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What Is the Proper Probiotic Dosage and What Are CFU's?

Question:
With probiotics, how many CFUs should I look for as the dose? Is more necessarily better?

Answer:
As a general rule, a probiotic should provide at least 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units, i.e., viable cells), with doses typically ranging between 1 billion and 10 billion CFUs daily for adults. This is explained in the Probiotic Supplements Review, which includes ConsumerLab.com's tests of popular probiotics. There are some exceptions to this: Doses as high as 100 billion CFUs or more are used in some situations, while doses for children and infants are sometimes below 1 billion. 

The specific dose will depend on the probiotic strain and the purpose for which it is taken. You can look this up in the "What to Consider When Using" section of the Review, where you will find the dose and strain(s) used in preventing/treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea, IBS, anxiety, depression, allergies, and more. Be aware that probiotic supplements may contain a single type of organism or a combination of many types. Combinations have been more effective in some situations, but single strain products have also been effective, so it is not clear that one is better than the other. Details about the clinical studies are found in the "What It Does" section of the Review.

Learn more about probiotics:



When is the best time to take probiotics to prevent diarrhea from antibiotics - before, during, or after the course of antibiotic treatment? >>

Have you heard of the probiotic, Keybiotics? Does it do what it claims, and is it worth the money they charge?  >>

Can probiotics help lower cholesterol? >>

The probiotic I am taking looks pink. Does this mean it is spoiled or no longer "active"? >>

Is it best to take probiotic supplements with or without food? It seems like everyone has a different recommendation. >>

Once I've taken probiotics for a few months, will the positive bacteria remain in my system, or do I have to keep taking them? >>

I eat one to two cups of Greek yogurt every day. Do I still need to take a probiotic supplement? >>

How do I choose the best probiotic supplement? There are so many different strains of bacteria! >>

I developed a rash soon after starting a probiotic. Is it possible to be allergic to probiotics? >>

Is the probiotic "Milk Test," as described on many websites, really an effective way to test the quality of the bacteria in probiotic supplements at home? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
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This CL Answer initially posted on 4/9/2016. Last updated 4/13/2018.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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