Is Your Investment in Probiotics Going Right Down the Drain?

Is Your Investment in Probiotics Going Right Down the Drain?

November 04, 2018 9 min read

Machine placing pills into bottles

Every day, people all across the globe take probiotic supplements to improve or maintain their health. In fact, according to Grand View Research, the probiotic supplement market has an expected value of $7 billion by 2025.

If you've purchased a probiotic product, you probably expect it to contain bacterial cells that will move through your digestive tract and colonize your gut. 

In order to do that amazing work, your probiotics must be protected from four things:

  1. Light
  2. Moisture
  3. Heat
  4. Acids

Unfortunately, few products offer this multi-faceted protection. That means few products have the chance to do what you really need them to do—before they are excreted from the body and swirl down the drain.

Let's dive into how each one of these risks work. As we go along, we'll tell you a bit more about how our 60 Billion Probiotic is designed to mitigate all of these risks.

Light Deteriorates Your Supplements

Probiotics are technically defined as bacterial cells that confer some sort of benefit on the organism that consumes them. In other words, probiotics are bacteria you add to your body in order to make yourself healthier. And like their bacterial brethren, some types of probiotics can be damaged by light exposure.

As Scientific Americanexplains, UV light damages the DNA of susceptible cells. When that DNA experiences enough damage, the cell cannot move through its normal functions. If the damage is widespread, the cell will die.

Engineers are experimenting with the killing quality of the UV aspect of light, and they are developing products for use all around the house. Hop on Amazon and you'll see dozens of UV-emitting products you can wave over your hands, your utensils, your cooking surfaces, and more in order to kill germs that could cause harm.

But damaging light doesn't just come from a gadget. Damaging rays of sunlight can stream through unprotected windows and open doors. That light could, without proper protection and planning, render your probiotic products less effective.


Clearly, light has a powerful impact on some types of bacteria. Since probiotic cells are packed with bacteria, it makes sense to develop products with the power to block the damaging aspects of light.

Some manufacturers manage this process by packaging their products in hard, gelatin capsules. Others pop their products in brown-tinged bottles. These steps aren't made for aesthetic reasons. Alterations like this can have a big impact on the ability of some types of light to reach a product.

For example, in Wired, a writer performed a simple experiment with UV-sensitive beads, green beer bottles, and amber beer bottles. The beads within the amber bottles did not react to UV light. All of the other beads did.

At Physician's Choice, we take protection seriously. That's why we offer multi-pronged, proven light protection. Our 60 Billion Probiotic product comes to you in plant-based Capsugel DRcaps, which offer light protection for sensitive ingredients. All of our capsules come in hard-plastic, flip-top-lid, plastic bottles from CSP Technologies. These bottles ensure that your pills are not exposed to any kind of light, which can extend both potency and shelf life.

Sunlight coming into a kitchen

Without Protection, Supplements Absorb Moisture

The air around us is filled with moisture, and according to an expert quoted by North Dakota State University, we add about three pints of moisture to the air each day through breathing alone. Taking a shower, running the dishwasher, or filling the sink with hot water could all add yet more moisture droplets to the air—and each droplet could cause your supplements intense harm.

The ingredients within a probiotic supplement are typically rendered inactive during processing, so those elements will be inert and waiting when you're ready to take them. Adding water could entice those elements to come alive again, and without a food source to eat, your probiotic bacteria could die before you even take your first pill.

It doesn't take much moisture to cause this process, and you subject your pills to moisture with each dose you take. As research from Science Daily points out, a traditional pill bottle allows humidity to creep in, even if the bottle is tightly screwed closed. Each time you open that bottle, you add to the problem as you allow moisture to settle in.

The damage done may not be visible to you. The product may not smell bad or change color or swell. But once the probiotic bacteria have died, they will not spring back to life again.

Typically, manufacturers add tiny, pillow-like packets to pill bottles to combat this issue. As Consumer Reports points out, these packets are typically filled with silica, and while they are not considered poisonous, they are not safe for consumption. As a result, manufacturers are required to make the packets look and feel different from the other items that might be within the bottle. That design is intended to keep consumers from eating something that could, potentially, cause harm.

It might be disconcerting to think about something inedible (and slightly dangerous) appearing in a bottle filled with something you're planning to ingest. But there's a bigger problem here: desiccant packets do not offer full protection.

A packet like this is made to work when in contact with moisture, meaning that it offers no barrier to the entry of moisture. It works in cleanup-mode only, and quite a bit of damage could be done before the effects are felt.

Our bottles are different. The vials we use, from CSP Technologies, are both moisture-tight and leak-proof, so they will not pull moisture out of the air. They also contain a desiccant sleeve, which can eliminate any moisture that creeps in when you open the bottle to get a dose. This offers complete and total protection for your probiotic.

Heat Breaks Down Supplement Power

Like most living things, bacterium is sensitive to heat. While sensitivities vary from bacterium species to species, most are dormant in cool temperatures and active when it's warm. That trait explains why operating rooms are kept cool. Doctors attempt to control rampant bacterial growth by keeping the environment below a certain temperature.

But probiotic bacteria are also sensitive to excess heat, according to Consumer Lab. If these bacterial cells are exposed to temperatures that are too high, and that exposure lasts for too long, the cells can die.

Again, the sensitivity can vary from bacterial type to bacterial type, so it is difficult to make a generalization about what storage environment is best for all probiotic products. But since most products contain a mix of different types of probiotics, it is not uncommon for consumers to grow concerned about efficacy and place their products within the refrigerator for safekeeping. Many modern refrigerators have handy shelves and cubbies built into the door that seem just right for pill bottles.

Unfortunately, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the door is not an appropriate place in which to store perishable items. Each time you open the door to the refrigerator, the items stored there experience a temperature shift. That shift could be extreme in summer months, when the temperature in your house might hover at 70 degrees, while the temperature of your refrigerator sits at 40 degrees. Placing pill bottles in the door in those homes offers little to no heat protection, since the bottles are always swinging into danger.

Even placing the bottles in the back of the refrigerator may not be useful. Adding a warm item, such as a pot of soup or a platter of lasagna, could warm up the entire appliance until the hot food cools down.

Refrigerator manufacturer Samsung also points out that consumers that open and close the refrigerator often can almost guarantee that their cold items will not stay cool. The appliance is not made to account for consistent influxes of warm air. That means any item, no matter where it is stored, could be at risk of spoiling if you open the door often.

Traditional pill bottles do not offer protection against temperature fluctuation. Ours are engineered to protect your probiotics, so they will stay stable and active despite the temperatures in the room around you. That means you don't need to store our product in the refrigerator (and you can open your refrigerator door as often as you'd like to).

Our pill bottles also protect you during shipment. Many of our competitors offer products that must be refrigerated for potency, but those products move from manufacturing facility to you without being refrigerated at any point. By the time you open these bottles, the damage has been done and the product is inert. That simply will not happen with our product. Since we offer protection that does not require refrigeration at any point, it will not matter how the product is stored as it moves from our facility to your home.

Turquoise refrigerator in the corner with floral wallpaper behind it

Stomach Acids Can Break Down Supplements Too Fast

Typically, we think of bacteria as virulent creatures that can survive almost anything. In reality, bacterial cells can be quite sensitive, and that means they can be easy to kill. In fact, the human digestive system does an exceptional job of bacteria killing.

Our digestive system is filled with acids that help to break down the foods we eat. Those same acids can also kill bacterial cells. For example, in a study published in Journal of Applied Microbiology, researchers found that four types of probiotic cells, including Bifidobacterium longum, decreased in viability when exposed to increasingly acidic conditions, including acid level 3.5, which is considered by Medline to be within a normal acid level range for the human stomach.

Research like this suggests that some types of bacterial cells in probiotic products simply die when they're exposed to acid in the stomach. That means those cells do not have the chance to move into the intestine to begin colonizing work. They will die before they reach that area.

Researchers attempt to determine how well bacterial cells will survive by exposing cells to differing levels of acidity and watching for viability. But those studies may not show the complete picture of cell viability. For example, in research published by Wageningen Academic Publishers, experts discovered that viability levels were different between hygienic lab conditions and the conditions found in a pig gut.

Digestive systems are remarkably complicated, and they contain not only acidic conditions, but also other factors that just cannot be replicated within a lab setting. That means some products that may claim to be lab tested and proven viable may only work within the lab, not your gut.

To provide protection for the ingredients in your probiotic, some manufacturers coat each pill with chemicals that don't break down within the stomach. For example, in research from the American Chemical Society suggests that mixing cellulose, alginate, and calcium chloride with probiotics can provide protection for probiotics as they move through the body.

But some of the chemicals used to create these capsules aren't ideal for human health. Some are made from petroleum-based products, and others are made from completely inorganic compounds that can cause some consumers worry.

Even if the capsule is strong and it holds shape while in the stomach, probiotics need a little more in order to survive. Once they have awakened and become active, they need a food source to consume. Researchers writing in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology point out that probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosuswill survive in acidic conditions only if those probiotics have sugars they can eat effectively. If the cells did not have the food they needed, they would die.

Properly created probiotic products, like ours, include prebiotics. These are the food sources bacterial cells rely on for survival, and when they're packed inside a capsule, those bacterial cells do not need to seek out nutrition. It is close at hand, and that can lead to better survival rates.

Our products also come in a revolutionary, veggie-based capsule that provides protection from the acidic environment of the stomach. We offer such superb protection that our probiotics do not need film coatings or chemical manipulation. And they break down, on average, 45 minutes later than a typical capsule. That delayed release allows the product to safely move through the stomach before contents are released.

Choosing the Right Formula Can Also Protect Your Investment

Since probiotic bacterium is so fragile, it makes sense to purchase a product with quite a bit of power. In fact, the American Nutrition Association reports that one typically must take a high dose of probiotics in order to, in their words, achieve clinical significance. The Association also reports that it is best to purchase a product with many different strains of probiotics, so each cell type can tackle a specific type of illness.

Our product contains 60 billion CFU of probiotic bacteria (we even put that number in the name of our product). We include 10 different strains

of probiotic bacterium, including:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus paracasei

We nourish these bacterium with an organic prebiotic fiber blend, so each cell has the nourishment required when it awakens in your intestine.

This formula has been approved by Dr. Ari Magrill, a board-certified physician. His expertise ensures that we are providing a product you can trust.

We produce all of our products in an allergen-safe, Natural Products Association certified, and organic-certified facility. That means your products will include only the ingredients you want, and nothing you do not.

We believe our products are the best on the marketplace. We would love to introduce them to you. Order today.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.