Refrigerated Probiotics Vs. Shelf-Stable Probiotics: Quick Answers
Published July 5, 2023
There are two main categories of probiotics: refrigerated and shelf-stable. These bacteria revolve around supporting the balance of beneficial bacteria in our bodies. They can be found naturally in certain foods or taken as supplements. Refrigerated probiotics require cold storage to maintain their effectiveness, while shelf-stable probiotics can still sustain at room temperature without losing viability. Now the question remains; are refrigerated probiotics better than shelf-stable ones?
As the name suggests, refrigerated probiotics are probiotic supplements that require cold storage to maintain viability. When consumed adequately, these supplements contain live bacteria or yeast strains that offer health benefits.
Do probiotics need to be refrigerated? The cold temperature helps slow down the metabolic activity of the probiotics, preserving their potency and ensuring their effectiveness until the expiration date.
Benefits of Refrigerated Probiotics
Enhanced Viability: The low temperature helps extend the lifespan of the live cultures present in probiotics. By keeping them dormant, refrigeration reduces the risk of bacterial degradation and ensures a higher chance of the probiotics reaching the gut alive.
Potency Preservation: The potency of probiotics can diminish when exposed to heat, moisture, or oxygen. Refrigeration protects the live cultures from these elements, preserving their potency and ensuring they deliver the desired health benefits.
Efficacy in Specific Conditions: Certain probiotic strains are more sensitive and require refrigeration to maintain their effectiveness. Refrigerated probiotics may be the preferred choice for individuals with specific health conditions or those seeking targeted benefits.
Things to Consider
Refrigerated probiotics need to be stored in a cold environment. This requirement limits their convenience, especially for individuals who travel frequently or cannot refrigerate throughout the day. The ambient temperature plays a significant role in how long can refrigerated probiotics stay out. If the room temperature is cool, probiotics may remain viable longer than in a warmer environment. Keep the time refrigerated probiotics spend out of the fridge at a minimum.
Different probiotic strains have varying degrees of sensitivity to temperature. Some strains may be more resilient and able to withstand short periods at room temperature, while others may be more delicate and require more stringent temperature control.
Shelf-stable probiotics are probiotic supplements that can be stored at room temperature without compromising efficacy. Unlike refrigerated probiotics, shelf-stable variants do not require cold storage to maintain their viability. It is done by freeze-drying the live bacteria.
Benefits of Shelf-Stable Probiotics
Convenience: Shelf-stable probiotics are highly convenient. They can be stored at room temperature, making them easily accessible and suitable for travel. Unlike whole foods refrigerated probiotics, you can take them with you wherever you go without refrigeration.
Longer Shelf Life: Shelf-stable probiotics often have a longer shelf life than their refrigerated counterparts. They are designed to withstand higher temperatures and longer storage periods without losing effectiveness.
Versatility: Shelf-stable probiotics come in various forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and chewable gummies. This wide range of options allows individuals to choose a format that suits their preferences and makes incorporating probiotics into their daily routine easier.
Things to Consider
Some may ask, “Do probiotics expire if refrigerated?” While shelf-stable probiotics do not require refrigeration, storing them away from direct sunlight or heat is still important. Putting them in a cool and dry area helps maintain the stability and potency of the probiotics throughout their shelf life.
Choosing the Right Probiotics
When deciding between refrigerated and shelf-stable probiotics, consider the following factors:
Storage Preference: Refrigerated probiotics may be preferred if you can easily access refrigeration and prioritize higher potency. But, if convenience and portability are more important to you, shelf-stable probiotics offer flexibility and can be stored at room temperature without compromising their efficacy.
Health Needs: Consider your goals and the strains that align with those objectives. Both refrigerated and shelf-stable probiotics can provide health benefits, but the availability of specific strains may vary. When choosing probiotics, it is important to ensure that they include the genus Bacillus, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, or Saccharomyces boulardii. These are among the most extensively studied probiotics.
Check the Colony-Forming Units (CFUs): In most cases, doses typically fall within the range of 1 to 10 billion CFUs taken once or twice daily. However, individuals seeking relief from specific health conditions may find larger CFU doses more suitable for their needs. Before starting any shelf-stable or refrigerated probiotics supplement, you should consult a doctor to determine the appropriate dosage (in terms of CFUs) for your condition.
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About The Author
Krizzia Paolyn has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She started her career as a content writer for various digital magazines and renowned publications. It has always been her passion to share her voice, and at the same time, to encourage other people to speak up.