Tips for Buying Probiotics on Amazon

June 8, 2017
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Look up the term “probiotics” on Amazon and you’ll find nearly 4,000 results. Prices range from around $15 to more than $3,500 (for a 25-pound bag of a probiotic powder). How can you possibly know what products will be right for you, or whether or not you’ll be getting your money’s worth. Here’s some information that will hopefully help you make sense of your options.

Why Purchase Probiotics on Amazon?

There is absolutely no shortage of ads for probiotic products. It seems that you can’t turn on your television or navigate the internet without being bombarded with messages shouting how great they are for the body. But exactly what are probiotics, and why should you consider buying them?

Probiotics Amazon are designed to bolster the number of beneficial bacteria and certain other microbes in your body. Now, when you see the word “bacteria,” you more than likely think of some devastating disease, and you have good reason. There are several harmful bacteria that cause all manner of health problems. These are the ones that get just about all the notoriety.

But there are actually beneficial bacteria and other microbes that we need in our gastrointestinal tract, commonly referred to as the “gut.” These perform several different functions that are necessary for our well-being. Probiotic products are meant to make sure there is the right balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut. Here are just a few of the benefits that have been associated with different types of probiotic microbes.

Beneficial Microbes

The vast majority of microbes found in probiotics Amazon are bacterial strains, but some products also include yeasts. These probiotics make sure that harmful bacteria don’t take over in the gut. These are a few of the microbes found in probiotic products, along with their potential benefits.

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Just about every probiotic you’ll find will contain this bacterium – or at least, it should. L. acidophilus is one of the most important bacterial strains because it helps to inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes.1 This is vital to maintaining the proper balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum L. plantarum, like many other types of probiotics, are naturally found in certain foods such as sauerkraut and yogurt. But unless you want to eat a lot of those foods each day, you’ll want to take a probiotic capsule, powder, or drink containing L. plantarum. The reason is that this strain can, according to research, help people suffering from gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.2
  • Lactobacillus reuteri L. reuteri, which is found in human breast milk, also helps ensure the right balance between good and bad microbes in the gut. It has also been associated with improved functioning of the immune system.3
  • Saccharomyces boulardii This isn’t a strain of bacteria, but rather a form of yeast. It has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of diarrhea, often help people get over attacks sooner – in some cases, by as much as a day or a day and a half.4

Read the Labels Carefully

This is where buying probiotics Amazon can get a bit tricky. But if you know what you’re looking for beforehand, your decision should be a lot easier. You’ll need to look closely at the labels of any probiotic products you’re considering. The reason is that within those labels, you’ll find clues regarding the quality of those products.

For example, the label should include information on the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) of beneficial bacteria that are contained in each serving. A “serving” could be a portion of powder you’ll be putting into a drink, a capsule you’ll be taking, an amount of a probiotic liquid you’ll be drinking, etc.

The number of CFUs will vary pretty widely, from one billion to hundreds of billions. Most experts suggest you try to find a product that contains anywhere from 15-30 billion CFUs per serving. Ones that contain hundreds of billions of CFUs can get extremely expensive, and there’s not a lot of scientific evidence that they will bring you substantially more benefits.

You will also need to look at certain phrases that will give you a good idea of whether or not the product you are considering is worth the money. If you see a label that states something along the lines of, “viable at the time of manufacture,” scratch that product off of your list. The reason is that there’s no guarantee that the microbes contained in the product will be alive when you ingest them. If, on the other hand, you see wording to the effect of, “viable until expiration date,” that’s a good indication the microbes will be alive.

Storage information should also be prominently displayed on the label. There are some products that need to be refrigerated in order for the microbes inside of them to be able to survive. But if you see a product that says no refrigeration is necessary, that usually means the microbes have been freeze-dried. They’re in a kind of suspended animation and will come back to life once you ingest them. These kinds of products only need to be stored in a cool, dry place that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight.

If you buy probiotics Amazon in capsule form, look for those that have an “enteric” coating. The stomach is filled with extremely strong acid, and this acid can eat away at the coating of capsules that don’t have a special coating. If this happens, the microbes inside those capsules won’t live long enough to get to the gut and do their jobs.

Before You Buy …

Talk to your doctor before you buy probiotics on Amazon. These products are thought to be safe for people who are generally in good health. However, it will be very important to speak with your doctor first if you have a serious illness (especially one involving the intestines) or a compromised immune system. The reason is that probiotics can sometimes make symptoms worse in some people.

Hopefully you’ll find this information helpful when you sit down in front of your computer to buy probiotics Amazon. Doing a little bit of research could go a long way toward making sure you get the most for your money.

Sources:

1http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1988.tb09312.x/abstract

2http://journals.lww.com/jcge/Abstract/2004/07002/Probiotics_in_The_Treatment_of_Irritable_Bowel.14.aspx

3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871281/

4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805518/