Best Types of Probiotic Supplements for Digestive Health

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Probiotics, Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Find out what to look for when shopping for a good probiotic supplement

When people first started to learn how important probiotics are for proper digestion, elimination, and overall good health, many nutritional supplement manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon and flooded the market with probiotic products that may very well be worthless. The problem is that most of the beneficial bacteria in these products probably don’t survive long enough to reach you—or, more specifically, your gut. For instance:

  • Many probiotics are dead on arrival in your intestines. Because your stomach acids are so powerful, they kill off most probiotics well before they can reach your small and large intestines. And they won’t do you an ounce of good once they’re dead.
  • Most probiotics can’t survive transportation and storage. Probiotics are extremely delicate—they can’t survive exposure to light, air, or even oxygen. And if you’re taking a brand that needs refrigeration, it has got to be refrigerated 100% of the time. The truth is, by the time most probiotic products leave the manufacturer, get shipped on trucks, and sit in warehouses or on store shelves, the power of the beneficial bacteria has been significantly—and in some cases completely—diminished.
  • Manufacturers overpromise the potency of probiotics. Many may promise you one billion live acidophilus organisms—but only on the date of manufacture!

Instead, you need to take a probiotic that delivers healthy bacteria to your gut each and every time you take it, and up until its expiration date.

Powerful Probiotics Delivered Intact

After years of searching worldwide for an effective solution to the problems with probiotic manufacturing and delivery, I have discovered a couple of methods for effectively packaging and storing live, active, beneficial bacteria and delivering them intact to the large intestine.

  • Controlled-Release Technology. Controlled-release formulas are specially coated to protect the probiotics from gastric acid and ultimately deliver a high percentage of live probiotic bacteria to the intestines. One of my favorite such technologies that both protects the majority of a supplement’s probiotics from stomach acid and also provides optimal release of live organisms throughout the entire digestive tract is called BIO-tract. Available in a number of probiotic supplements, the BIO-tract delivery system is so impressive to me that I've recently reformulated my probiotic to include the BIO-tract technology.
  • Beadlet Technology. This process was developed in Japan and involves enclosing live probiotic bacteria in a small, pearl-shaped beadlet, where the walls of the beadlet are formulated to survive stomach acid and release their contents only when they reach the more neutral environment of the intestines.

Both of these types of delivery systems also ensure an extended shelf life for these probiotic products and don't require refrigeration. So when looking for a probiotic supplement, choose one that uses either a controlled-release technology or the beadlet formulation and states that refrigeration is not necessary.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Digestive Health and Probiotics

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