Proper refrigeration is critical for many probiotics, both before and after they are purchased. In fact, in 2009 the majority (85%) of probiotics selected for testing by ConsumerLab. com did not contain their listed amounts of organisms and, as ConsumerLab. com later learned, improper shipping and warehousing by distributors and retailers appears to have been at least partly to blame. Fortunately, probably due to improvements in refrigeration procedures by several companies. Many probiotic bacteria are naturally sensitive to heat and moisture. Heat can kill organisms and moisture can activate them within pills, only to die due to lack of nutrients and a proper environment. These products should ideally be refrigerated and kept out of humidity. However, probiotics with freeze-dried organisms (which includes most sold as supplements in tablet or capsule form) and in packaging to prevent moisture, such as blister packs, generally do not need refrigeration or to be kept out of humidity but should still not be exposed to heat above room temperature. They also have longer shelf-lives than products containing live cultures, such as yogurts and drinks (which must be refrigerated). Probiotic yeast and some of the spore-forming bacteria, such as
Bacillus coagulans, generally do not require refrigeration. If you are purchasing a probiotic with a label that suggests or requires it be refrigerated, be sure your retailer has kept it refrigerated. If you order the product by mail, such as from an online retailer, be sure it is shipped overnight or with refrigerated shipping to minimize exposure to extreme heat, especially during warm weather – and arrange for the package to be delivered at a time you are home. (Freeze-dried probiotics are not damaged by extremely cold temperatures, like the temperature in airplane cargo holds, which can reach freezing or below – so they can be safely shipped by air. ) Once you get the product, be sure to follow the manufacturer\’s recommendations.
If in doubt, refrigerate. Once you remove a probiotic from its blister pack or container, use it right away – don\’t put it in a weekly pill holder. For more information about probiotics and ConsumerLab. com\’s latest tests and comparisons, see the. We still get loads of questions asking if all probioticsВ need to be refrigerated. This question is the result of a common misconception, a relic from the early days of probiotic sales where they were packaged and sold in a manner that required refrigeration for maximum freshness and effectiveness. So what changed? Why are some probiotics moving away from refrigeration? Well first, letвs talk a little bit about the life cycle of bacteria to provide some context. The life cycle of probiotic bacteria has four stages Lag phase в Bacteria mature and grow in size, but they are not yet able to divide. They adapt to their environment during this phase (remember this point for later, itвs important). Growth (or Exponential) phase в This is the growth period where bacteria use nutrients to replicate and build metabolic waste.
Bacteria are most susceptible to harmful environmental conditions during this phase (this point is very important too). Static (or Stationary) phase в Bacteria enter this phase when growth and death rates are equal. It kicks in when nutrients needed for replication are depleted, or waste generated from replication blocks further growth. Death phase в Growth stops, and the bacteria start to die off So why is this information important? Well, probiotics that require refrigeration contain probiotic bacteria that are in the growth phase. These probiotics are already replicating and consuming nutrients. Through refrigeration, the metabolism of these bacteria is slowed, so they consume nutrients more slowly. This effectively extends the short shelf life of the product. Without refrigeration, these probiotics progress through the growth phase at a much faster pace, so they would enter the death phase in a matter of weeks, or even days. Dead probiotics canвt help anyone. With refrigeration, metabolism is slowed enough to provide a shelf life of several months. Unfortunately, probiotic bacteria in the growth phase are busy consuming nutrients and trying to replicate, so they are far less likely to survive a trip through the stomach acid, as they are most vulnerable to environmental harm during this stage. Probonix does not require refrigeration because it contains probiotic bacteria that are in the lag phase.
These bacteria do not begin to actively divide until they reach their destination. This means that they can safely sit at room temperature because there is no metabolism to slow down. This also allows for a drastic increase in shelf life over refrigerated probiotics. Probiotic bacteria in the lag phase are able to adapt to the acidic environment in the stomach on their way to your gut. This means that probiotic supplements that keep their bacteria in the lag phase will have much better survival rates than their refrigerated counterparts. That sounds like a pretty strong case against refrigerated probiotics, but we havenвt even covered one of the most important advantages of Probonix yet. Probiotics that donвt require refrigeration are more convenient. You need to store a refrigerated probiotic in the refrigerator. What do you do when you travel? How do you know that it hasnвt been sitting in a warm warehouse for hours or days before being delivered to your doorstep? Are you going to remember to take it regularly when itвs tucked away on a refrigerator shelf? Probonix doesnвt have these issues. Take it with you on the road. Mix it in your water bottle. Keep it on your nightstand, the kitchen counter, in your briefcase, or anywhere else that will make it easy to take regularly. After all, your probiotic supplement isnвt going to do a lot of good if you donвt remember to take it, and regular probiotic supplementation is what matters the most for keeping your gut healthy.