs, most manufacturers and packagers use heat to seal the capsule or tablet into the foil. Excessive heat can kill the live bacteria during this process and most companies do not retest their products after they put them in the foil packets to be sure the same number of live bacteria are present as claimed on the label. Unless they use a method called, “cold form blistering,” which uses a blower (like the fan in your car that prevents the engine from overheating) which blows cold air during the blistering process to prevent excess heat from killing the probiotics. I learned that very few facilities have this capability.
B. The potency of bottled probiotics can be improved by adding an “oxygen & moisture remover” also called a desiccant. They are the small packets you sometimes find in vitamin and prescription drug bottles which can significantly extend shelf life. They are made of natural minerals which can be completely degraded and are safe for food contact.
C. New bottle technology such as desiccant lined bottles also helps preserve the potency of probiotics by also absorbing moisture and oxygen. The inside of the bottle is lined with natural desiccant polymers.
The New FloraTummys Adult Capsules incorporates both of these bottle technologies to help maintain potency and freshness.
3. The Right Strains: Studies show that multi-strain probiotics containing both lactobacillus and bifidobacterium may be more beneficial than single strain probiotics in certain health conditions.* Most market leading probiotics for kids and adults are single strain probiotics. So you really need to check the labels.
There is a lack of studies that show how many millions or billions of live probiotic strains are needed for optimal health or to reduce intestinal issues. The recent “standard” is 5 billion for kids and 10 billion for adults but with no data to back that up. Hospital studies in premature babies given probiotics in the NICU to prevent NEC (a serious intestinal infection) show that 1 billion live strains of both lactobacillus and bifidobacterium performed better than single strain probiotics with less than 1 billion live bacteria. But that is for a specific patient population. Some adult probiotics contain only one or two billion strains. It really comes down to trial and error.
4. Prebiotics:A strong measure of quality of a probiotic is whether or not it contains a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a food source the probiotics need to divide and multiply and keep the probiotics lively and survive the GI tract. You can identify them on the label as “FOS,” “Inulin,” “fiber”, “SunFiber®” They are naturally made from plants such as chicory. FloraTummys Probiotic for Kids contains a chicory based prebiotic called (FOS) or fructooligosaccharide. These types of prebiotics can also help with constipation, diarrhea, and most recent studies show they may have a beneficial health benefits on overweight and obese children.
5. Non-Dairy, Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Allergen Free, Non-GMO:. If you or your child has food allergies, then you would want a probiotic that is free of food allergens and Non-GMO. Two of the leading probiotics for kids contain either lactose or sugar or both. If you are trying to prevent diarrhea especially when taking antibiotics, lactose and sugar can potentially worsen it.
6. Clean Label:You want to look for what is called a “clean label,” simply, the fewer ingredients the better. Avoid probiotics with artificial flavors and preservatives.
7. Refrigerated probiotics vs room temperature stable probiotics:
Refrigerated probiotics claim better potency, but I personally think this is a marketing gimmick. Room temperature stable probiotics can also be refrigerated. Just be sure not to leave them out too long once you start refrigerating them. Moving probiotics in and out of the refrigerator can expose them to temperature change and as I mentioned earlier, probiotics are sensitive to extreme temperature changes. Room temperature stable probiotics like FloraTummys are freeze dried and will maintain their potency as long as you store them in a room temperature stable environment of (25°C or 77°F). This also makes it convenient when you travel especially if you or your children get diarrhea when traveling overseas.
Check out Probiotics Comparison Charts that compare some of the top selling probiotics for kids and adults. Includes easy-to-read comparison charts with these 7 Tips.
FloraTummys Probiotic for Kids is made in the USA, contains only 5 ingredients: the 2 friendly bacterial strains, prebiotic (FOS), silica (natural mineral absorbs toxins in GI tract), and maltodextrin (powder). That’s it! You will not find many probiotics with 5 ingredients.