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The Fridge Door A Great Place for Your Probiotics!

The contemporary food chain has become sophisticated and diverse, thanks to modern refrigeration. With the exception of that iconic bottle of ketchup—admit it, we all have one in the fridge door or in the pantry—the decision for most items to refrigerate or leave at room temperature is pretty clear.

When it comes to probiotic supplements, the choice between shelf-stable probiotics and those that require refrigeration is worthy of discussion. Probiotic foods have been consumed globally for many centuries in the form of kimchi, yogourt, sauerkraut, and kombucha, to name a few. Recent years have witnessed an exponential surge in knowledge of species‑specific benefits for probiotics. We have also learned which species are robust enough to be viable when left at room temperature, such as many rhamnosus strains. There are also many fragile, yet valuable therapeutic strains which require a dormant state of refrigeration to survive storage and meet label claims at expiry. Bifidobacterium probiotic strains, including infantis, breve, and plantarum, are among those that die off rapidly unless refrigerated.

The common production method for many “shelf-stable” probiotics is to overbuild the product to anticipate the die-off of probiotics, yet meet the advertised amount on the label. Unfortunately, strains that are less “shelf-stable” may be dead within a month of production. This can leave the consumer with a product that unfortunately falls woefully short of expectations.

There’s no shortage of exquisite, broad-spectrum probiotic formulas available. The recommendation to refrigerate is critical to ensure effectiveness from production, storage, shipping, retail exposure, and the eventual prime real estate of your refrigerator door.