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How Many Bacterial Colonies Do You Need to obtain from probiotic foods?

The average CFU count in probiotic capsules is between 1 and 10 billion CFUs per serving.

On the other hand, yogurt producers can add a “live and active cultures” seal on a voluntary basis if their yogurt or kefir contains at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. After manufacture, the live and active cultures seal can also be used for frozen yogurt containing at least 10 million cultures per gram.

In recent years, some companies have focused on extremely high CFU counts, claiming that higher CFUs mean better results, which is not a universal truth because the potency is more than just a number.

The gut contains 400 to 600 different bacterial strains and species comprising nearly 2 million genes (the microbiome). Indeed, the number of bacteria within the gut is approximately 10 times that of all of the cells in the human body, and the collective bacterial genome is vastly greater than the human genome. The goal of taking a probiotic supplement or consuming any probiotic-containing food is to add beneficial bacteria back into the gut so that these bacteria can improve the overall environment in the gut.

Of course, you want to take a high quantity of bacteria to ensure these can have a positive difference in the gut.

At the same time, taking too high an amount of one specific strain has a negative effect.

You might experience digestive upset, or the bacteria will flush through your body without having an impact.

Instead of focusing on CFUs, we urge you to focus on your probiotic source's efficacy and delivery mechanism. Considering that the number of CFUs isn’t a great indicator of probiotic quality, here’s what you should focus on instead when it comes to determining the quality of a probiotic.

1. The Combination of bacterial strains

Each of the 400 to 600 probiotic bacterial strains in your gut performs a different function. Microbiome research could reveal which exact strains you need to supply, and this is frequently a difficult or expensive thing to do. On the other hand, clinical studies on the beneficial effects have been performed for centuries and are still ongoing. Bulgarian yogurt is one of the most researched foods, and although studies continue, it is recognized worldwide as a real functional food. The additions of Bifidus, Acidophilus, Rhamnosus, Gasseri, Salivarius, and Reuteri, recognized as beneficial bacteria, could additionally boost your health if consumed regularly and variably.

The acidification of the fermented dairy food additionally guarantees a stable and balanced amount of live and active bacteria (when made with dairy milk, without additives and no processing after the point of fermentation)

2. The Delivery Mechanism

Another important factor is the delivery mechanism; how the product is manufactured and ingested.

In order for you to truly benefit from taking a probiotic, the bacterial species have to survive the journey from the manufacturer to the store, to your house, and eventually through your gastrointestinal tract into your large intestine.

This can pose many challenges, including changes in temperature and moisture as well as exposure to the acid in your stomach.

Unfortunately, in many probiotic supplements, a majority of the good bacteria die before you even get the chance to ingest them. And even if the bacteria survive and make it into your mouth, probiotics in capsules often don’t survive the passage through the acidic environment of the stomach mainly because they are inactive or dormant, and they stay that way until they find favorable conditions

However, to increase the chances of successfully passing through your body, you must activate and strengthen them. When using the bacterial starter culture and adding it to milk to make yogurt and kefir, you activate the beneficial bacteria, increase the number as they grow and multiply during the fermentation, and make them strong for their passage through the stomach into your intestines.

Consuming variable and freshly made fermented food, dairy or not frequently, is the only thing that will improve digestion and well-being as our grandparents used to do.


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