What Does CFU Stand For in Probiotics?
Posted on August 3, 2022 by Uscriptives
When your stomach doesn’t feel right, you may find your entire body feels off. This is because gut health is essential to our overall wellness! Taking care of our stomachs is more complex than many people believe, with 400 to 600 different bacterial strains and species all working together to maintain a healthy gastro-environment.
Many people take probiotics to help support this healthy ecosystem, but understanding probiotics and how they work can be challenging. What does a probiotic do? What does CFU stand for in probiotics? How many CFUs do I need to take? This article will explain everything you need to know about CFUs so you can make informed decisions about investing in your gut health.
What Does CFU Stand For?
The acronym CFU stands for “colony-forming unit”. This term is a unit of measurement used for counting the number of viable, living probiotic bacteria in a single serving of a dietary probiotic supplement. “Viability” refers to the ability of one cell to reproduce until a colony of healthy bacteria is formed. This is why the CFU number in your probiotic formula matters. When selecting a dietary supplement to help the health of your gut biome, living, healthy, high-quality probiotic strains are essential.
These living bacteria are the colony-forming units that will multiply and improve the landscape of your digestive system. If the number of live CFUs in your probiotic is low, the chance that a meaningful number of bacteria will flourish is reduced; without the formation of bacterial colonies, the time and money you spent on your probiotic is wasted.
Keeping CFU counts high in a probiotic supplement can be challenging, as the bacteria need specific temperature and moisture conditions to maintain viability. This is an important factor to consider when deciding where to source your probiotics from.
Health Benefits of CFUs in Probiotics
CFUs are crucial to making probiotics effective because they are responsible for cultivating the presence of healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome!
CFUs help to support the overall health of the digestive and immune systems. A healthy digestive system means regular bowel movements, less bloating, cravings, fatigue, and better nutrient absorption.
These CFUs may also help users see improvements in their cognitive function, overall mood, and quality of sleep, in addition to promoting a better stress response and weight loss. CFUs also help reduce the chances of anxiety, depression, migraines, and Alzheimer’s.
Put simply, as you use CFUs to cultivate better gut health, your overall health will likely see improvements because you’re taking the time to care for your body and give it what it needs to flourish.
Finding the Right CFU
The bacteria in our gut thrives naturally when fed a plant-based diet; high-fiber foods, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, give our stomach bacteria the nutrients it needs to thrive. However, while it’s possible to support a healthy gut microbiome naturally through your diet, solely relying on eating healthily isn’t always the easiest or most efficient method.
This is why many people opt for a probiotic supplement and strive to find the right number of CFUs for their specific needs. Finding the right number of CFUs to add to your probiotic supplement can be tricky, as different gut microbiomes need different types and amounts of bacteria. Additionally, different strains of CFUs reach their peak effectiveness at different amounts.
So, where do you start?
Tips For Finding the Right CFU For You
Speak With Your Doctor
Tip number one, as with any new health endeavor, is to speak with your doctor. To find the right number and type of CFUs you should be adding to your diet, you need to understand your starting line. At your request, your doctor will perform a test to get a read on the current state of your microbiome; after you have this information, they will be able to make specific recommendations based on your personal needs. This will help you know what to look for when seeking a probiotic supplement and researching CFU counts.
Understand that Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Next, you must understand that different amounts of CFUs reach peak effectiveness and different quantities, and that you need to get the number of CFUs your gut biome needs instead of just the largest number possible. While one probiotic strain may be most effective at 100 billion CFUs, you may only need 50 billion CFUs to reach an optimum place for your gut. Conferring with your doctor and performing the proper tests will help you understand the numbers you need to be looking for to achieve the best microbiome possible for you.
Pay Attention to Expiration Dates
As they are with anything you put into your body, expiration dates for CFUs are important! In the case of CFUs, expiration dates can tell you if the amount of viable CFUs in a product will be higher or lower than you are expecting. Because keeping probiotic bacteria alive is challenging, the closer a product is to its expiration date the less likely it is for the bacteria to still be viable. Because of this, when shopping in stores, you will want to look for newly delivered probiotics that have ample time before expiration. When shopping online, do research on how a company develops, maintains, and ships their products. Successfully navigating expiration dates and ensuring you’re taking viable probiotic supplements will give you more bang for your buck.
We hope this article has helped you better understand CFUs and how important they are when it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement! For more information about vitamin and supplement formulas that can support your overall health and wellness, visit our website!