One of my first posts for Legumes & Layettes discussed the importance of supplements to your overall heath. I harp on the importance of one supplement in particular—the probiotic. I recommend a probiotic supplement to everyone; especially, those recently treated with an antibiotic in order to replace killed off beneficial bacteria. You can obtain healthy doses of probiotics via diet. Some examples of sources include: yogurt, fermented foods, kombucha, and kefir.
In my post I shared which supplement brands my family utilizes. You should always do your own research in regards to supplements as they are largely unregulated and can contain harmful toxins just like processed foods.
Probiotic supplements in particular are very dicey because they don't always deliver what they promise. Benefits of probiotics are directly linked to their viability which can be impacted by manufacturing, storage, and transportation.
Live organisms in probiotic supplements start the slow process of dying off once they are bottled and exposure to heat, moisture, and oxygen speed up this process. To ensure they are still viable when you take them it's best to chose brands that provide temperature control and list CFU's at time of expiration rather than manufacture. The brand I originally chose was Renew Life Probiotics as it checked off all the essentials in my list re: choosing a viable probiotic.
It's difficult to determine whether or not your probiotics are providing the expected health benefits based on symptoms alone. That's why testing your probiotic's viability is imperative.
I recently tested the probiotics my family takes using a simple at-home test and was disgusted to find out that the supplements weren't viable AT ALL. It's possible we all had "bad batches" and the brand is still reliable but very unlikely since across the board our Renew Life probiotics all turned out to be fill with dead organisms. There's nothing more rage inducing than realizing you paid 40+dollars a bottle for a placebo.
To save yourself a lot of wasted money be diligent and test your probiotic's viability at home. Here's how in four easy steps:
1) Pour 1/2 cup of milk into a glass
2) Add 2 doses of your probiotic
3) Mix doses into the milk
4) Check the appearance of the milk 24 hours later
If your probiotics are viable they will interact with the milk altering its physical appearance. The milk will appear frothy, curdled, or clumpy (similar to yogurt). You can always leave a glass of milk out that doesn't contain the probiotics and compare the two glasses after 24 hours, if one looks different than the probiotic was viable.
I have switched probiotic brands to one that successfully passes at home tests: Garden of Life Raw Probiotics.