There are so many probiotics out on the market, it is hard to sort through which is the best.
But if you know the facts about what constitutes a good effective probiotic you will come to the same conclusion as I have that Natren is one of a kind and the best.
So what constitutes an effective probiotic?
1.cGMP Facility and stored in dark, glass bottles only.
Make sure the probiotic is manufactured in a facility that carries the cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) certification, otherwise you risk consuming a contaminated product. Light destroys bacteria and plastic is permeable so dark glass jars are best.
2. Different species must not be touching each other.
Different species of bacteria placed together will compete for space and try to dominate each other, resulting in competitive exclusion by the dominant species.
3.Must be kept refrigerated at all times.
The bacteria need to be stored in a fridge at the store and they must also be shipped in refrigerated trucks to the store. Heat quickly kills bacteria and even at room temperature they will become active and soon live out their life cycle.
4. Strain and number of bacteria per serving must be listed on the bottle.
Only certain strains of bacteria are potent and effective.
5. Avoid centrifuged or filter-extracted bacteria.
It's the cheapest way of extracting the bacteria from their growing culture. In centrifugal extraction, the bacteria are whirled around with great force at high speed so they become damaged and useless. This greatly damages guaranteed count per serving. Technically, you’ll still be ingesting the bacteria but many of them are ruptured and useless.
6. Avoid prebiotics.
Some companies package their probiotics with fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and/or inulin – indigestible substances referred to as prebiotics, which they claim feed the bacteria, thereby improving performance. Keep in mind though, that many bacteria (both good and bad) can feed on these substances. So if you have a predominantly bad bacterial, as most, if not all people with IBD do, consuming prebiotics is probably going to exacerbate your symptoms.
7. Finally the best probiotics contain the supernatant which has many beneficial properties in addition to the probiotic benefits.
Super, Naturally: the Supernatant
When you want the most effective product on the probiotic market, ask for one with culture … that is, a probiotic that includes its supernatant.
Beneficial bacteria (probiotics) are grown on a food base called a culturing medium. To maximize potential health-promoting properties, this medium must be selected specifically for each probiotic strain. As the bacteria grow, they transform this surrounding environment into a vital new product known as the supernatant.
Researchers have demonstrated that many of the beneficial properties of probiotic microorganisms can be attributed to the active enzymes and powerful antimicrobial substances the friendly bacteria have produced in the supernatant.
A product that comes with it's supernatant still intact is brimming with metabolic properties that benefit both you and the bacteria:
Vitamins, cellular building blocks and enzymes needed to digest milk-based foods
Antioxidants that can neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals, implicated in tissue damage
Immunostimulants to support your immune system
Antimicrobial compounds like hydrogen peroxide, which has been proven to inhibit yeast and other undesirable microorganisms
Acidophilin – a natural antibacterial product that is helpful in managing a wide variety of harmful organisms.
Creating a product that includes the supernatant requires a superior full-culture processing method. This involves a freeze-drying process called lyophilizing – a lightning-fast biochemical process that freezes the bacteria within a vacuum, suspending them in a dormant state until you are ready for them to go to work.
The only thing removed by this technology is the water. Freeze-drying the bacteria and their supernatant together is immensely more expensive, but this is the only way to capture living colonies of beneficial bacteria and sustain them for a predetermined length of time.
Freeze-drying puts the bacteria into an arrested state of growth. When the bacteria reach their new home in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, they are ready to take up residence immediately, along with their protector and food source – the supernatant.
All too often, manufacturers place prime importance on the cost of production, using the easiest and least expensive form of processing. The valuable supernatant is stripped away by mechanical processes, discarding healthful components that protect the bacteria and benefit you.
With the supernatant removed, the mere 3 percent to 5 percent of remaining concentrated bacteria cells cost little to freeze-dry in contrast to the cost of freeze-drying the entire compound.
However, such a small yield of concentrated product is too expensive to sell as-is. Tragically, the dilemma is often handled by adding fillers.The typically impotent result is a probiotic product that is about 95 percent bulked out using inexpensive compounds, such as microcrystalline cellulose or maltodextrin.
While this less-costly production makes a lower-cost product available to the consumer, remember that you get what you pay for – in this case, a considerably less-effective product.
The outcome is similar to selecting a 9-volt battery rather than an automobile battery to start your car. Even with a thousand 9-volt batteries, your car will not start. Probiotic super strains compare with the automobile battery. They are well-suited for the job at hand.
The Power of Collaboration
Vital bacteria cells normally cluster together in long chains as they grow and multiply, each one counted as one colony-forming unit (cfu) – the measurement of product potency. But there is more to potency than numbers. The significance is in the size of the chain.
Once the friendly bacteria find a home in the GI tract, each of the cells in the chain blossoms into another colony or cluster of bacteria. Protective full-culture processing enables each colony-forming unit to yield multiple colonies. The value of a top-quality probiotic product is exponentially higher due to this burgeoning growth.
If mechanical processes are allowed to separate the supernatant, the fragile chains are broken. Many of the bacteria end up with ruptured cell walls, while others are killed outright. Inferior products consisting of single cells or small chains lack the power to produce the flourishing colonies generally achieved when full-culture processing is used.
To lend perspective, picture a probiotic with its supernatant growing into dense cities, while lesser probiotics form scattered villages. A large, vibrant, healthy probiotic colony has a greater ability to exclude or control harmful microorganisms.
The Treacherous GI Journey
After culturing, the supernatant carries on its protection by providing a natural buffer for beneficial bacteria in the GI tract, enabling them to survive gastric acids. By allowing them to remain in their natural environment, the supernatant gives supplemental beneficial bacteria everything they need to succeed in setting up colonies.
Bacteria need to be nurtured so that they grow to full potential. Their needs are simple, the same basic ones that man, a complex bacterial system, requires – nutrition, protection, shelter. Quality full-culture processing equips beneficial bacteria to endure an onslaught of perils as they search for a home in the GI tract.
Without the supernatant, the antimicrobial properties of the bacteria and many other beneficial substances are lost.
What about Alternatives?
Various types of enteric coating (to shield from gastric acids) are garnering much attention. These capsules traditionally are coated with shellac; some even include hydrogenated oils. Designed to break apart in the stomach and release the beneficial bacteria into the intestinal tract, the capsules don’t always behave. If your digestive system isn’t working appropriately, the capsules may not break apart but remain intact, leaving the body in the same form in which they entered it.
Full-culture processing requires no enteric coating. Protective production methods that guard the supernatant deliver superior quality products and superior results for people who seek to optimize their health.
The Real Thing
How do you find quality products that supply bacteria with their supernatant? There are several clues to guide you. Accreditation of the manufacturer, such as International Drug GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certification, which matches the highest of pharmaceutical standards.
Source – Is the product marketed by a supplier that does not even produce the culture, or is it from a manufacturer that formulates and produces probiotics (from bacteria culture to end-product) in its own state-of-the-art plant? A supplier has no control over the quality of processing.
Does the product manufacturer have longevity (25 or more years) to provide necessary experience in producing quality probiotic supplements?
The final evidence lies in the product warranty. Does your probiotic carry a guaranteed potency in cfu through the expiration date printed on its label? If a product is guaranteed through only the manufacturing date, it holds no promise of effectiveness at the time of use.
Once you understand the importance of the supernatant, you will be ready to select a probiotic supplement in which you can have complete confidence.
To get the full spectrum of probiotics you will need to take:
They come in dairy or dairy free (your preference)They come in powder or capsules.
Powder is better because powder has the supernatant whereas the capsules do not.
You can purchase the bottles separately to get a larger amount as seen below:
Or you can make it easier on yourself and purchase the Healthy Start System which contains all 3 probiotic strains in separate bottles either in powder form or capsule form and these also come dairy and dairy free. See below:
If you are a person who likes to take as few pills as possible, Natren has a supplement called:Healthy Trinity (also sold under the name Trenev Trio) This supplement contains all 3 strains you need in one special capsule that separates each strain in a separate oil bubble to keep the strains from fighting with each other.See the image below.
Finally there is a supplement called Life Start which is specifically for infants but adults have had good results with it too. It comes in dairy free (LifeStart vegan) as powder, with goat's milk (Life Start 2) in capsules or powder and dairy (Life Start) as powder only. See the image below.
One final note, be careful where you order these products from because many companies will try to save money many ways and one of the ways to save money is cheaper shipping that takes longer and the ice they should be packaged in would melt in longer shipping times. They also may not refrigerate the product adequately before and during shipping. These products are so sensitive to heat, so making sure they are kept cold is vital to their potency. My suggestion is to only order them straight from the company (that's what I do). Or if you trust a local health food store that carries them that might be OK. Anywhere else I would be very cautious. Click on the link below to order directly from the company.