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Probiotics can be deemed to be the ‘best’ by a number of different criteria, but the most impressive standard of quality is considered to be a clinical trial conducted using gold standard techniques. It is quite a challenge to sift through all the available (and ever growing) research and reliably pinpoint the most researched probiotics in the world, but the top 10 are certainly amongst the following strains and supplements: L. rhamnosus GG1, S. boulardii2, L. plantarum 299v3, B. infantis 356244, L. reuteri DSM 179385, B. lactis BB-12®6, L. acidophilus NCFM®6, L. acidophilus La-56; also the combination of L. reuteri RC-14® and L. rhamnosus GR-1®6, and the probiotic formulation known as VSL#37. These strains are commercially available on the world market, and if we look at the finished products, (eg. L. plantarum GG is most widely available as the American product Culturelle, S. boulardii is most widely available as Florastor, and so on), then we see that of these probiotic supplements only VSL#3 is recommended to be stored in the fridge*. Many of these strains feature in our Probiotics Database where health professionals can learn more about the research.
There are a few reasons why refrigeration is less of a requirement these days. These include improvements in freeze-drying techniques, also known as 'lyophilisation' (glossary definition: lyophilisation)8 and discovery of strains which are naturally more robust within themselves, due to intensive investment in research and development into probiotics.
Whilst some good quality probiotics may be kept in the fridge, it is clear that the need for this storage method does not render a probiotic superior, or infer that it is of better quality..
*Some of the other strains may require refrigeration after opening depending on format, packaging, and the heat/humidity in local environment. Contact manufacturer for guidance.
A well researched probiotic range, regardless of its recommended storage.
Health professionals can read research on Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® and more about Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®
This myth has been busted by Megan Crowch, BSc (Hons) Physiology, Herbal Medicine Diploma (IRH practicing member).