By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
When it comes to choosing a probiotic with the right probiotic strains, where do you start? How do you identify the good bacteria that’s right for you?
Thanks to Fortify™ Probiotics for sponsoring this blog post. All opinions are my own, as always!
Feeling overwhelmed with all the beneficial bacteria choices out there? You’re not alone. When it comes to selecting the probiotics for digestive health, immune health, and more, there are oodles and oodles of choices out there that can support human health.*
One important concept I want to nail home is that when it comes to probiotics (and nutrition, in general!), there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all supplement. This is the reason why so many different options exist. Just as you are unique, so are your probiotic needs!
So don’t feel like you’re swimming in information overload. I’m here to help! I promise you’ll feel a lot less confused by the end of this blog post.
What are Probiotic Genus, Species, and Strain?
If you read my recent primer on the health benefits of probiotics, you know there’s a lot to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement. Here, we’re going to chat about some of the most confusing—but ultimately, the most helpful—details about probiotics.
Ready? Take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee if you’d like, and read on. I’m going to make this as easy to understand as I can.
When shopping for probiotics, you’re likely to read many package labels. You might see a lot of small print on the back of the package. This is a good thing, as a probiotic supplement listing the genus, species, and strain of the probiotics contained within a supplement is one of the clear signs you’re looking at a reputable product. As a healthcare professional, I talk about this a lot.
The genus, species, and strain are simply the ways that probiotics are identified. When it comes to probiotic genera, many types exist that are most often included in probiotics supplements. These include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Lactococcus, and Bacillus, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
We’re going to be talking about two common genera today, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are known for some very impressive health benefits.* By the way, I’m throwing around some very scientific words so don’t worry if it takes you more than a minute to digest all of this!
Let’s say you’re looking at the supplement facts label for Fortify Daily Probiotic 30 Billion. You’ll see multiple strains of probiotics included for specific health benefits. Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Bifidobacterium lactis Bl-04, Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 are specifically researched strains shown to support digestive and immune health.
Read on to find out more about gut health, immune health, women’s health, and men’s health support.*
Digestive Health Probiotics*
We started talking about digestive health probiotic benefits above. But let’s go into further detail, including probiotics for occasional constipation and other gut-related issues.*
Need digestive support? If you’re looking to help your digestive health on the daily with live bacteria, you’re in luck.* Fortify™ Daily Probiotic 30 Billion contains 11 probiotic strains to help promote digestive balance and a healthy immune response—and to help prevent occasional gas, bloating, and constipation.* As well, you get prebiotics, which are a food source for good bacteria.*
Howaru® Bifidobacterium lactis HN019™ is a beneficial strain found in the supplement. It helps promote regularity and digestive function (1).**
As well, daily supplementation with Howaru Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 has been shown to help shorten the amount of time it takes for food to travel through your digestive system. It’s also been found to help improve other measures of digestive function (1).* ** That’s pretty awesome news!
Daily Probiotics for Immune Health*
The Fortify Daily Probiotic 30 Billion probiotic product, as well as the 50+ Women’s 30 Billion and 50 Billion, also contains Bifidobacterium lactis BL-04® to help support immune health (2).*
I like to do anything I can to help prevent myself from coming down with something!
Probiotics for Vaginal Health*
Yes, a daily supplement can help your V! The Fortify Women’s Probiotic 30 Billion contains specific strains of probiotics to help support women’s health.*
These include Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14®—as well as Howaru® Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001™—found to support vaginal health.* ** (3) As a woman, having vaginal health probiotics at my fingertips is music to my ears!
Probiotics for Men
Last but not least is the Fortify Men’s Probiotic, which I’ve been giving to my fiancé. In addition to containing all the probiotics that you get in the Fortify Daily Probiotic, this product also supplies the antioxidant selenium, a powerful mineral that supports men’s health.* Each serving provides 200 micrograms selenium, or 364% of the daily value.*
You can of course also get selenium from food sources, including Brazil nuts, halibut, sardines, ham, shrimp, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, brown rice, eggs, and whole-wheat bread.
One thing to note about probiotics is that while they aren’t intended to treat, cure, or prevent health conditions, they can help support your gut health, immune health, and more.*
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
** The probiotic strains contained in this product are manufactured by DuPont. HOWARU® is a registered trademark of DuPont.
- (1) Waller PA, Gopal PK, Leyer GJ, et al. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2011 Sep;46(9):1057-64.
- (2) West NP, Horn PL, Pyne DB, et al. Clinical Nutrition (2014) 1–7.
- (3) Russo R, Edu A, De Seta F. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Jul;298(1):139-145.
I’d love to hear from you! I hope you’re a whole lot less confused about specific probiotics, plus how probiotics can be helpful to your health. What other questions do you have about dietary supplements and healthy bacteria?
What do you do to help keep your gut bacteria and immune system healthy? What strain of bacteria do you focus on?
And don't forget to for my newsletter to get weekly updates delivered straight to your inbox! Also download my free plant-based grocery list and meal plan.
Also check out my Etsy shop! Use code 10PERCENT for 10% off!