How To Choose a Probiotic

The human digestive tract contains more live bacteria than your body has cells.  These bacteria can almost be thought of as a borrowed organ given how essential they are to human health.

Male digestive system anatomy anterior viewTo help the health of this “organ system” we can take what are called “probiotics”. These are bacteria we swallow in the foods we eat (fermented foods) or take as supplements.  Before the advent of refrigeration and food sterilization, humans ingested a wide range of bacterial probiotics daily.

The change in our food preparation, sterilization and storage as well as the wide use of antibiotics has had profound and unforeseen consequences on our health.  Only very recently have we realized how important these compounds are for human health.

Probiotics are not the same as prebiotics. Prebiotics are fiber like compounds such as inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and others. Prebiotics can act as food for bacteria already living in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are often found packaged along with probiotics.

What They Do?

The digestive tract contains hundreds if not thousands of different bacterial species. This reservoir of intestinal bacteria is often called the “intestinal flora”.

Probiotics are used when the natural intestinal flora is disrupted by poor diet, illness, or antibiotic use. Probiotics work be re-colonizing the intestine and “crowding out” more harmful bacteria.

These probiotic species living in our intestines produce vitamins for us and help regulate proper immune function. They can even change the efficiency of the calories we consume.

How to Choose a Probiotic:

There is tremendous variation in types of probiotics on the market.  This makes choosing the correct ones difficult. There are 3 steps to follow when looking at probiotics:

  1. Purchase products that contain the species of probiotic proven to work for your complaint or issue.
  2. Make sure the product you buy has an adequate number bacteria.
  3. Get the good stuff. Analysis by independent sources shows that the more expensive products tend to provide more live, viable bacteria. When it comes to probiotics, you get what you pay for.

Some decent general probitoics based on price and potency are listed below. However, remember when dealing with specific conditions, you will need specific species. This is often the reason people do not notice improvement in symptoms when taking probiotics.

  • Enzymatic Therapy brand. Acidophilus Pearls
  • Garden of Life brand. Raw Probiotics
  • Jarrow brand. Jarrow-Dophilus
  • Kyo-Dophilus
  • Sedona Labs. iFlora Multiprobiotics
  • Solgar brand. Advance Multi-billion Dophilus
    Now brand. Gr8-Dophilus

Also, If you have milk allergy, realize that many probiotics will contain trace amounts of milk proteins. You should assume any probiotic made with Lactobacilli or Bifidobacterium will contain trace milk proteins.

Want to compare and see whether or not you are taking the right probiotic species for your issue? We created a probiotic cheat sheet. It’s FREE. You can access by the link below:

Understand Which Probiotics To Use For Your Concerns



7 Responses to How To Choose a Probiotic

  1. Carrie Singh February 4, 2014 at 10:50 AM #

    Hey Jade Thanks for the article. Any suggestions for a good probiotic combination for leaky gut/autoimmune? I currently take Klaire Labs Factor 6 .It’s quite expensive.

    Also, what do you think about taking a few different brands to get a full range of options? Is that overkill? is it remotely dangerous?

    Finally, you recommend taking them with food in the AM?

    Thanks for all the good info you share. Carrie

    • Jade Teta February 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM #

      Hi Carrie.

      If you download the probiotic cheat sheet, it will answer most of these questions. Just hit the access button above. Thanks so much for your interest.

  2. MR February 14, 2014 at 1:14 PM #

    I just discovered your site and it is one of the best health blogs I’ve read. I work in the dietary supplement industry as a product developer consultant and I read a lot! I hope your readers appreciate what a good job you do. Your probiotic cheat sheet is excellent. I notice you do mention B lactis HN019. It was studied for slow transit constipation and 6 other digestive issues and reduced transit around 20 hours. Here’s the full text

    Disclosure: I consult for Nutri-Health that uses HN019 (above the clinical dosage) in its product Flora Source (also sold to health practitioners as iFlora Sedona Labs).

    Your post on

  3. erica March 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM #


    I have been reading studies regarding the weight loss effect of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, specifically the CGMCC1.3724 (LPR) strain. But have found it very difficult to identify a probiotic supplement with this strain. Any ideas?


    • Jade Teta April 6, 2014 at 9:26 AM #

      Your best bet at this time is to look for a probiotic with L. Rhamnosus and B. Lactis. The strains will typically not be listed in most over the counter brands. But many good OTC brands with have these organisms. It is too early in the research presently to know which strains are really beneficial but the two just mentioned as well as L. Gaseri seem to be the ones that have promise. Our favorite OTC probiotic is by Garden of Life Primal Defense HSO

      • Robert. Glass June 22, 2015 at 1:38 AM #


        I was taking HMF Forte for awhile but felt nothing and I’m read thru your cheat sheet and want to switch to Garden of Life HSO. You mention in the cheat sheet to get 100 bil CFUS in for breakfast? I cant seem to find how much Garden of Life contains? Help?

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