How To Read a Probiotic Label Like an Expert and Get The Best Probiotic Possible

Our recent study of probiotics has led to a finding that a number of products labelled probiotic being marketed. From drinks to yogurts, it is not surprising that so many companies are trying to market their product as probiotic. A lot of literature on Probiotics shows it has a lot of benefits from digestive problems to be able to treat infections and diseases.

How to Find the Probiotic which is right for you?

Probiotic is different from buying other nutritional supplements. That’s because by definition, Probiotics are living organisms and you need these organisms to be alive and well to reap any benefit from them.

The efficacy of a probiotics supplement – or the well-being of these organisms – can usually be evaluated through its label. By looking for and identifying specific information, you can easily gain confidence in buying a product that is fully of healthy, living organisms that promise to provide you with the tools for optimal well-being.

The efficacy of a probiotics supplement – or the well-being of these organisms – can usually be evaluated through its label. By looking for and identifying specific information, you can easily gain confidence in buying a product that is fully of healthy, living organisms that promise to provide you with the tools for optimal well-being.

Labelling Requirements:

In addition to the general labelling requirements under the food laws, the following information should also be mentioned on the label:

  • CFU/ml is the unit used to measure the number of active or live organisms in your Probiotic
  • Storage Information is the presence of storage directions or information on the label.
  • Expiration Dates should be mentioned on a probiotic product.
  • Probiotic Species are the species included in the product.

CFU/ml

The first step in choosing the right Probiotic is recognizing the value of CFUs. Colony Forming Units or CFU is the unit used to measure the number of active or live organisms in your Probiotic. This should not be confused as a measurement of the number of bacteria that is dead, inactive or alive under laboratory conditions. Instead, the CFU listed on the bottle is specifically designated for the viable organisms in the probiotic – or the micro-organisms that are capable of surviving the proper circumstances.

The indication of CFUs on your probiotics product is important because it stands as one of the best factors for comparison. When a product lists the CFUs, you are getting exactly that number of live organisms when you take your supplement. So when it comes to deciding between a probiotic that contains 8.6 billion CFUs to another that has 13.6, then you’re more likely to opt for the latter option.

A reputable probiotics brand will also state the number of colony forming units at the time of manufacture of at product expiration. This is essential to your decision making process because it displays whether or not you are really getting the number of microbes marked on the label.

CFUs should be the first thing you look for in a label. It tells you a lot about the probiotic from the start such as how reputable or honest the brand is, the quality of the product and if it’s a product that’s actually work the money.

Storage Information

The next factor which should you help you decide be the presence of storage directions or information on the label. Probiotics are full of live and active organisms and therefore require proper handling. General rule is when storing probiotics is to keep you product away from heat, air and moisture. Storage of the probiotic should be an indicator of a good product.

Expiration Dates

Expiration dates are also important pieces of information when choosing a probiotic. A quality probiotic supplement should have an expiration date. Bacteria can’t live forever on a shelf even if they are stored properly. Checking the expiration date in relation to the cfu/ml is a good idea. Some probiotics tell you how many cfu/ml you can expect in the product at the time of expiration instead of just at the time of manufacture. You want billions of bacteria to be present in your probiotic supplement both at the time of manufacture and the time of expiration. If the probiotic has an expiration date, look for the freshest product available. Even if the product has billions of bacteria present at expiration, there will be even more of these healthy organisms present in a freshly made batch. Make sure to pay attention to the expiration date once you’ve brought the product home, and replace your probiotics as needed.

Probiotic Species

The last crucial things to look for on a probiotic label are the species included in the product. Don’t buy a product that doesn’t tell you what species are included. You have no assurance you’ll be getting any useful organisms.

The four major tips above are the most important things you should look for when choosing a probiotic.

In addition, as per clause 2.10 of ICMR Guidelines, the following are required:

Labelling Requirements:

In addition to the general labelling requirements under the food laws, the following information should also be mentioned on the label

  • Genus, species and strain designation following the standard international nomenclature.
  • The minimum viable numbers of each probiotic strain should be specified at the level at which efficacy is claimed and at the end of shelf- life.
  • Evidence-based health claim(s) should be clearly stated.
  • The suggested serving size to deliver the minimum effective quantity of the probiotic related to the health claim.
  • Proper storage conditions to be mentioned.

Any good probiotic should have enough healthy, live bacteria for a strong population to make it into the gut. Once there, they will reproduce rapidly.

At the end of the day, Your goal is to obtain a probiotic that is filled with living organisms. The aforementioned suggestions will help you pick a great probiotic supplement that will improve your health.

More information can be found at http://dbtindia.gov.in/sites/default/files/PROBIOTICS-GUIDELINES-PDF_0.pdf

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