Probiotic Supplements: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions: Probiotic Supplements
Q: Are you saying that it is not as necessary to refrigerate Probiotic supplements as some companies say it is?
A: Kind of. When you have the choice, it certainly is best to refrigerate probiotic supplements. But if you look carefully at the label statements, it usually says "refrigerate...to maintain activity of the product" or "...to maintain potency guarantee."
The company’s make very high potency claims, for obvious marketing purposes. I suspect some of these claims are unrealistic to begin with. To maximize the ability for the product to continue to meet these claims once it is packaged, they urge refrigeration.
Q: So why take a chance? ...why not just buy a "refrigerate" product, and do whatever is necessary to store it as they suggest?
A: Doing that is not always possible. During travel, for example, it can be very difficult. And what about having your product shipped to you? What if it was inadvertently exposed to higher temperatures during shipment to the retailer? Does your retailer, or discount mail-order supplier store the product in a refrigerator?
Temperature is not the only problem when it comes to stability and potency of probiotic supplements. What about moisture? Each time you take a bottle of acidophilus out of the refrigerator, you are introducing the possibility of moisture condensation in the bottle. This is one of the main reasons we do not recommend storing vitamins in the refrigerator as well.
When conditions are less than ideal, would it not perhaps be better to purchase and use a product that is designed to be stable under these conditions.
Q: But it is important that I get a full dose–my health depends on it.
A: Buy a product from a reputable company. Take a larger dose. If you have any reason to fear that you might not be receiving the necessary potency, just take more. Instead of one capsule, take two, or three.
If you have a product that suggested refrigeration, and it has been stored at room temperature, take more. If it is old, and you are not sure of its potency, take more.
And, as I said before, if you are unsure if you will be able to store it under refrigeration, buy a product that is designed to be stable under different conditions.
Q: Is there any harm from a probiotic supplement that has lost potency?
A: I cannot see why there would be. It contains friendly bacteria. If you are not allergic or sensitive to these bacteria when they are alive, I cannot see why you would be when they are dead. They grow and secrete their metabolic waste products–some of which are beneficial, by the way–when they are alive, so why should a trace of these waste products be a problem if they are in the bottle?
Q: Well, which "non-refrigerated" products do you recommend?
A: Use the table to check for products that fit your requirements. I recommend the new Jarrow product, "Jarro-Dophilus EPS," and Twinlab’s "Allerdophilus. Products from Allergy Research Group, Wakunaga, Metagenics and Source Naturals are also temperature tolerant to some degree.
Q: There are some popular non-refrigerated products that you did not mention.
A: That is correct. I have requested documentation and analytical reports from certain companies, to demonstrate that they test their products for potency. Some have refused to provide that information. Under these circumstances, I have to assume they have something to hide.
I intend to submit a formal request for this information form all of the companies supplying probiotic supplements, and w