How many Probiotics Should You Take?
Probiotics are generally measured in colony-forming units (CFUs). Research is continually being done to determine how many CFUs one should consume in order to receive the full benefits of probiotics. Scientists haven't yet come to an ultimate conclusion, but some researchers suggest that the minimum effective dose is at least 10 million CFUs.10
Many supplements offer more than a billion CFUs. Quantifying probiotic bacteria in food is a little more difficult. Generally, yogurts that are labeled as probiotic have more than a billion CFUs, but the exact number they contain can depend on how it was stored, how long it was fermented, and how close to the expiration date it is.
Including prebiotics in your diet along with fermented foods and probiotic supplements can further increase the health benefits that healthy bacteria give you. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that your body can’t break down that are found in a variety of fruits, grains, and vegetables.
Some of the best sources of prebiotics include the following:11
- Dandelion greens
If you want to optimize the number of prebiotics you get through your diet, it’s a good idea to eat a varied diet filled with fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, many people who eat a standard Western diet rely on a handful of foods for most of their calories. In fact, it’s thought that more than 75% of the food the average person consumes comes from a mere 12 plants and five animals.12