How To Compare Probiotic Supplements
With so many probiotics on the market today, it is becoming more and more difficult for people to decide on which one to try. Here are some suggestions to help you make an informed decision.
Look for a probiotic with at least 15 living strains of beneficial microbes. Products containing probiotic "metabolites" rather than living microorganisms are not the same. Many products (such as yogurt) only contain one to three strains of live bacteria. Each strain of bacteria contributes a different role and works in harmony with the other strains. When only a few strains are present, the resulting health benefits are not complete. Here are examples of roles of different strains of beneficial bacteria in the Lactobacillus family:
*Note: L. bifidus is also known as Bifidobacterium bifidum
Take a probiotic that is dairy-free and combined with organic, whole foods. Instead of consuming a vitamin/mineral supplement made in a laboratory with synthetic chemicals and hoping your body recognizes as well as utilizes the chemicals, consider taking a whole food probiotic supplement combined as one.
It is always healthier to obtain nutrients in as close to their natural form as possible. When a food is present in its unprocessed, whole state, it contains the proper balance of naturally-occurring vitamins, minerals, fiber, digestive enzymes and other important nutrients such as chlorophyll and antioxidants. The body is more apt to recognize, efficiently absorb and utilize the phytonutrients this way.
The beneficial bacteria in the certified organic, whole-food probiotic In-Liven actually pre-digest the whole foods in a fermentation process. This results is increased availability of nutrients and increased efficiency of absorption.
Avoid supplements containing magnesium stearate or stearic acid. These additives coat the intestines, and consequently, reduce nutrient absorption. Unfortunately, this reduced nutrient absorption affects both the nutrients from the supplement as well as those from the food that you eat.
Do not buy supplements that have been sterilized or pasteurized. Heat is destructive to vitamins, enzymes and living organisms. In-Liven remains in its raw state, retaining the nutrients, enzymes and living microorganisms that are beneficial to the body.
Look for the inclusion of healthy prebiotics. A prebiotic is a food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Since probiotics are living organisms, they need a food source to survive.
An example of a prebiotic is fructooligosaccharides, which are found in foods including wheat and barley. The term synbiotic is used to refer to a nutritional supplement that combines prebiotics and probiotics (such as In-Liven).
Some companies resort to inexpensive substrates, such as forms of monosodium glutamate (MSG) including both maltodextrin and hydrolyzed ingredients. MSG tastes delicious, but is associated with numerous health complaints. The bacteria in In-Liven thrive on the whole foods, malt extract and molasses within it.
Look for a whole food probiotic supplement that also contains the two forms of beneficial yeast Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. S. boulardii helps prevent Candida yeast infections, helps heal ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. S. cerevisiae (also known as Brewer's Yeast) is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. It is effective in the treatment of diarrhea, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Do not fall for high CFU claims. Be aware that numerical claims of colony forming units (CFUs) may be artificially inflated by some companies. This unscrupulous method is carried out by shaking apart colonies to artificially inflate numbers. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all of the bacteria will be alive and healthy when you ingest them. Therefore, do not judge probiotics by CFUs alone. More important than the number of CFUs in the product, is the ability of the bacteria to reproduce. If the bacteria are weak in any way, they will be destroyed before they are able to benefit you. In-Liven contains hardy strains of bacteria that have been subjected to and survived exposure to stressors such as stomach acid, bile, heat, cold, salt, and many preservatives. They have not been genetically altered and are obtained from fruits, grains and vegetables. This is in contrast to most other probiotic strains (which are grown in fecal matter).
Avoid capsules. Most probiotic supplements come in capsule form. Unfortunately, encapsulation machines use heat and pressure which are destructive to living organisms. Because of this, In-Liven is made available as a powder in order to preserve the vitality of the beneficial microflora.
> Learn more about In-Liven: Helpful Hints on Taking In-Liven
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