With so many high-quality probiotics on the market, it can be difficult to decide which probiotic is right for you. What is the best form of probiotic for you? Which ingredients matter the most? What is the shelf life of probiotics? How much do I need? There is no one right probiotic, and in fact, many of the probiotics on the market have only slightly different formulas. Oftentimes, the manufacturing quality and the type of capsule or container plays into our decisions when picking a dietary supplement.

When you’re considering picking out a new probiotic, here are a couple things to keep in mind. 

High-Quality Ingredients Make a Difference

It can be difficult to fully understand the ingredients in probiotic products, but just because an ingredient is in Latin doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. In fact, many of the healthy live organisms in probiotics have been well-studied and their benefits have been well-documented. Look for a product with  Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and Saccharomyces boulardii in particular, as these are especially well-researched.

Know How Much You Need

Probiotics come in many different doses, and it’s important to know how much you, as an individual, need to improve your gut health. Colony Forming Units, or CFU, is the estimated number of active bacteria cells in a given dose of probiotics. While it can be tempting to approach probiotics with a “more is better” mindset, the reality is that most experts recommend about 1 or 2 billion CFU per dose. But more importantly, talk to your doctor about the perfect CFU quantity for your weight, age, and dietary needs.

Keep an Eye on Packaging and Form

Probiotics come in a variety of different forms, and it’s up to you to decide whether you prefer taking your supplements as a capsule or a liquid. Nutraceutical manufacturers take special care to ensure the contents of each box and capsule designed with high-quality and durability in mind. Probiotics contain live organisms, which means they won’t last on your shelf as long as some other supplements. Be wary of how long a specific brand of probiotics is expected to stay active, and be sure to store it appropriately to ensure a longer shelf life.

At the end of the day, probiotics come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be difficult deciding which brand, dose or formula is right for you. Do your homework and keep these tips in mind to ensure you start your probiotic journey on the right foot.