Probiotics and CFUs: How Many Is Enough?
30 billion is more than 20 billion so it must be better, right? When it comes to probiotic counts, that isn’t actually true. If you’ve ever shopped for probiotics before, you have probably seen bottles labeled with 30 billion CFUs, 50 billion CFUs, or even 100 billion CFUs! However, more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to probiotics. What do these numbers actually mean? Let’s debunk the “more is better” myth surrounding gut bacteria.
What are CFUs?
CFU stands for “colony forming units.” This refers to the number of active and live microorganisms found in the probiotic supplement you are taking. CFUs play a role in how effective your probiotic supplement is – but the higher number doesn’t mean better performance or potency. Because there are so many different probiotic strains and other factors to consider (like personal health), there is no set dose for probiotic CFUs. CFUs only refer to living microorganisms in the product, meaning they can maintain stability and reproduce in the right environment.
Are more CFUs better?
Many probiotic supplements have high CFU numbers, such as 50 billion or 100 billion. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are superior to other probiotic formulas – and the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements agrees. The ultimate purpose of probiotics is to balance the gut microbiome – or your intestinal ecosystem. The average person can do this without a super-serving of probiotics. Plus, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, and too many probiotics may cause discomfort.
While there is no set dose for CFU numbers, there is a baseline suggested from research in clinical studies. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that adults consume between 10 and 20 billion CFUs per day. This is for someone who wants to support balance in their digestive tract. A person experiencing specific gastrointestinal issues may need more as directed by a physician.
Other factors that may impact how many CFUs are right for you include age, sensitivities, your personal digestive health, and the strains that are included.
How are CFUs counted?
CFUs are measured by estimating the number of live bacteria cells in a sample. Because cells are so small, CFUs are measured in a bacterial culture where growth is tracked. Colonies show clusters of bacteria growing together, and these colonies are counted. CFUs are then calculated with a specific scientific formula.
What changes CFU counts?
The way your probiotics are stored may change the CFU count on the bottle. Properly storing your probiotics can protect them from their biggest enemies: heat and moisture. High heat and high moisture can weaken probiotic strains, causing them to lose their potency. Improper can even weaken probiotics to the point where they aren’t active anymore.
How should I store probiotics to protect CFU counts?
It’s easy to protect the integrity of your probiotic supplement! Here are some easy storage tips:
- Store probiotics in a cool, dry place
- Do not store probiotics near a shower or in a humid place
- Make sure the lid of your probiotic supplement is closed tightly
- Keep probiotics out of sunlight
- Keep probiotics in their original packaging
Storing your probiotics in a refrigerator like the Teami Luxe Skincare Fridge can also help protect them from heat and moisture.
Gut Love contains 20 million CFUs
We wanted to get our probiotics supplement just right – and that meant being reasonable about CFUs! Teami Gut Love is a convenient powder probiotic supplement that contains 20 million colony forming units in each serving so you can maintain digestive balance.
Gut Love makes it easy to get your daily probiotics in one scoop by mixing it with water or your favorite smoothie. Available in two flavors, Unflavored and Triple Berry, Gut Love is “just right” when it comes to choosing a probiotic based on CFUs. It works best when used with a meal, but you can use it at any time of the day.
The 20 billion CFUs in Gut Love deliver seven probiotic strains:
- Lactococcus lactis
- Bacillus subtilis DE111
- Lactobacillus paracasei
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus casei
The seven strains in Gut Love are diverse to fully support the gut microbiome. Plus, Gut Love contains prebiotics too – the food your gut bacteria need to stay active!
There are some people who will need probiotics with higher CFU counts than average. However, most experts today agree that probiotics with higher-than-average CFUs are not necessarily better. Your gut microbiome is as unique as your personality, and you can likely achieve the benefits of probiotics without a sky-high number of colony forming units.
Adi Arezzini | @adiarezzini
Co-Founder + CEO, Teami Blends
Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach
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