If you've ever wondered how to choose the best probiotic, we've got some suggestions for you!
The world has gone a little crazy for probiotics. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but with so many claiming to provide probiotics in a myriad of ways (foods, beverages, cleaners, skincare, mattresses, pillows! – Yes, probiotic pillows are a thing!) it can get really complicated and confusing.
In this article we examine what probiotics actually are and discuss how to ensure you're getting quality probiotics when purchasing them.
First things first, what are probiotics?
The official definition, coined by a 2001 UN/WHO expert panel states that probiotics are “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Ok, so what does that mean?
#1 – Live Microorganisms
These “live organisms” are beneficial bacteria. And by “live” we are really talking about their survivability. Can they survive the entire trip to your colon? If not, they won't do much good.
Some probiotics are dead in the bottle or don't make it home from the store. Others die before they pass through the stomach.
It's a long trip to the colon, but these micro-organisms need to be tough enough and protected enough to make it there.
#2 – Adequate Amounts
Quantity is important. You'll often see this noted on labels by a CFU number (usually billions or trillions).
CFU means colony-forming units. This denotes how many bacteria in the sample have the ability to divide and form colonies.
The interesting thing about this is that more is not always better. One bottle having a bigger number than another, doesn't mean it is a superior product. It might be superior, but the number alone will not tell you that. It is often a tactic to make consumers think they are getting a better product.
The truth is, each strain of probiotics has its own “best dose” which has been determined by clinical studies on humans.
#3 – Health Benefit
It's easy to think that a long list of interesting sounding strains of probiotics means that the supplement is a good one. I mean, they have strains another supplement might not include!
But, the fact of the matter is, each specific strain needs to be clinically studied and shown to be beneficial in order to satisfy the “health benefit” definition of a probiotic.
#4 – Host
In our definition, the host is whomever is probiotic is intended. This could be a human or animal.
Why are so many supplements and products allowed to claim probiotic-status even though they don't met the true definition?
In the USA, Probiotics fall into the category of supplements. Supplements are regulated, but much less than drugs (or even food). Because of this, the term probiotic is able to be used quite widely and in a variety of ways.
This is not the case in other parts of the world (such as Europe), where claims cannot be made about probiotics without scientific evidence.
What are the benefits of probiotics?
Most of us are familiar with the digestive benefits of probiotics. But they can do much more than that.
Besides that fact that a healthy digestive system impacts other parts of the body, some probiotics, such as this one, have systemic benefits, meaning there are benefits across the entire body. Evidence suggests they benefit the microbiome as a whole as well as have positive effects on skin health, an impact the immune system, gut barrier, and metabolic function.
As you can see, probiotics are beneficial, even if you don't have digestive issues!
They are a great way to proactively take care of your health since they work in preventatively as well as restoratively.
HOw to Choose the Best probiotic?
When purchasing a probiotics, there are a few things to look for to ensure you are getting one that will actually be effective. My first suggestion when selecting a probiotic is to run the label by the true definition and see if it qualifies.
Also, be wary of marketing tactics that may be trying to fool you (such as ridiculously, and unnecessarily, high CFU numbers!).
High-quality probiotics should:
- survive digestion and make it to the colon (this is achieved by having a strong encapsulation and effective delivery system)
- have encapsulations that are free of synthetic, chemical, or otherwise toxic coating
- be backed by a multitude of clinical studies showing evidence of health benefits to humans
- include more than one bacterial strain
- be free of glyphosate residue
- bonus: include a prebiotic
What about prebiotics?
Prebiotics support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. They are often thought as as “food” for probiotics. Prebiotics help probiotics thrive, “increasing their bioavailability in the body and contributing to your health. So, it’s not just about what bacteria ‘eat,’ but also what bacteria can ‘do.’ ” (Source)
A probiotic that also includes prebiotics will get you the most bang for your buck.
The Best (and most trustworthy) Probiotic on the planet
I know that is a bold statement, but in researching this particular company, I have been blown-out-of-the-water impressed. Honestly, I didn't know it was possible to be this excited and passionate about a probiotic supplement.
I'm now a probiotic nerd and I love it!
Before I tell you about this company, I want to let you know that I have become a partner with them. So, if you choose to purchase their product through my links, I will receive a commission.
The company is called Seed. And their probiotic supplement is not just a probiotic. It's a synbiotic (it includes probiotics AND prebiotics).
The Daily Synbiotic comes with two glass jars; one refillable jar for home and a travel vial for taking capsules on the go.
Here's why I like them:
2-in1 – Probiotics and Prebiotic
Prebiotics make probiotics thrive. Getting them together in one supplement ensures you are giving probiotics the very best opportunity to do what they do best.
Benefits Beyond Digestive Health
Seed's Daily Synbiotic has systemic benefits, meaning there are benefits across the entire body. Evidence suggests they benefit the microbiome as a whole as well as have positive effects on skin health, an impact the immune system, gut barrier, and metabolic function.
Unlike many probiotic brands, which don’t have substantial research behind them, Seed’s probiotic contains 24 clinically-verified, naturally-occurring probiotics strains (not found in yogurt, most supplements, or fermented foods and beverages) with a new class of non-fermenting prebiotic compounds (built around a patented whole fruit extract) sourced from Indian pomegranate and Scandinavian chaga mushroom and pine bark.
Strains have been studied in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Japan.
The Daily Synbiotic is the first probiotic to undergo whole-genome testing—the application of shotgun sequencing to microbial DNA to understand biodiversity and function and measure relative abundance.
There's no guessing with Seed, they know exactly what's in their product and what amounts.
Seed Probiotics Make it to the Colon
Remember how survivability was a big deal?
Seed created nested capsule technology and patented an algae delivery system to ensure bacteria survive and stay viable through digestion.
No worrying if you are wasting your money here. These probiotics get where they need to go!
Capsules are Clean
By clean I mean they don't contain any synthetic or chemical coating. Capsules are are also vegan and free of dairy, gluten, corn, soy, GMOs , binders, fillers, flowing agents, excipients, and preservatives
No Refrigeration Required
I appreciate this because it makes storage and portability easy. I swear, I lose stuff in my fridge!
Commitment to Sustainability
Seed created a refill system (so you don’t need to buy a new jar every time). Each month capsules arrive in a compostable Bio-Based Pouch. You then refill your green glass jar with them.
Plus, all packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable.
Who Is Seed?
Seed considers themselves to be “an ecosystem of kindred scientists, doctors, innovators, entrepreneurs, and translational storytellers from around the world. We collectively believe in the potential of the microbiome to improve human and planetary health.”
They are not a big corporation trying to get in on the latest trend. They are passionate about probiotics and care about the health of their fellow man and the planet we all share.
Founded by Ara Katz and Raja Dhir, Seed is also comprised of a global Scientific Advisory Board who stewards research and development. The board includes leading scientists and doctors with expertise in microbiome science, genomics, metabolomics, gastroenterology, immunology, nutrition, and human clinical research.
How I became a Partner with Seed
To become a partner with Seed, I had to go through their educational program (called Seed University) and pass a test. They don't just let anyone become a partner and they don't want their partners spreading false claims or messages about probiotics. Seed is all about scientific evidence and truth.
The fact that becoming a partner was so rigorous impressed me as much as their supplement did! You’ve got to love a company as committed to learning and transparency as they are to selling products.
I had to take a final exam before posting this!
Since becoming a partner my understanding and love of probiotics has grown exponentially!
Seed Discount Code
Use code NOFUSSNATURAL for 15% off the Daily Synbiotic.
Click here to visit Seed and learn more about this awesomely unique product. I am beyond impressed and think you’ll love it too.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.