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5 Red Flags To Watch Out For When Buying Probiotics

by Katie Stone, ND August 26, 2018

5 Red Flags To Watch Out For When Buying Probiotics

There's no doubt that probiotic supplements can do wonders for your health. But choosing the right one is incredibly important! In this article, we're going to take a look at the five red flags that you need to be aware of when you make your choice.

Probiotics have been scientifically proven to improve a number of different health conditions. Up to 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, so this has major advantages for your overall health.

Probiotics help to keep pathogens in check by preventing harmful yeast and bacteria from spreading. And the lactic and acetic acid produced by probiotic bacteria maintain healthy levels of acidity in the gut, allowing for proper digestion.

There's no doubt that probiotics can be tremendously beneficial for your health, but where do you start? No two probiotic supplements are the same, and there are some that you should definitely avoid. Let's take a closer look.

Here are the 5 RED FLAGS to look for when choosing a quality probiotic.

Red Flag #1: Your probiotic uses regular vegetable capsules

Veggie capsules sound good, right? Especially if you’re a vegetarian. Unfortunately, they’re not really suitable for probiotics.

The contents of your stomach are naturally so acidic that a standard veggie capsule will quickly break down, releasing its probiotic bacteria before it has a chance to reach the intestines. The bacteria will most likely then be destroyed by the stomach acid and unable to deliver many – if any – colonizing bacteria to the gut.

There are more suitable alternatives. Look for capsules with either enteric coating or some kind of delayed release technology:


This new technology uses an ingenious and very effective method to get probiotics past your stomach acid.

Instead of the probiotics being poured into a capsule, they are compressed into a tablet. When the tablet is moistened by the fluids in your stomach, a gel matrix forms on the outside of the tablet. This tablet creates a protective layer that protects your probiotics from stomach acids and enables them to travel safely to your intestines.

Research has shown BIO-tract to be about 15 times more effective than veggie capsules at transporting probiotics through stomach acid. This patented delivery system is the best available, and we use it for our own probiotic

Enteric Coated / Delayed Release

Some probiotics come with an acid-proof enteric coating designed to survive the harsh conditions of the stomach. When you see ‘delayed release’ capsules, this is typically the technology that they are using.

Probiotics with an enteric coating are not generally as effective as BIO-tract, but are less likely to be destroyed by stomach acid than a regular vegetable capsule.

Solution: Buy a probiotic that uses a delivery system to get bacteria past stomach acid. Our probiotic uses market-leading, patented BIO-tract technology to create tablets that survive stomach acid.

Red Flag #2: Your probiotic contains less than 5bn CFUs

Probiotics contain a certain amount of living bacteria per dose. Each living bacterium is referred to as a colony-forming unit (CFU). Clinical trials have shown successful results with supplements containing a minimum of 10 billion CFU and up to 100 billion.

Because some bacteria will always die during the journey from the mouth to the intestines, it’s important to take a probiotic supplement that contains as many bacteria as possible. The more the better. A good probiotic should contain at least 5 billion CFUs per dose in order to provide maximum benefit.

Note that the delivery mechanism is very important here too. For example, 5bn CFUs in a BIO-tract tablet might deliver more probiotics to your gut than 75 billion CFUs in a regular veggie capsule. If you buy a probiotic with BIO-tract, it doesn't need to contain a huge CFU count.

Solution: Buy a probiotic that contains at least 5 billion CFUs. Anything less is unlikely to be effective. Our probiotic contains 15 billion CFUs, and delivers more of those to your gut where they're needed.

Red Flag #3: Your probiotic doesn’t contain the most important strains

While there are hundreds of different probiotic strains out there, some have been studied more than others. Clinical trials of certain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains have provided evidence that some strains are not only more beneficial than others, but are better able to colonize the gut and survive certain conditions.

Research suggests that three of the most effective strains are:

L. acidophilus:The most-studied Lactobacillus strain, L. acidophilus easily establishes itself in the walls of the small intestine. It’s been shown to enhance absorption of nutrients and improve overall digestion, especially of dairy products.

B. longum: As one of the most common bacteria in the adult digestive tract, B. longum helps in maintaining the integrity of the gut wall. It also reduces gastrointestinal discomfort caused by stress, and increases the acidity of the digestive tract, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.

B. bifidum: Found in both the small and large intestine, B. bifidum plays a major role in the digestion of lactose-containing foods. This is especially important for adults who lose the lactase enzyme. B. bifidum also helps in breaking down complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

Solution: Buy a probiotic that contains a variety of researched strains found naturally in the gut microbiome. Our probiotic has 12 different strains, including L. acidophilus, B. longum, B. bifidum, and many more.

    Red Flag #4: Your probiotic only contains a few strains

    Even if your probiotic has a high number of CFU, if it only contains one or two strains it won’t be as effective as a product that contains multiple strains.

    Each strain of probiotic bacteria functions slightly differently and has different benefits for the body. They’re also concentrated in different places throughout the digestive tract.

    That’s why it’s best to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of well-researched strains that have been shown to benefit the gut and will work together to improve your health.

    L. acidophilus has been shown to reduce diarrhea, boost the immune system and treat vaginal yeast infections. It also helps to improve lactose intolerance.

    L. rhamnosus improves skin health, particularly eczema. It also helps to reduce diarrhea.

    B. lactis is highly beneficial for improving both the immune system and digestion.

    L. longum is particularly helpful in both boosting brain function and improving memory, while also treating constipation.

    Other beneficial strains to look for include B. breve, B. infantis, B. bifidum, S. boularrdii and L. casei.

    Solution: Buy a probiotic that contains at least 6 probiotic strains. This will increase the chance of positive improvements to your gut health. Our probiotic has 12 different probiotic strains.

      Red Flag #5: Your probiotic contains harmful ingredients

      Many food products today contain huge numbers of potentially harmful chemicals such as colorings, preservatives, and sweeteners. These may be added to a product in order to increase its shelf life, or to improve taste and appearance. But there is no reason for these to be present in your probiotic supplement!

      A good probiotic supplement should contain as few binders, fillers, colorants, flavorings, preservatives, tableting aids or additives as possible.

      While additives such as colorants and flavorings may be deemed ‘safe’ by the FDA, numerous studies have suggested that they may be linked to acute intolerance or allergic reactions, or even may increase risks of serious long-term illnesses such as cancer.

      After all, probiotic supplements are taken to improve your health – not harm it! Check the ingredients label on a product to see whether it contains any excipients (additives) that you don’t need.

      Solution: Buy a probiotic that doesn't contain fillers, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.Our probiotic contains only naturally-derived ingredients that won't damage or inflame your gut.

      The Right Probiotic Will Improve Your Health

      Choosing the best probiotic for you is simply a matter of knowing what to look for. Don’t automatically grab the first one you see, the cheapest one, or the one your friend recommended.

      Look carefully at all the ingredients, the number of CFUs, the particular probiotic strains included, and the delivery system.

      If you want a probiotic that fits all these criteria, our new probiotic is just for you.

      Our Balance One probiotic has 15 billion CFUs of bacteria, 12 potent strains, and no harmful fillers or additives. Most importantly, it use the BIO-tract delivery system to get those bacteria where they're needed.

      You can find it on Amazon here, or on our website here. Shipping within the US will be free, and you can rest assured that you're buying a high-quality, made-in-the-USA probiotic.

      Katie Stone, ND
      Katie Stone, ND

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