You likely already know that taking a probiotic supplement is a good idea for many reasons, including the fact that friendly flora can help to support immune function, nutrient absorption, energy levels, and even mood. By replenishing your microbiome with beneficial bacteria, you’re taking a responsible and meaningful step towards maintaining vibrant health and wellness.
However, did you know that many probiotic supplements out there aren’t delivering the diverse supply of live organisms you might expect? The truth is there are some very powerful details that require your attention so that you can discern the quality probiotic supplements from those that won’t do much to support your health.
At Hyperbiotics, we want you to be sure you’re getting the highest quality supplements for your money and your health. We had to do our research and dig deeper when developing our formulas, and we support you in doing the same with your choices. That’s why we’re happy to help you understand the need-to-know differences in probiotic supplements, so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.
What to Consider When Choosing a Probiotic Supplement
When it comes to what makes some probiotics much better than others, these are the most important questions to ask:
Is there a diversity of strains?
There are many culprits that can deplete our good intestinal flora, such as the modern diet, stress, excessive hygiene habits, toxins in our homes and environments, aging, and frequent medication use. This can all lead to possible negative effects on all types of probiotic strains in our gut, each with their own functions and health benefits.
Therefore, it makes sense that you’d want a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of strains to "cover your bases" and maintain your uniquely diverse microbiome as it faces all the challenges our modern lifestyle creates.
For example, our leading formula, PRO-15, contains a diverse set of 15 targeted strains to replenish your gut and give you full spectrum support. This is a far more comprehensive approach than focusing on just a few strains, which could leave significant ecological niches within your digestive tract unsupported.
Are the strains resident to the human gut?
Active Yeasts and Soil Based Organisms (SBOs), which are organisms found in the soil and not intended to reside in the human body, are growing in popularity (mostly because of their hardy ability to survive stomach acids) and are still labeled as probiotics.
The problem is that these strains are a different type of probiotic altogether, and some question if they are indeed safe for us all to consume. We believe it’s a wiser choice to focus on replenishing the strains that should naturally live in the human intestinal tract, such as Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Bifidobacterium, and we have designed each of our formulas accordingly.
Do they have protection from stomach acids?
As probiotics travel through our bodies toward the areas they must reach to colonize and get to work within the GI tract, they encounter the harshness of our stomach acids, which is often detrimental to these sensitive organisms.
In fact, in vitro studies show that a narrow 4% of the bacteria present in standard probiotic capsules, powders, and liquids are able to survive as they move through the stomach, simply because they don’t have adequate protection.
You see, most probiotic supplements use either veggie capsules or enteric-coated capsules. Veggie capsules, although they sound nice, don’t actually provide any protection from your stomach acids. Even the “delayed-release” versions only stave off the release of the healthy probiotic organisms by up to 45 minutes, which is not nearly enough time for them to bypass the danger zone of the stomach.
While enteric-coated capsules do shield microbes to some degree, there are a few other drawbacks you should keep in mind:
1. The enteric coating itself contains both air and moisture, which is damaging to the freeze-dried probiotic powder inside due to its ‘hygroscopic’ nature, which means it absorbs moisture from the air. When this happens, the beneficial flora are killed before they even have a chance to get into your system.
2. Enteric-coated capsules are typically made by dipping the capsule into a synthetic chemical, which you must ingest with the probiotic itself.
Obviously, we want far more than 4% of the probiotics we take to survive, which is why we use a patented delivery method called BIO-tract® that ensures that a remarkable 60% of the organisms are able to make their full journey past harmful stomach acids to reach their home base in the small and large intestine. That’s 15 times more survivability than plain capsules!
Here’s how BIO-tract® works: When gastric fluids moisten the tablet, a gel matrix forms a protective layer around it, directing the beneficial organisms to release much later in their journey (over the course of 8-10 hours). Because the probiotics are successfully delivered at consistent levels throughout the intestinal tract, they are able to reach those areas where they can best support your health. This technology is the only controlled-release delivery that exists for probiotics and is patented in 31 countries.
Are they designed to survive exposure to heat?
Besides moisture and air, there’s a third risk factor to consider when it comes to the survivability of delicate probiotic organisms: heat.
You may be aware that some probiotics require refrigeration. While in transit to our homes or even to the stores where they’re sold, probiotic supplements are often exposed to many different temperatures and aren't maintained in cold environments. This is a tricky situation because these friendly flora are sensitive and even small amounts of heat are often fatal for them, meaning it’s quite possible that many of the probiotics on store shelves today contain organisms that are already dead.
This is precisely why, along with our BIO-tract® method, we also use a patented manufacturing process called LiveBac® to protect our probiotic organisms from die off due to heat. In fact, we’re able to guarantee their viability until the date of expiration on the bottom of the bottle—without ever needing to refrigerate them!
Do they contain unhealthy ingredients?
We take probiotics for the natural benefits they provide, so it simply makes sense to look for natural formulas free from anything we’re also trying to avoid in our diet. That’s why we ensure all of our probiotic strains are non-GMO and that our comprehensive formulas are free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, gluten, soy, lactose, yeast, and sugar.
At Hyperbiotics, we’re proud to walk alongside you on the journey toward optimal health. That’s why we carefully considered each of these factors when we set out to create our premium probiotic formulas.
We want to help you make the most informed choices, and we hope that by weighing your options based on accurate information and facts, you’ll have the tools you need to choose a probiotic formula that best supports your healthiest days yet.
Written by Jamie Morea, Gut Health Evangelist, Mama Bird & Co-founder of Hyperbiotics. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.