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What You Need to Know about Choosing a Probiotic Supplement

by Kevin Lamberg

What makes a probiotic formula stand above and outperform the others? Nowadays, almost every company offers a version of a probiotic supplement. At first glance, the differences between them appear small, and the most important differentiator for some practitioners can be as simple as familiarity with the company offering the product. After all, all formulas must contain some degree of probiotic colonizing activity to meet label claim. So why overly scrutinize them? Don’t you have too much to do already? Alternatively, why not just look for the product that claims to offer the latest enteric coating innovation or the one that provides the most colony forming units (CFUs)?

Knowing more about the key differentiators matters. How can you choose the best formula to occupy coveted shelf-space in your dispensary with all of the competing opinions? This article aims to answer your questions and help you identify the most relevant features when choosing the right probiotic.

bacillus-bacteriaWe know the human intestines are home to a diverse population of microbes that perform specialized functions, and these bacteria are collectively known as the microbiome. There are at least 100-trillion microorganisms that inhabit every normal, healthy human bowel, which is astonishingly more than the number of cells in a human body! Most of these organisms (or microflora) are supportive of health and contribute to a broad range of functions.

When one considers that one of the most important roles of the large intestines is the growth of bacteria that produce needed vitamins like B1, B2, B12, and K, it’s easy to see why a healthy microbiome is important. Also, these same bacteria perform other, equally important functions, such as building the immune system and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria that challenge immunity. A loss of balance in the intestinal flora can create a series of cascading adverse events on a multitude of body systems that can affect overall health. functions.

Genera Diversity and Adherence Potential

Genera diversity is an essential element in a properly developed probiotic formula. INNATE Flora contains four genuses of probiotics, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus, and Streptococcus, each selected for their adhesion to human epithelial cells and their affinity to living in different areas of the intestinal tract. This variability ensures benefit throughout the entire intestinal tract. So when considering the key differentiators, it is easy to see why diversity should be one of the most important factors when choosing a formula. This is why INNATE Flora offers broad-spectrum genera that mimic the natural diversity of beneficial flora found in a healthy GI tract and have excellent adhesion to human epithelial cells.*

Refrigeration and Probiotic Quality

Interestingly, only a limited number of strains are stable for an extended period away from refrigeration. Refrigerated formulas typically offer a complete range of strains. Because we provide a complete formula, we recommend a consistent, cold, long-term storage climate for the INNATE Flora products. As a side note, INNATE purposefully adds approximately 20% additional potency coverage to each bottle of Flora to account for any loss of activity due to shipping, or storage.

Limiting Exposure with Glass Bottles

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, it is often moisture that damages probiotic activity more than temperature, which accounts for our use of glass bottles. Glass provides an impervious barrier to the outside environment and is superior to plastic in this regard. Nevertheless, patients should always be instructed to reclose the bottle after every use and keep it in a stable environment to limit exposure to excessive heat and humidity whenever possible.

Withstanding Stomach Acid

In the order of importance next to genera diversity is maximizing the adherence potential of the probiotic blend. The INNATE Flora products include a combination of genera that can withstand stomach acid.* Proper selection is crucial to increase the adherence potential of the probiotic in the gastrointestinal tract so they can face the dramatic variance in pH.

The genera used in INNATE flora were specially chosen for their resistance to low pH conditions in the stomach and their ability to survive in the presence of bile at concentrations found in the duodenum.* Additionally, resistance to stomach acid is the main reason the product is not enterically coated.  It is simply not needed. While enteric coatings may seem like a great concept, there is a risk that they will not fully break down in the stomach, and instead will serve as a barrier in the small and large intestine rather than a carrier. What’s more concerning is that some enteric coatings come from plastic polymers.

Trusted Purity

When sourcing a product you can trust, it is important to consider all of these factors. At INNATE, we reconfirm our pledge to you and your patients that all of the probiotic strains we include in our formulas have been tested to pass our strict purity specifications. Based on increased consumer inquiries about concerns related to strains cultured on dairy media, all of the strains we use are centrifuged and tested to be free of milk proteins. In addition to being guaranteed free of dairy proteins, they are all tested free of soy and carry a gluten-free certification. Soy, dairy, and gluten are potential allergens that are commonly used as growth media for probiotic strains. So be sure to confirm that the product you recommend is safe for your sensitive patients.

Variable Strengths

INNATE offers a wide-ranging probiotic ladder of support for all your protocols and patient needs, including four intensive formulations: the Flora 5-14, the Flora 20-14, the Flora 50-14 and the high potency Flora 200-14. The first number listed in our Flora products refers to CFU amount contained in the product in billions  and the second number refers to the number of beneficial strains. INNATE Flora products have multiple potencies to provide intense short-term and long-term foundational therapies for various life stages. This flexibility allows for better results and outcomes because when it comes to dosing microflora, one size does not fit all.

Genera diversity, adherence potential, refrigeration, glass bottles, withstanding stomach acid, trusted purity and variable strengths are the seven factors to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement line. The INNATE Flora line fulfills all of these requirements and does so at a competitive price. If you have already chosen a probiotic line, or are currently searching for one and consider these factors, how does it measure up? Try a bottle of Flora 50-14 Ultra Strength, a frequently used potency, and see why it belongs in your dispensary.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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