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What Are Probiotic Supplements?

What comes to mind when you think of bacteria? If it’s germs, disease, and illness, you’re not alone. The past three years of social distancing and constant hand sanitizing have given bacteria a bad rep, but did you know not all bacteria are bad? There are some bacteria your body needs to thrive. These so-called “friendly bacteria” are also known as probiotics. When ingested, some research indicates that probiotics can provide numerous health benefits. Probiotic supplements can help increase your probiotic intake when your normal diet isn’t getting the job done.

The Types of Probiotics

There are several core genera of microbial organisms used in probiotic supplements. These include:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Saccharomyces
  • Streptococcus
  • Bacillus

Each of the above is known as a genus. While we may be asking you to dig deep into your memory of past biology courses, a genus is a group of related species.

There can be thousands of probiotic species that fall into one of the genera above. You’ll typically see probiotics named in the following format: [Genus] [Species]. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium longum are all different species of probiotics.

Probiotic genus species strain definitions

Within a species, there may be many different strains. These are often designated by a strain ID such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 where “HN001” identifies the strain. Depending on the strain, each probiotic species can have varying benefits or impacts on the human body.

What Foods Contain Probiotics?

While the microbial organisms above may sound unfamiliar, chances are you’ve come across them often in your everyday life! Probiotic-rich foods and drinks include:

  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Sourdough
  • Wine & beer
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Pickles

When in doubt, fermented food is a great source of probiotics! Look for a key term like “live and active cultures” on the label or packaging to be sure you’re getting your daily dose of probiotics!

Probiotic Supplements & Their Benefits

Probiotic supplements are a way to ingest more probiotics when your daily diet doesn’t get you enough and allow you to target specific health concerns with certain strains or doses. These supplements are available in several forms, including tablets, capsules, and powders.

There are plenty of articles available regarding the proposed benefits of probiotics when it comes to things like gut health, immunity, and cognition. However, probiotics should never take the place of medically backed recommendations from your primary care provider.

Manufacturing Probiotic Supplements

Here at Vitaquest, we’ve spent over two decades manufacturing probiotic supplements. We are the largest non-originator manufacturer of probiotic dietary supplements in the United States and produce more than 50 million retail units of finished probiotic products annually.

What does the process of probiotic supplement development look like? We’ll work with clients to identify the health concern they want to address and the strain they wish to use. Supplements typically contain a mix of several microorganisms. It’s important to know how these organisms interact and whether they benefit or negate each other. We have access to the latest research and regulatory developments to help you understand the pros and cons of your strain before moving into production.

If you’re interested in custom manufacturing a probiotic supplement, contact the experts at Vitaquest today. Our team has helped hundreds of dietary supplement brands break into this competitive, yet ever-growing, market. Call 800-526-9095 to speak with one of our knowledgeable sales executives or request a nutraceutical manufacturing price quote.

Terry Coyle - Chief Innovation Officer at Vitaquest International
Chief Innovation Officer

Terry Coyle, now serving as the Chief Innovation Officer at Vitaquest, previously held the position of Vice President for Product Development & Regulatory Affairs. With an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, Terry boasts 28 years of experience within the company. Leading a team of over 20 scientists, flavorists, and regulatory experts, Terry’s remarkable leadership has driven the successful development and launch of an impressive portfolio of more than 12,500 products.

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