Probiotics are powerful supplements that are quickly becoming recognized as being able to offer many health benefits. To ensure you are using the best probiotic possible, it’s important to consider several important factors. These considerations include how many good bacteria (CFU) were present at the time of manufacture, was the probiotic kept refrigerated and was it shipped refrigerated? To help offer better insight into how these factors contribute to probiotics quality, we reached out to Klaire Labs to offer some insider insight into the matter.
Insight From A Probiotics Manufacturer
For the few that aren’t aware—Klaire Labs is a probiotics manufacturer trusted by licensed health professionals to deliver therapeutic level results to their patients. They were the first probiotics manufacturer to offer hypoallergenic probiotics and are regarded by many (including us) to be one of the best probiotics brands on the market. Knowing all the factors to look for when shopping for probiotics is vital to ensure you are getting the greatest benefits from probiotics as possible. There are a great many precautions needed during the manufacturing, storage, and the shipping of probiotics. These are all affected by brand, retailer, and shipping carriers, and paying close attention to a few best-practices can help to ensure you get the best probiotics possible.
What Are Probiotics
Probiotics contain living bacteria that are believed to offer many health benefits such as supporting detoxification and healthy digestion. Probiotics often contain many different species of different bacteria, all targeting specific health concerns. For example, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to impact many aspects of mental health, while those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome have been known to have significantly lower amounts of Bifidobacterium catenulatum. The human intestinal tract is known to be home to as many as 800 different species of these types of bacteria , all of which may help support (or hinder) vital physiological processes .
Research around probiotics has been focused heavily on the investigation of specific strains of bacteria and their potential to impact health. For example, a meta-analysis of clinical data related to the human Lactobacillus strain was found to lessen the harmful side effects of antibiotics . Most of the data collected in recent years approach probiotics from this perspective—single strains for single benefits. This perspective is powerful in establishing clinical data for the efficacy of using live probiotic cultures for treatment of health conditions and is vital for cultivating a broader awareness of the benefits of probiotics. It’s tough to say which probiotics are the best probiotics in terms of species—and overall product quality is often a better guideline.
Probiotics are currently regulated in a bit of a grey area by the FDA. Some are labeled as supplements, some are labeled as food ingredients, and others are labeled as prescription medications . Probiotic supplements don’t require FDA-approval before they are marketed to consumers, but they also can’t make any claims of health benefits. This is where the *statement not evaluated by the FDA originates from. This allows freer access to probiotics for consumers, but also requires a greater amount of personal responsibility to ensure product quality. This factor, among others, highlights the importance of buying probiotics from trusted manufacturers and from quality retailers. The best probiotics on the market are often hard to differentiate from lesser quality products based solely on label comparison.
allows consumers in to have a easier access to these powerful products without waiting for the years of clinical trials
Better understanding how specific strains of bacteria impact specific aspects of human health can help quality products undergo more stringent testing and approval. This type of research allows products to be marketed for specific health conditions, which helps buyers select products better-suited to their specific health needs. Unfortunately, this process takes a lot of time which often results in products being indefinitely caught in the R&D stages. This difference in regulation isn’t always easily understood, and often is criticized for allowing shady supplements to circulate freely on the consumer market. For everything it’s not—this system allows consumers in to have a easier access to these powerful products without waiting for the years of clinical trials. Oftentimes, finding the best probiotic for you involves some self-experimentation with different species of bacteria.
Good vs. Evil
Probiotics contain many different species of bacteria that are believed to offer a myriad of health benefits. These ‘good’ bacteria intermingle with existing bacteria in our gut, creating a genetic ‘soup’ comprised of DNA from all the different species. This interchange of DNA, called horizontal gene transfer, can allow beneficial bacteria to have an impact on the negative effects of ‘bad’ bacteria . Unfortunately, this also means that bad bacteria can have an impact on good bacteria as well. This helps illustrate why it’s so important to use the best quality probiotic possible from trusted sources—whom use only quality bacteria.
Dangers of GMO Ingredients
Some alarming health concerns have been raised about the potential impact by genetically modified organisms (GMO) on human health . Most health-related GMO concerns are for larger-scale issues like the development of tumors in animal studies . However, the intermingling of DNA among bacteria species supports an argument that probiotics may be among the most-susceptible products for GMO contamination. Current science and research on GMOs is highly-politicized and leaves us with more questions than it does answers.
Within the last 20 years, the total amount of planted acres of GMO crops within the United States has increased 1170% for HT Soybeans, 3945% for HT Cotton, and 5542% for BT Corn . We don’t yet know the implications of these types of compounds on human health, and consumers have largely been left to fend for themselves. At the Organic Newsroom, we believe avoiding GMO ingredients whenever possible is the best approach to avoid unforeseen impact. Buying the best probiotics from trusted manufacturers which devote themselves to the cultivation of contaminant-free bacteria can help stem this type of unwanted exposure to GMO ingredients.
Probiotics are among the most easily ruined supplements on the market. Tight quality control measures must be taken by manufacturers to ensure that probiotics contain active beneficial bacteria, that these bacteria aren’t destroyed during harvesting, and that they are prepared and stored in a manner that helps preserve potency. Even the best probiotics are very susceptible to harm from their surrounding environmental conditions. Exposure to light, heat, and even small amounts of contaminants can render probiotics ineffective. The many different considerations needed during the manufacturing of probiotics is a science in itself. To help better understand these many considerations, Klaire Labs has been kind enough to describe a few of the most important steps of their probiotics manufacturing process.
Klaire Labs’ Probiotic Manufacturing and Quality Certification Program
Clinical effectiveness of probiotic organisms is dependent on many variables. Identification and selection of appropriate, documented probiotic species as well as maintenance of maximum viability throughout all stages of handling are central to delivering the full potential of beneficial microorganisms. At Klaire Labs, producing the best probiotic quality assurance commitment possible consists of an aggressive, third-party independent testing program that monitors and ensures the identity, viability, and hypo-allergenicity of all finished products.
Establishes the authenticity of probiotic species by comparing them to strains documented in the research literature
All probiotics used in their formulations have been thoroughly researched, genetically documented, and the species have been sourced from highly recognized companies. Every strain is identified via RNA ribotyping, which is a highly precise diagnostic genetic fingerprint that identifies and classifies bacteria based upon differences in ribosomal RNA. This method establishes the authenticity of probiotic species by comparing them to strains documented in the research literature.
Growing Dairy-Free Hypoallergenic Strains
Cow’s milk allergy is one of the most common food allergies in infants and children. Evidence suggests that probiotics cultured using dairy products may be associated with an increased risk of developing sensitivity to cow’s milk. Ensuring the absence of dairy proteins in probiotic supplements is a difficult task, as almost all commonly available probiotic materials are grown on dairy-containing media. Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic probiotic bacteria are specially cultured on a proprietary vegetarian growth media to help ensure maximum tolerance and absence of dairy proteins.
Probiotics are highly sensitive to handling, transport, and storage. Rigorous testing program monitor stability throughout all manufacturing stages. Upon receipt, all probiotic raw materials undergo third-party independent laboratory analysis for verification of purity and potency prior to use in manufacturing.
Moisture and heat are enemies of probiotic viability. Klaire Labs probiotic formulations are manufactured and packaged at a cGMP-compliant facility, where filtered air systems, humidity, and temperature-controlled environments help ensure product stability and purity at this critical stage during manufacturing. Once manufacturing is completed, all finished probiotic products are tested again for potency at a third party independent laboratory. This ensures patients receive a consistent quality from batch to batch. Klaire Labs also test their probiotics via a very sensitive technique to detect levels as low as 0.00025% of milk allergens such as casein. Dairy-sensitive individuals can use most of the Klaire Labs probiotics with confidence. Due to the potency of their products, they do advise you take probiotics under the direction of a physician.
Refrigerated Storage and Shipping
To ensure that probiotics remain as potent as the label states for up to at least a year after manufacturing it is important to refrigerate them. This is why, almost all of Klaire Labs’ probiotics are stored refrigerated as well as shipped with a cold-pack. Mishandling of probiotics in specific can lead to ineffective potency and can cause the product to be adulterated.
Improper Storage by Retailers
In addition to the many steps taken during the making and formulation of probiotics, manufacturers have to pay just as much consideration to the storage prior to sale. After probiotics are manufactured, they still have a long journey before reaching your supplement shelf. Probiotics have to be shipped from manufacturers to distributors and retailers. If they aren’t properly stored at any point along the way their potency and overall quality can be greatly affected.
Purchasing through an unauthorized 3rd party retailer might not be the best way to get your products
The storage of probiotics is often the most-overlooked aspect of the entire process, though it is certainly one of the most important. Every precaution taken by manufacturers such as Klaire Labs can be for naught if probiotics are improperly stored by retailers. Many probiotics need constant refrigeration, avoidance of UV light, and protection from foreign materials. Probiotics sold through unauthorized retailers through sites like Amazon have often been stored improperly and are much less potent than when they were manufactured. To better illustrate this rampant issue, Klaire Labs analyzed the potency of several of their products which were purchased from Amazon.
Products were purchased from Amazon and shipped via Prime shipping. Products were received without a cooling element. On arrival products were refrigerated and the next day sent to a 3rd party independent laboratory to be enumerated (tested for live bacteria potency). Below are the results:
|KLAIRE LABS PRODUCT||EXPIRATION DATE||TESTED DATE||POTENCY AT MANUFACTURE (BILLION CFU)||POTENCY AT TESTING (BILLION CFU)||AMOUNT BELOW LABELED POTENCY|
|Ther-Biotic® Children’s Chewable||9/2017||4/2017||25||11||56%|
As you can see since the products had not been stored and shipped properly the potency of these products had gone below label claim. Purchasing through an unauthorized 3rd party retailer might not be the best way to get your products. You are spending the same and getting an altered product that no longer matches what is stated on the label.
Buying Probiotics Online
This data illustrates just how much effect improper storage can have on the potency of probiotics, and how retailers on sites like Amazon don’t always take necessary precautions. Responsible retailers won’t just provide a refrigerated environment for probiotics before sale, but will also provide expedited shipping with ice-packs as well. Imagine how easily a supplement needing refrigeration could lose its potency during the USPS’ Media Mail service—which takes up to 8 days for delivery! While Amazon is a great place to find more affordable pricing on some supplements—probiotics aren’t one of them.
Quality probiotics are trusted by health professionals to deliver clinical-grade treatments for digestive issues, as well as other health concerns. When purchasing probiotics online you should make sure it is from a reputable reseller. For example, Klaire Labs products are available online through authorized retailers such as the Professional Supplement Center or Pureformulas—both of whom take necessary storage and shipping precautions to preserve potency. Only your doctor can help you decide which probiotic is best, but these retailers can help you find affordable and convenient means of purchasing them without compromising quality.
Probiotics are powerful natural supplements that can help restore and maintain the balance of our intestinal microbiota. The process by which the tiny organisms in our gut intermingle and procreate is highly-complex, and only just being understood by modern Science. Probiotics manufacturers like Klaire Labs take special precautions throughout the manufacturing process and storage process to ensure their probiotics retain their potency while awaiting sale. Once probiotics leave the care of manufacturers, however, the responsibility of preserving potency rest on the shoulders of retailers. Buying probiotics from brands like Klaire Labs should only be done directly through a licensed health professional or an authorized online retailer.
Make careful considerations of probiotic use can help you more effectively maintain your own balance, and avoid potentially dangerous products
Modern health is in a state of crisis, and the rampant use of GMO ingredients, refined sugars, and chemical additives pose a daily threat to our well-being. Supplements and nutritional products can help us better maintain our nutritional balance. Lackluster regulation allows many ineffective and potentially harmful supplements to reach consumers. Manufacturers such as Klaire Labs represent beacons of hope within the supplement industry, and in the advocacy for consumer interests. Their avid adherence to cGMP processes and dedication to quality control serve as an admirable example to all other probiotics manufacturers. Keeping in mind these careful considerations of probiotic use can help you more effectively maintain your own balance, and avoid potentially dangerous products.
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