We all swear by the benefits of probiotics. The living gut-friendly microorganisms restore gut microbiota.
These gut microbiota or gut flora have a triple defensive effect.
- They eliminate disease-causing pathogens.
- Maintain intestinal epithelium ( layer formed by columnar epithelial cells).
- It helps in metabolizing indigestible compounds present in foods.
While people becoming more health-conscious has given a boost to the probiotic market. Refrigerated probiotics are the term in circulation that perplexes the mind how it is different from other probiotics.
What Are Probiotics And Their Working?
The word probiotic means “for life.” There are numerous health benefits of probiotics. Apart from making your gut healthy, they have other health benefits also.
They maintain a community of good bacterias in your gut. It boosts immunity. Few health benefits of probiotics are
- Enhance the number of good bacterias.
- Works wonder in diarrhea and constipation.
- Probiotics can also improve mood.
- Probiotic strains help in weight loss.
- Certain probiotic strains help in checking cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy.
- Selective strains may relieve eczema and skin allergies.
Why Does There Need To Refrigerate Probiotics?
Why one needs to refrigerate probiotics is a common query. Probiotics need lower temperatures to slow the multiplying process. It positively increases the shelf life of probiotics.
Probiotic bacteria goes through phases starting from:
1. Lag phase or bacteria are in the dormant stage are not multiplying.
2. Exponential phase or probiotic bacteria multiplicates in this phase and are sensitive to the harmful ambiance. They use available nutrients and also produce waste.
3. The static phase where only slight changes occur when available nutrients are almost exhausted or used.
4. The death phase is when good bacterias start dying off.
Refrigeration stops or holds these good bacteria in the lag phase itself to avoid deterioration and growth before entering your gut.
Where some probiotics require refrigeration while others do not work because of lyophilization, the shelf-friendly probiotics went through the process of freeze-drying or lyophilization.
It is a technique used to preserve probiotics and bifidobacteria. After, this process the end product doesn’t require refrigeration and makes it shelf-stable.
Freeze-drying helps in making shelf-stable probiotic powders.
Are Refrigerated Probiotics More Beneficial?
Refrigerated probiotics are the same as others that are shelf-stable. The strains present in probiotics decide whether to refrigerate them or not.
To Prevent fouling of probiotics, it is preferable to store them away from the heat in a cool and dry place.
To prevent these good bacterias die before they can do something good in your intestine, they are refrigerated.
If using shelf-stable probiotics, avoid exposing them to heat above 70F or 21° C.
The shelf-stable probiotics use the freeze-drying technique to make them shelf-stable.
NOTE; It is necessary to check the pack of probiotics to know whether to refrigerate them or not.
Also, use them before the best before mention to avoid any health issues.
The Common Strains Present In Probiotics.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, casei, bifidobacterium, or b. bifidum, saccharomyces are the strains present in probiotics.
Natural sources of probiotics are
The natural source of lactobacillus is yogurt, sourdough bread, and fermented dishes like kimchi (fermented cabbage dish) and sauerkraut.
Casei helps in managing digestive woes like diarrhea, constipation, IBS, and IBD. Casei can be taken naturally in the form of fermented milk and some cheese.
Bifidobacterium or B. bifidum are present in buttermilk, kefir, certain wines.
Sources of probiotic supplements or dietary supplements
Probiotics are available as dietary supplements in different forms, for example, powder, capsule, and liquid in a bottle. Many probiotics contain mixed cultures of microorganisms. Instead of using a single strain, they use multiple strains.
2 Things That Kill Gut-Friendly Bacterias In Probiotics
1. High Temperature Or Heat
High temperature or heat can kill all those good bacteria present in your probiotic. As the temperature goes beyond 70° F, it can harm the live microbes in probiotics.
The ideal temperature that supports probiotic survival is between 36- 39°F.
Research of effect refrigeration on the vitality of probiotics present in yogurt shows Bifidobacterium lactis has the highest viability when stored at 8°C. The other L. acidophilus shows the highest viability at 2°C.
According to another study, probiotics are effective even when storing at 28° C to 32°C room temperature in warm countries.
The moisture present in the air stimulates the bacteria and, degradation starts. We intend it to happen after you consume probiotics. It is to take place in the intestine.
Humidity expedites the bacteria growth in the lag phase and transits into the growth, static, and death phase.
So to avoid exponentially speedy germination refrigerating, probiotics are recommended.
Things To Check If You Are Planning To Buy Probiotics
1. Every probiotic strain works differently. Choose strain, as per your requirement.
Suppose you are buying probiotics for special requirements. Then you must check the type of strain present in available probiotics. Every strain may not serve your purpose.
If you are looking for gut woes, bifidobacterium can serve your purpose.
2. Colony-forming units or CFU’s
The number of living microorganisms present in probiotics refers to CFU or colony-forming units.
It is utmost to check the number of CFUs to ascertain it’s effectiveness. Generally, probiotics contain 10 billion to up to 50 billion or more colony-forming units.
Look for a probiotic bottle with the label of having a minimum of 10 billion CFU’s.
3. Number of the alive organism
Are you planning to buy a probiotic? Check for the number of living organisms present in it. Only living organisms can do good to your gut flora.
Refrigerated Probiotics In Nutshell.
As stated above, refrigerated probiotics are not superior to shelf-stable probiotics. Both are equally effective.
The main thing to check is that the strains should be as per requirement and the number of CFU present.
Are you still thinking about whether to go with refrigerated probiotics or not? Well, it depends on your need and the stain you are choosing.
If you are planning a trip buying shelf-stable probiotics as refrigeration could be an issue during traveling.
To get the best out of probiotics, choose strains that your body requires.
To read more interesting articles, click here.
Content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. Reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students.