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Testing Probiotics

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Testing Probiotics

Postby Daise » Sun 31 Aug 2008 11:11

I can't reference this method. I learned of it outside of Lyme circles. But it seems to make horse sense.

In my experience, probiotic supplement brands vary a lot as to whether they’re potent or not.

I used Pearls, by Enzymatic Therapy, for years. However, I later repeatedly found their Pearls to be—not potent, by home testing. I spent a lot of money on Pearls over the years, before knowing I had Lyme. When I began taking Lyme antibiotics I continued taking Pearls, plus other brands.

I trust they do make a good product, as I've used some of their other supplements and they were effective (for example, their sleep remedy,) but perhaps shipments sit on a loading dock in the hot Sun or maybe they freeze--killing off the probiotics.

I've tried various brands.

I test each and every probiotic product I buy. I fill a little dish or plastic container with 1/2 cup milk or juice glass with 1/3 cup of milk. I have one container for each product tested. I put a slip of paper under each container, labeling it as the brand. [Paragraph edited for clarity.]

I empty 2 capsules from a product into a container (or cut-open the Pearls) and stir. After 24-48 hours (uncovered) if I see "activity" then I know it's potent.

By activity I mean it should sort of have the consistency of custard. Those products that don't show activity, I bring back to the store for a full refund, and I alert the manager. I test every bottle I buy. After all, it's my health that's at stake!

Sometimes Country Life does well--and it's often on sale at Vitamin Cottage. But sometimes Country Life fails.

This happened when I took two, big Country Life Acidophilus bottles (250 count each,) at the same time, from the refrigerated section at a store: both were on sale, both were the same product and both had the same expiration date. One passed the test very well, the other failed badly.

Again, I wonder about the loading dock idea, especially because some Country Life probiotics must be kept refrigerated. It’s also possible they may have sat on the storeroom floor for a while before being re-refrigerated.

I’ve consistently had good luck with two off-the-shelf brands (off-the-shelf as opposed to absolutely needing refrigeration): Source Naturals and Renew Life. Kyodophilus brand fails for me, repeatedly. Jarrow failed once—the powdered type—and I never tried it again. [Paragraph edited for clarity.]

Evaporation eventually would turn the milk to something sort of custard-like. However, when I've tested multiple brands at the same time, same type of container, same amount of milk, some turn to custard-like and others are still, well, milk! (Though I wouldn't drink them!)

In my experience, a product will pass very well--or fail, outright. I haven’t found any product in between. Sometimes a brand will take a bit longer to become custard-like, than the others.

Dr. Burrascano's Guidelines especially recommend the probiotic type, acidophilus.

The problem with yogurt and kefir is that they are expensive (comparatively) and they don't have nearly enough probiotics, compared to good supplements. Yogurt and kefir can have a high amount of carbs. However, they supply a varied probiotic base in addition to supplements. But then, so can certain probiotic capsules.

I refrigerate all my probiotics, whether purchased from the refrigerated section or off-the-shelf.

I’ve found Whole Foods Market to be very expensive.

I’ve found an independant neighborhood store with good prices and they keep most of their probiotics, even most of their off-the-shelf types, in their refrigerated section. That says something about their care of probiotics. The idea being, that they'd be potent for a longer period of time.

I check expiration dates.

When I buy probiotics, even off-the-shelf (not refrigerated,) and the weather outside is cool or cold, I drive straight home without the heater on, to get them in my frig. Sunlight streaming through the car windows can raise the temperature quickly--that can affect potency. When the weather is warm or hot I bring an ice pack in a little "cooler," to get the probiotic home safely.

One time, I forgot the ice pack and "cooler." I drove to a drive-in to buy a little glass partly full of ice. I sunk my probiotic bottle into the ice.

I've heard of frozen probiotic supplements--it's deliberate--but how can that be? Anyone seen these?

daise :)

[Edited where noted.]
Last edited by Daise on Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:31, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby cave76 » Sun 31 Aug 2008 14:53


I'm going to try that---- never had.

What do you think about the probiotics that are sold as not needing refrigeration? Good for people traveling or for when I briefly lived in a Third World county and you could hardly find probiotics except on the shelf at Walmart. :bonk:

The UPS AND post office was sporadic, at best.

Now we need someone who does buy off the shelf at Walmart to try the same experiment.
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby LymeEnigma » Sun 31 Aug 2008 19:31

Thanks for sharing that! I never even considered the possibility that my probiotics could have lost potency en route to a distributor or store. I'm going to have to give that test a try!
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby Daise » Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:04

Morning Cavey,

The probiotics that are sold as not needing refrigeration (sold "off-the-shelf" as opposed to being in the refrigerated section,) they can still be potent, for sure, and I've tested some of these successfully, above. I'll edit that post to clarify. I'm sorry.

However, it's concerning that a long shelf life might make them not potent. And it's a hastle when they're not, if home testing fails and they have to be returned.

If I were to travel, I'd go ahead and buy off-the-shelf. However, I'd find a variety to choose from in a health food store and check the expiration dates. A newer date might be more potent. Then I'd go home and test it.

As far as Walmart or Walgreens, does anyone have recent experience with these brands? It's been a long time since I've checked the acidophilus labels at those stores. Last time I did, their acidophilus measured in the millions: you'd have to swallow a lot of capsules, daily. Health food store brands typically measure in the billions.

Therefore, it's cheaper to buy them at health food stores--as long as it's a store with reasonable prices to begin with. For example, not Whole Foods Grocery!

I noticed a big difference in how my colon worked, using my method. For Lymies, there's nothing like getting billions of good stuff in my colon.

I wonder about the experiences of European posters.

On another note ... After I began taking Mepron, a liquid that goes directly on my tongue, I got a bit of oral thrush. (I also take Lyme antibiotics that are pills.) I realize Mepron kills protozoa--and that it's "good" bacteria being killed off that causes thrush, but I wonder if Mepron presents a hostile environment in the mouth.

For the thrush, I'm taking liquid Nystatin that I swish in my moutn and spit-out (because I also take Nystatin pills.) After I've tried to rinse-out my mouth of the yellow street paint (Mepron) and the liquid Nystatin, I open a capsule of probiotic onto my tongue. Yuch! But ya know, I don't mind the taste of Mepron and Nystatin.

I've been prescribed Mepron for almost six months. Only five more weeks to go.

Oh ... the ins and outs for Lyme patients!

daise :)
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby cave76 » Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:23

I have my little 'experiment' going on right now. :)

How long do I wait? (Good thing I don't have a cat!)
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby Daise » Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:35

Hi LE,

I'm going to have to give that test a try!

Please let us know what happened.

daise :)
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby Daise » Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:40

Hi Cavey,

I empty 2 capsules from a product into a container (or cut-open the Pearls) and stir. After 24-48 hours (uncovered) if I see "activity" then I know it's potent.

Please tells us what happens.

Does Yvonne have a cat?

Daise :)
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby Daise » Sun 31 Aug 2008 20:48

I edited my first post, as noted at specific paragraphs.

Daise :)
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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby Fin24 » Mon 1 Sep 2008 6:38

ummm not to put a little damper on budding scientists out there BUt youre wasting your time

for a few good reasons

1. room temperature isnt gut temperature--many of those FAILED probitoitcs may have done better at slightly warmer temps--think yogurt makers!!! and then even with warmth go to numbers 2-6

2. digestive enzymes alter activity

3. milk isnt the best test of chyme or of in vivo gut environs

4. turning milk into custard isnt the point--what youre doing btw is room temp yogurt!!...and thats not what youre swallowing them for

5. you cant compare different species or mixes i.e. if there are a lot of lactose digesters ( lactobacilli) in the mix theyll thicken the milk and if little or NO lactose digesters--nothing and yet you can have perfectly GOOD bacteria there ( bifidobacteria)anyway!!

6. You cannot tell bacterial count or CFU ( colony forming units) or how many dead vs alive units by whether it curdles or thickens milk--you can have very few but strongly lactic acid forming colonies and a not so good product despite the curdled milk- or a mix of many good bacteria that collectively dont thicken milk well but are still and all very good activity wise

sometimes simple doesnt work

as for Kefir at one cup to 1 1/2 cup a day ( 8-12 oz) and 32 oz bottle at 1.99-2.99 US$ its not that espensive plus you get minerals like calcium and potassium and calories and other nutrients.and vitamins

I take Pearls too as well as Kefir daily and Ive tried all sorts of acidophilus mixes---with various results but as long as you research the tests for viab ility and CFUs the company uses...thats all you need

OR heres an idea--buy yogurt starter and a yogurt machine and produce your own--youd still be guessing at the viability--you may end up with a lot of DEAD bacteria...or if not dead youll only have lactobacilli mixes..LACTO meaning they digest milk!! ( edited here for spelling)

the ONLY real way to check btw????? for a dime Ill tell ya ;)

ok Ill do it anyway and NO quick way around it
plate them on agar or lactose agar plates and under specific temps close to body temp NOT room temp see if they grow and how many colonies in how short a time

OR flourescently stain a sample smeared thin and look under a scope

sigh...sorry but not even good enough for a 4th grade science fair project...

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Re: Testing Probiotics

Postby cave76 » Mon 1 Sep 2008 16:18

Good post!

My 'experiment' is failing. Nothing that looks 'frothy'. Now where's my old yogurt maker? Or my old agar that I had to use in some Chinese recipes. LOL

*****OR flourescently stain a sample smeared thin and look under a scope*****

A good experiment for James. :)
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