I recently received this customer email and thought I would share my answer here:
Mike, Can you tell me what probiotic you recommend?
So here was my response:
I have a couple probiotics I really like, but I wanted to explain a little before I simply list them. I hope it’s not too impersonal, but I recorded a YouTube video on this topic that goes into greater detail than I could in an email.
You can watch it here [please excuse the most unfortunate screen cap ]:
As you’ll see in the video, there are three basic criteria to evaluating a probiotic:
1. The number of different strains of bacteria
2. The total number of active bacteria, or CFUs (colony forming units)
3. The media within which the bacteria resides
It’s this third point that I find is least known. While it’s very important to have a probiotoic that has a good number of various strains (think of these as breeds of dogs, each having a specialized function), I think it’s equally important to take note of the food that the bacteria is presented in. It’s this “food” that nourishes the bacteria while it’s in the capsule (after all, probiotics are living bacteria), and can also pave the way for successful colony formation by acting as a pre-biotic.
Most good companies go to great lengths to ensure numbers one and two above, but usually end there. In order to sustain the bacteria they simply add some complex sugars (like something called FOS) and call it a day. However, there are a few companies that do include a variety of powerful foods, to increase the potency of the probiotics. I tend to like the ones with food more, because they are closer to the way we would find probiotics in our diet naturally.
This brings me to my favorite products (I’ve used all of these at one time or another):
1. All-Flora by New Chapter (really ALL the New Chapter probiotics, but All-Flora is their basic)
2. MegaFlora by MegaFood
3. ReNew Life’s Ultimate Flora products
Now, here’s the confusing part – only New Chapter includes the foods and thus, addresses number three above. So that’s why it’s my favorite.
However, even though MegaFood and ReNew Life do not focus on the media, I have found both these products to be excellent, providing great benefit to many. In fact, I can think of more than a handful of people who have stopped to tell me how much they’ve been helped by these products.
So in summary, I wanted to give you some options. I have used all three of the products above and really do like them just about equally. If I have to choose one, I would choose All Flora because of the inclusion of food. (But this is where I cheat because, I actually rotate these products throughout the year to mix things up nutritionally.)
I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to email or stop in!
Best in health, Mike