It is pretty well established that probiotics can be helpful in supporting a healthy gut and much more, but finding a good probiotic supplement can still be pretty tough. Though you can find a probiotic supplement on the shelves of any supermarket or drugstore, the quality of probiotic supplements can vary wildly from brand to brand. Here are some of my suggestions to help you find the supplement that is right for you.

Guaranteed potency — I consider this the most important of my suggestions. Unfortunately, many probiotics on the market have potencies that are guaranteed at the time that the product is made. Since probiotics are live bacteria, I suggest only purchasing probiotic supplements that are guaranteed to be the potency stated on the label until the product’s expiration date. If the product doesn’t state this guarantee on the label, then it isn’t likely to be a high-quality probiotic supplement. This can take some extra time to check the fine print, but it is worth it.

Acid-resistant strains — It might take a little work to find out if your probiotic is made using acid-resistant strains. Quality brands will usually list this on the label, but sometimes it takes talking to a well-informed employee or calling the company to find this out. Many brands will tout enteric-coated or delayed release capsules, but this isn’t needed if the brand is using probiotic strains that are hardy enough to pass through stomach acid.

Shelf stable — Though there is nothing wrong with a refrigerated probiotic supplement, I find that many people forget to consistently take their probiotic if it needs to be kept in the refrigerator. Refrigerated probiotics also tend to get left behind when traveling, and I find that traveling is when I usually need to take care of my gut the most. Though this wasn’t always the case, the technology is available now to make a quality travel-friendly probiotic supplement that doesn’t require refrigeration.

These three suggestions are what I would consider the most important tips for finding a great probiotic, but there can be some other helpful things to consider when looking for a probiotic supplement. I will explore more tips to help you find your perfect probiotic in my next column.

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