There are a lot of different probiotics on Amazon, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. It can be confusing to choose between the many different brands, but you should take a little time to do research, so that you don’t waste money. Here’s some information on what probiotics are all about, and what you should look for when buying them.
Why Probiotics are Important
The “gut” is a general term that is used to describe the gastrointestinal tract. Trillions of bacteria reside in this part of the body, and they’re constantly doing battle with one another. There are harmful bacteria that can cause serious diseases, and beneficial bacteria that keep the “bad guys” in check. These two groups of bacteria fight for control, and sometimes, the good guys need reinforcements.
That’s where probiotic products can play a significant role. You can find beneficial bacteria in certain foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and others. While these are great sources, it would be extremely difficult to get all the probiotics you need through diet alone. Amazon probiotics are designed to supplement dietary sources of good bacteria, so that you not only make sure you have enough beneficial bacteria in your system, but that you also get the right type of good bacteria.
Beneficial Strains of Probiotics
Certain types, or strains, of beneficial bacteria provide more benefits than others. When doing your research into probiotics on Amazon, it’s important to find products that clearly disclose the strains that they contain. Here are some of the strains that have been shown to provide substantial health benefits.
- Bifidobacteria longum – This strain is one of the first that takes up residence in the gut when a baby is born. It helps make sure that the body is able to properly metabolize and digest carbohydrates, and is also important to overall digestive health.1,2
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – One of the most important of all the probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus plays a vital role in helping ensure a balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut by inhibiting the growth of harmful microbes.3
- Lactobacillus plantarum – This is another member of the Lactobacillus family that is extremely important. It’s typically found in sauerkraut and other fermented foods, but you can find it in probiotic supplements as well. It has been associated with helping to reduce symptoms in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.4
- Lactobacillus reuteri – Lactobacillus reuteri is naturally found in human breast milk. It can also help reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the gut, as well as help boost immune system health. 5
- Saccharomyces boulardii – Not all probiotics are bacteria. Saccharomyces boulardii, for example, is a strain of yeast that can help people who suffer diarrhea.6
When you purchase probiotics on Amazon, make sure that the labeling tells you the number of colony forming units, or CFUs, that are contained in each dose. This is the number of beneficial bacteria that you’ll be putting in your system. There should be at least between 10-30 billion CFUs, but the more that a product contains, the better. After all, there are trillions of bacteria in the gut, so the more good ones you have, the better. Some products advertise that they contain as many as 500 million to 1 trillion CFUs, but they can get very expensive.
How Do You Determine the Quality of Probiotics on Amazon?
There are quite a few other indications of quality in addition to the number of CFUs. For example, look for probiotic capsules that have a strong enough coating so that they can survive the trip through the stomach and get to your intestines. Stomach acid will kill bacteria contained in poorly made capsules, and as a result, they won’t get to where they need to go in order to do you any good.
There are many supplements that not only contain probiotics, but also prebiotics. These are substances that help beneficial bacteria proliferate in the gut. In a way, prebiotics help probiotics like fertilizer helps your lawn. However, look at the label closely, because some prebiotics contain ingredients such as gluten, which could cause problems for people with sensitivities.
Speaking of labeling, it’s extremely important that the labels of the probiotic products you’re considering clearly spell out all of the ingredients you’ll be ingesting. Also, many probiotic supplements need to be refrigerated, so that the bacteria within them live as long as possible. Unless the label specifically states that refrigeration is not needed, always purchase probiotics cold.
A lot of probiotic products contain fillers, artificial colors, and other unnecessary ingredients. Again, look at the labeling closely, and stay away from any supplements that aren’t 100 percent beneficial.
How to Take Probiotics
You should always speak to your doctor before buying probiotics on Amazon or at your local grocery store. The reason is that some people with intestinal issues or other health problems could suffer serious side effects. If your doctor says it’s okay to use probiotics, ask him or her whether you should take them with or without food. Taking a probiotic with a meal can slow down the digestive process, making even top-quality capsules susceptible to stomach acid. However, some people experience nausea and other digestive problems when they take them on an empty stomach.
As you can see, there are a lot of considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when you buy probiotics on Amazon. But the more research you do beforehand, the better the chances will be that the product you finally decide upon will provide you with the most benefits.