Many women have been reaching out to us lately inquiring about how to shop wisely for probiotics. While it is no secret that shopping for probiotics could be hard and confusing, we were surprised that there was no easy way to separate the great probiotics from ones that will simply work as a placebo and won't provide any benefits.
So, we came up with a great way to remember what to look for and how to shop for probiotics! This method works whether you're buying vaginal probiotics or probiotics intended for any other parts of the body!
Here are the 5 P's to follow, our recommendation is to find a brand/company that meets all 5 criteria to maximize your results!
Potency - What is the CFU (colony forming units) count (in billion) of the probiotics? We recommend a minimum of 10 Billion CFU so that you will get any of the advertised benefits. It's important to understand that some companies will advertised a high number of CFU per serving, when the serving could be 2, 3, or even 4 pills a day! Other companies will have a very low amount of CFU (1 Billion) but will charge you the same amount of money as pills with 15 Billion CFU in them.
Prebiotics - Prebiotics is the food that PRObiotics loves to eat! Probiotics loves eating fiber and so the main source of prebiotics comes from fruits and vegetables. While we all do our best to try to eat healthy and include fiber in our diet, it could be very challenging to follow a strict diet that will also help our good bacteria to colonize and thrive. That's the reason it's extremely important to purchase probiotics that already include prebiotics in the formula. The prebiotics will help the good bacteria grow and populate the vaginal area so you will see faster and better results.
Performance - There are countless numbers of probiotic strains but not all of them have been studied regularly. It's important to read the ingredients of the probiotics you're interested in purchasing and make sure that there are at least 5 different strains of probiotics in the formula and that these strains have been clinically tested. Probiotics strains that have been tested and proven to show positive results are more likely to help you with the problem you're trying to solve. For example, lactobacillus acidophilus is a strain that has been studied for years and is showing as effective against bacteria vaginosis.
Promise - Probiotics are extremely delicate microorganisms. They can easily die from excess heat, cold, and an acidic environment. Most companies will only guarantee the live good bacteria count (CFU) during manufacturing but will not commit to a live bacteria count after shipping. This means that while a label can advertise 10 Billion CFU, in reality, it could have a much smaller number of live bacteria in it. In addition to that, if the good bacteria has not been adjusted to live in an acidic environment, it will simply die as soon as it reached our stomach acid and will not even get to where it should be. We highly recommend to only purchase probiotics from companies that guarantee the live CFU count through the product's expiration date.
Fun fact - the way that we keep our good bacteria alive through the expiration date is by taking a huge group of probiotics and putting them through heat, cold, and and acidic environment. We then take the good bacteria that "survived" and help it grow and thrive. That's the only good bacteria that ends up in our formulas. In addition to excessive testing through the production process, we also send our finished formula to a third-party lab which tests the live CFU count one more time before we ship it to the customer.
Price - Probiotics should be taken on a daily basis to really start showing consistent results. While you shouldn't compromise on a low quality product only because it's cheaper, it is important to make sure the probiotics you end up purchasing fits into your monthly budget and that you'll be able to keep taking them daily.