Guide to choosing the right probiotics

Choosing probiotics can be a jungle, as there are so many options available. Here is a checklist of 6 things to consider when choosing a health supplement with lactic acid bacteria:

Click on the questions to read the answers

Probiotics only contain lactic acid bacteria, while synbiotics contain a combination of lactic acid bacteria (probiotics) and dietary fibres (prebiotics). The advantage of synbiotics is that the fibres act as food for the bacteria during the journey down to the intestine and help the bacteria to increase in number. In addition, fibres are important for a normal bowel function. The Ministry of Health in Singapore recommends that an adult consumes at least 26 grams of fibre per day. However, studies show that most adults don’t consume this amount. 

There are many different strains (types) of lactic acid bacteria, but not all have the same characteristics. It is therefore important that the manufacturer tests the bacterial strains in clinical studies, where the supplement is tested on humans.

There are probiotic supplements that combine different bacterial strains, but lack clinical studies on how the bacterial strains interact with each other. When it comes to combining strains, there is a risk that the bacteria take out each other’s effect by competing. Therefore, it is very important that there are clinical studies on the final preparation and not only on individual strains.

You can see more about the clinical trials and research our supplements have participated in here. Or read more about our founder Professor Stig Bengmark and why he started Super Synbiotics.  

References

  • McFarland LV, Evans CT, Goldstein EJC . Strain-Specificity and Disease-Specificity of Probiotic Efficacy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018 May 7;5:124. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00124. PMID: 29868585; PMCID: PMC5949321.
  • Coyte KZ, Rakoff-Nahoum S. Understanding Competition and Cooperation within the Mammalian Gut Microbiome . Curr Biol. 2019 Jun 3;29(11):R538-R544. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.04.017. PMID: 31163167; PMCID: PMC6935513.

The dosage can differ tremendously between supplements, with some containing billions of bacteria while others only contain a few million. Too few bacteria can mean that the supplement does not have the desired effect. While the opposite, the more bacteria the better, is not necessarily true either. 

In fact, it’s not always the number of strains or the amount of bacteria that determines whether the product works better or worse. What’s important instead is which strain(s) are used and that their effect has been proven in clinical studies.

How many bacteria a supplement should contain to be effective can also vary. Some strains may be needed in larger quantities than others to fulfil their function. The need for bacteria also differs between individuals depending on whether they are taking a supplement for general health promotion purposes or to remedy, for example, specific stomach problems.

References

  • Shi LH, Balakrishnan K, Thiagarajah K, Mohd Ismail NI, Yin OS . Beneficial Properties of Probiotics. Trop Life Sci Res. 2016 Aug;27(2):73-90. doi: 10.21315/tlsr2016.27.2.6. PMID: 27688852; PMCID: PMC5031164.

The journey through the stomach down to the gut is not that easy because the bacteria have to pass through acidic bile and stomach acid. Studies have shown that different kinds of lactic acid bacteria do not make the passage. Make sure there are studies showing that the strains in the health supplement can actually make the journey down to the gut, where they can be beneficial.

References

Kailasapathy, K. and Chin, J. (2000), Survival and therapeutic potential of probiotic organisms with reference to Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium spp.. Immunol Cell Biol, 78: 80-88. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1711.2000.00886.x

Some companies specialize in developing products with lactic acid bacteria, while others only have probiotics as part of their wide range of dietary supplements. An advantage of supplements from specialists is that they often possesses more in-depth knowledge.

The fact that the brand has its own patents on the lactic acid bacteria can be seen as a seal of quality.

Probiotics and supplements in general do not work the same for everyone. When choosing a research-based health supplement in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can get the best conditions for strengthening your gut flora. A health supplement is not a universal solution or quick fix, but can work well as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle .

Bacteria & fibre for your gut

A Swedish health supplement that strengthens your gut flora
9/10 experience an improved effect on their health after 6 months or more

 20 years of clinical research by Professor Bengmark
4 patented bacterial strains
4 grams of gluten-free dietary fibres

read more here

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