Dr. Oz's Probiotics Guide

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Check the Label

Here’s some key information you need to find on the label before deciding to buy:

  • Goals: Read the label and make sure the health claims of the probiotic match what you’re hoping to get out of it.

  • Ingredients: Check to see if the pill contains something you might be sensitive or allergic to. While the pill contains bacteria, the coat may be made from many different ingredients.

  • Accuracy: Check to make sure the pill contains what it says it does. Any bacteria mentioned on the front should also be mentioned in the nutritional information on the back.

  • Storage: Check the storage instructions. Many probiotics need to be refrigerated, but not all do. If you don’t refrigerate when you need to, the bacteria in the pill may die, which lowers your dose.

Dose of bacteria

Recommendations about just how many bacteria should be in each pill vary widely, likely because we still don’t know exactly how much is enough. The dose is measured in colony-forming units (CFUs), and most will recommend a billion per dose is a good place to start. You should also know that these supplements can sometimes cause gassiness and bloating at the beginning, but this normally calms down after two weeks. To avoid this, try taking a lower dose to start out and then increase the dose once your body is used to it.