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Frequently Asked Questions
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are "friendly" bacteria that live in and on your body. They are most prolific in your digestive tract. Probiotics is an umbrella term for all the different beneficial bacteria, but each strain or type of bacteria offers its own unique benefits. The most well-known types of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
How do probiotics help?
Probiotics offer valuable support for a healthy digestive tract, immune system and many other vital processes throughout the body. Probiotic supplements help support and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the GI tract by increasing the population of beneficial bacteria strains in the gut.
What are CFU?
Probiotics are measured in colony forming units (CFU) instead of milligrams or grams. CFU indicates an estimate of the number of viable (live) bacterial cells, typically measured in millions or billions, which are cultured or grown on a fermentation medium.
What does the number of strains mean?
Probiotic strains indicate the variety or type of microorganism (bacteria). Bacteria have a specific classification system including genus, species and strain.
For example: Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
- lactobacillus is the genus
- acidophilus is the species
- DDS-1 is the strain
There are thousands of different strains of bacteria. As of now, the Human Microbiome Project has isolated and sequenced 1,300 reference strains from the human body. However, some strains are well-known, and scientists are learning more about the specific benefits of individual strains. Our new probiotic line puts this new scientific knowledge into practice with formulas created with specific strains for specific health benefits.
Is there a minimum number of strains I should look for?
There is no research to support a minimum number of strains is needed for health. There is some new research, however, to support that a diverse microflora (having many different strains of bacteria in your gut) is associated with health.
Do different strains result in different health benefits?
Different probiotic strains have been studied for their ability to provide benefits in different areas. Our products were formulated taking this research into account.
Do probiotics need to be refrigerated?
Refrigeration is not required. Our probiotics are formulated to provide the number of CFU stated on the label. If desired, you may refrigerate after opening to ensure maximum potency.
Should probiotics be enteric coated?
There are some benefits to delivering probiotics in enteric coated capsules; however, most of the research on probiotics is performed on products without this delivery form and results show non-enteric coated probiotics are beneficial. If you are looking for probiotics with delayed release capsules, our Ultra Potency Probiotic and Ultra Probiotic Complex are in this delivery form.
Can "dead bugs" help me, and how? Isn't a probiotic, by definition, a live organism?
The word "dead" in this context means "heat killed." Our Swanson Probiotic Blend for Immune Support features heat killed Lactobacillus plantarum strain L-137 in patented ingredient Immuno LP-20. This microbe promotes immune function through activation of gut immunity. This formula also features patented EpiCor®, a product of yeast fermentation that produces high metabolite immunogens to maintain wellness.
Why do some of the new probiotics have a "Manufactured" date and some have a "Best By" date?
Consumers have sought and asked for “expiration” dating instead of “manufactured by” dating with increasing frequency, and we listened. A “Best By” date indicates that the product will successfully meet the claims made on its label up until the date given. Our products undergo rigorous stability testing to determine the most accurate dating for our finished products.