Finding the best probiotics represents one of the fastest growing interests in nutritional supplements. A great deal of research, past and present, documents the significant contribution probiotics can safely make to health and well-being.
“The best probiotics in natural forms are fermented foods,” says Ganjhu. Fortified foods, such as probiotic-enhanced dough, may deliver less of a health infusion since the manufacturing process can kill off many of the healthy live cultures. Besides yogurt and kefir, some common foods made using fermentation include sauerkraut, kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage), and pickles.
The amount and kind of live cultures per bite vary, but words like raw, Lacto-fermented, or unpasteurized on the packaging will indicate that the bacteria haven’t been killed off in the manufacturing process. Yogurt with the “live active cultures” seal indicates that it has not been heated after the fermentation process and contains at least 100 million cultures per gram (or 10 million cultures per gram for frozen yogurt). Unless it contains one of the bacterial strains that have been studied, however, it still may not have proven probiotic benefits.
Best Probiotics: What to Look For
If you aren’t sure that you’re getting enough of the best probiotics from your diet, a daily supplement can be helpful. Everyone knows the health benefits of probiotics these days but the hard part is figuring out which are the best probiotics.
The best probiotics products come with more bacterial strains—sometimes called “mega probiotics”—aren’t necessarily better, but some experts say it’s a good idea to switch supplements every month or two.
The best probiotics come in the form of pills, and liquid shots. Some are sold chilled and must be kept that way to maintain their effectiveness. But the success of a product has more to do with the specific microbes it contains than what form it takes.
The best probiotics contain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, two of the most well-studied strains. Basically, without the following key factors, any probiotic formula can be suspect at best, unless it
- Shows high potency through independent lab test
- Works together with prebiotics for improved probiotic performance
- Is stable at room temperature for at least 18 months
- Is non-dairy, free from soy, corn, wheat, and gluten
- Help maintain a healthy flora, promotes digestion, and supports your immune system
- Adapts naturally to the human body due to its human origins
- Is acid- and bile-resistant to naturally survive the stomach and intestinal transit
- Produces natural enzymes, vitamins, lactic acid, and hydrogen peroxide
- Utilizes nitrogen packaging and is freeze-dried
- Comes available in vegetable-based probiotic capsule