It is important to follow dosage instructions as directed on the probiotic1 label.
If a claim pertaining to individual strains or blend of strains contained in the product is made, the manufacturer should maintain evidence that the amount provided is consistent with the scientific evidence.
Colony Forming Unit (CFU)2 is the scientifically accepted unit of measure for labeling the number of live probiotics in a product. Products should declare the total count of the blend (single & multi-strain3) in CFUs. You may also see milligrams (mg) for the probiotic ingredient which doesn’t correspond to the activity of the formula
3. STRAIN SPECIFICITY
Probiotics have different characteristics, qualities and actions that are unique to the specific strain or combinations. The label should identify the genus, species and strain for each microorganism in the product. i.e. Lactobacillus acidophilus IPA001 Individual dietary ingredients within a proprietary blend should be listed in descending order by CFUs4
4. EXPIRATION DATE
The expiration date should indicate how long the probiotic product will contain the claimed levels of bacteria (CFU) when stored as directed. This is different than the date of manufacture which refers to the date the product was produced. Products should contain 100% of the quantity of probiotics declared on the label at end of shelf life and not at time of manufacture.
Probiotic bacteria are living microorganisms and their numbers can drop during storage. It is important to read the label for proper storage instructions. Storing probiotics correctly will help ensure viability until the expiration date. Probiotics are generally sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. The impact is dependent on the probiotic strains, the formulation matrix, the dosage form and the packaging.