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why do some probiotics need to be refrigerated

We still get loads of questions asking if all probioticsВneed 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. Having live bacteria and yeast in your food or dietary supplement may sound disgusting, but could actually be healthy. Known as probiotics, supplements containing microbes such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus or bifidobacterium bifidum are marketed to improve the health of the intestinal tract, decrease the prevalence of vaginal, bladder and sexually transmitted infections, increase immune functions, decrease cholesterol and lipid levels, and help prevent irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies, fatigue, depression and arthritis.


These supplements, however, are not regulated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for purity, viability or efficacy, and often do not contain any viable microorganisms at all. This is particularly true for the probiotics marketed as not requiring refrigeration. In addition, non-refrigerated probiotics often contain bacteria of unknown species, or potentially harmful species. Bartell Drugs and Rite Aid both sell probiotic supplements not requiring refrigeration. They are both labeled as containing Lactobacillus acidophilus. In addition, Rite Aid also supposedly contains Lactobacillus bulgarium and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Unfortunately, according to a 2003 study by Bastyr University, neither Bartell's acidophilus nor Rite Aid's acidophilus contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgarium or Bifidobacterium bifidum. Rather, they contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus. While this is not the species labeled on the product, Lactobacillus rhamnosus does have beneficial effects for humans, helping with digestion and immunity as well as decreasing antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children. Nature's Bounty Acidophilus is also marketed as a probiotic supplement not requiring refrigeration. Unfortunately, when tested in 2003 by researchers from Bastyr University, this supplement contained no viable Lactobacillus acidophilus. The supplement did, however, show gram-positive rods in the gram-stain test, indicating there were nonviable organisms of indeterminate species contained within the supplement. This indicates the supplement may have had a viable organism at one time, but it was not Lactobacillus acidophilus. Similar to Nature's Bounty Acidophilus, Natrol Acidophilus is marketed as a probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus that does not require refrigeration.


However, the 2003 study by Bastyr University indicates that although nonviable organisms of indeterminate species showed up on the gram-stain test, no viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in the probiotic supplement was found. Natural Brand Acidophilus Plus is another probiotic supplement requiring no refrigeration. Tests by Bastyr University in 2003 revealed that not only did this supplement not contain the Lactobacillus acidophilus indicated by the label, it also did not contain any viable organisms of indeterminate species either. Whether it ever contained any organism is not clear. The supermarket chain Safeway sells "Safeway Select Acidophilus Plus. " According to the label, this probiotic does not require refrigeration. Unfortunately, Bastyr University discovered the organisms present were not the Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longus or Bifidobacterium bifidum as the label indicated, but rather Lactobacillus gasserri. Lactobacillus gasserri is a relatively "good" bacteria, in that it is normally found in your gastrointestinal tract. It has been associated with the reduction of fecal mutagenic enzymes helping keep normal healthy bacteria in check, adherence to intestinal tissues and stimulation of macrophages which boosts the immune system and production of bacteriocins, toxins that inhibit the growth of other bacteria. General Nutrition Center markets Kyo-Dophilus, a probiotic not requiring refrigeration supposedly containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum. Again, this probiotic supplement contained none of these organisms when tested. In this case, three different species were detected: Lactobacillus gasseri, Enterococcus durans and Bifidobacterium infantis. While Lactobacillus gasseri and Bifidobacterium infantis may be beneficial, Enterococcus durans is associated with diarrhea, occasionally reported in human clinical infections.

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