Do Probiotics reach the gut alive?
Good quality probiotic supplements will have in vitro (test tube) studies available to prove their product survives stomach acid and reaches the desired area alive (e.g. gut, bladder, vagina). These are helpful as they give us an indication of stability.
Ideally, the studies we really want are the human clinical trials as these rank higher in evidence and we can more easily see how the probiotic effects the human body. So far human clinical trials on probiotics have been small as they lack funding.
Here's what to look for when you are choosing a probiotic supplement
Check that it is proven to survive at room temperature until the expiry date and survive stomach acid.
Look at the strength.
Ideally you want a probiotic in the millions to billions but more doesn’t always mean better. Check the scientific evidence and use this as a guide. Or preferably, check-in with a nutritional therapist as we are trained in supplementation and can do all this ground work for you.
Be Strain Specific.
Look at the species and the strain.
For example, Rhamnosus Rosell 11 is a common probiotic found in supplements. “Rhamnosus” is the species and “Rosell 11” is the strain.
Rhamnosus Rosell 11 – shown to stabilise gut health during antibiotics. Rhamnosus GR1 – shown to help vaginal health.
Both are from the same species (Rhamnosus) but have different characteristics.
The strain helps to inform what that particular probiotic can do. Probiotics are not all the same!
If you've tried probiotics alongside dietary changes and you feel they have made no difference then in some circumstances it may be helpful to try a different species and strain. Speak to a nutritional therapist before starting supplementation, especially if you are on medication.
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