Research into the gut microbiome has exploded in recent years, and so too has the number of probiotic supplements available online, in health food shops and even supermarkets too.
Choosing a probiotic supplement has therefore become a bit of a minefield! With such a crowded marketplace, it’s almost impossible to choose. And when faced with such extensive choice, many people will make their decision based on price. For some, the cheapest will win, others feel safer opting for a middle of the road priced product, and for some, an expensive price tag adds an extra level of reassurance.
Unfortunately, none of these are an effective way to select a probiotic supplement, here's why...
Probiotics are classified according to:
1. Genus (e.g. Lactobacillus)
2. Species (e.g. Acidophilus)
3. Strain (e.g. NCFM®)
Scientific research into the benefits of probiotic supplementation is carried out on specific strains. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® is the best studied probiotic strain in the world and has over 60 clinical studies demonstrating its extensive health benefits.
The most extensively researched strains include:
• Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
• Lactobacillus paracasei lpc-37
• Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07
• Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-04
• Saccharomyces boulardii
The single, most important piece of advice you need to follow when choosing a probiotic supplement is to check the label and only select a product that contains specific strains that have been extensively researched, such as those listed above. This is the only way to ensure that the product you buy has the potential to deliver significant health benefits.
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