What to look for before you purchase a probiotics supplement?


Our gut is one most vital organ for healthier life.  A large numbers of diseases originate from an unhealthy gut. You probably know our gut is a residence of bacteria. Human body carry around 100 trillion bacteria majority of which resides in gut. All that contributes to our health through numerous way. We have also pathogenic bacteria along with friendly bacteria. So we need balance between them. Probiotics are often called good or helpful bacteria as they help to keep the gut healthy. Due to many health promoting results popularity of probiotics are rising day by day. A well known fermented food yogurt also contains probiotic culture that strengthens the digestive system. You can see many probiotics supplement in the market but do you know What to look for before you purchase a probiotics supplement?

Here we will help you in selecting probiotics supplement.

A good probiotics supplement promotes health many ways. With around 100 trillion bacteria in our body we are living with an ecosystem. And so to balance the ecosystem we need balance between friendly and pathogenic bacteria. An imbalance between them can leads to many health disorders.

what to look for before you buy a probiotics supplement

Diseases and Disorders Associated with alteration of Human Gut Microbiome (1)

  • Atopy and asthma  
  • Celiac disease  
  • Colon cancer  
  • Type I diabetes  
  • Type II diabetes  
  • HIV infection  
  • Inflammatory bowel disease  
  • Irritable bowel syndrome  
  • Gastroenteritis  
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis  
  • Obesity  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

How probiotics can influence gut bacteria?

Probiotics can directly as well as indirectly influence colonizing microbes through multiple mechanisms. By influencing gut bacteria probiotics can also promote health many ways.

  • Probiotics inhibits harmful bacteria through production of inhibitory compounds (bacteriocins, short chain fatty acids, and others).
  • Probiotics produces substrates that might promote the growth of colonizing friendly microbes (secreted exopolysaccharides, vitamins, fatty acids, sugars from undigested carbohydrates and others),
  • Probiotics promotes immune responses against specific pathogenic bacteria.
  • Probiotics can influence colonizing harmful bacteria by inhibiting attachment through stimulating intestinal mucus production, reinforcing gut barrier effects, and also lowering gut inflammation. Thereby probiotics promotes microbes that are associated with a healthier gut environment.
  • Probiotic intake promotes diversity of microbiota with increased numbers of related phylotypes, decreasing pathogens and their toxins as well as altering bacterial community structure to enhance evenness.
  • Drug like antibiotics destroy also destroy friendly bacteria along with pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics helps stabilizing bacterial communities when perturbed with drug like antibiotics or promote a rapid recovery from imbalance.


Health benefits of probiotics appear as myriad. Research suggests that the gut microbiota should be a nutritional target for future interventions aiming to modulate host carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Probiotics with multiple strain of bacteria can work synergistic-ally in promoting health. However it is equally important to know the particular bacterial strain to fit to your condition. I will come with about this in coming article.

In general rules a probiotics supplement should provide at least 1 billion Colony-Forming Units (CFUs) with a variation from 1 billion to 10 billion for adults. CFU indicates the number of live probiotics in the products. Self life of CFU is equally important. You can also ask the manufacturer about this. Avoid products stating that CFU “At the time of manufacture” as such product does not account for decline of CFU during storage. Some times high doses like 100 billion based on situation. However for children and infants does are sometime below 1 billion. 

Being living microorganisms probiotics also need food. Prebiotic like fiber contributes as food to probiotics. Therefore a good probiotics supplement can also have fiber as most common prebiotic.

Science probiotics are extremely sensitive to light, moisture, and oxygen, you need to look after the packaging also. Also be ensure that product does not contain GMO and manufacturer practices current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP).

A line of Caution

Although probiotics appears as extremely safe you should be aware of some facts. Individual with milk allergies should aware with probiotics containing lactose fermenting bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium  as such probiotics may contain milk residual. You can also ask manufacturer about this if not mentioned. Probiotics should not be used when individual is critically ill or with compromised immune functions.

What to Look for Before You Purchase a Probiotic
“What to Look for Before You Purchase a Probiotic” on Health Perch

Disclaimer: Information provided here are generalized information for 
educational purpose only, not intended to provide one to one health
consultation or replace practice of a qualified practitioner. Different
people may have different health condition and may have different reaction
to the same food. Hence it has been advised to consult with health care
provider before application of any of above guidelines.
Source and References:
1.Mary Ellen Sanders,Impact of Probiotics on Colonizing Microbiota of the
Gut, J Clin Gastroenterol, Volume 45, Supp. 3, November/December 2011
Bikramjit Konwar

Author: Bikramjit Konwar


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