CFUs, or colony-forming units, measure the number of bacteria in a product that can grow on an agar plate. They are usually expressed as "CFU per gram." When you eat probiotics, they need to survive the trip through your stomach acid and make it down to your gut, where they settle in and start their work.
Lab techs use an agar plate to grow bacteria. First, they pour a liquid containing nutrients onto it, allowing it to solidify. Then they add a small number of bacteria. The bacteria feed on the nutrients in this environment and multiply until they use up all of their food sources. The remaining colonies are counted under a microscope and multiplied by the dilution factor used to make them (i.e., 1x10^2 will be 10 CFU/mL).
A higher number of CFUs means more bacteria are present in the product. This can be important for some probiotics, which need a certain amount to be effective.
Different Types of CFUs
When it comes to probiotics and supplements, colony-forming units can tell you how many living bacteria are in your supplement or product. This can help you determine whether or not you're getting enough probiotics to see results or if you need a higher dose for relief from symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation.
Different CFUs can be used in testing:
Total CFUs (TCFUs)
TCFUs include both live and dead cells. It's important to note that TCFUs don't tell you anything about how effective your probiotic supplement will be since some of the strains may not be viable outside their natural environment.
Live CFUs (LCFUs)
LCFUs are the only CFU that matter. This is the number of viable cells in your product, allowing you to experience benefits such as improved digestion, immune support, and reduced inflammation. If a probiotic supplement says it has 10 billion CFUs but only 1 billion LCFUs, you won't get much out of it.
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium CFUs
These are two strains that are commonly found in probiotic supplements. Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria found in fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, while Bifidobacterium is found in breast milk and other sources of human nutrition. Both strains can help improve the health of your gut and prevent the growth of harmful pathogens.
How Many CFUs Do You Need?
While there is no set amount of probiotics you should take, the general recommendation is between 5 and 20 billion CFUs per day. This will depend on the strength of your product and how many other supplements you're taking.
Cardiff probiotic supplements come with an indication on the label as to how many CFUs are present in each serving size. When buying supplements, you should check for labels that say "live cultures" or "active cultures," which indicates that the probiotics have not been killed by heat or other means during processing. You should also check the label's expiration date and ensure it hasn't passed. If you're using a supplement that requires refrigeration, keep it in the fridge to maintain potency.
The number of CFUs in a supplement is important because it indicates how many live bacteria you're consuming. If you don't have enough, your body won't be able to get the benefits of probiotics.
Many factors influence how many probiotic strains and CFUs are ideal for your body, including age, health status, and diet. A good rule of thumb is to start with one capsule daily, then gradually increase until you reach the desired dosage level.
Benefits of Consuming More CFUs
CFUs are so important because they help populate your digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that can fight off other harmful, disease-causing microorganisms. By taking probiotic supplements, you're giving your body a boost of good bacteria that it may not have had before. They help keep your gut healthy.
You, therefore, want your body to contain these beneficial bacteria to avoid getting sick. For example, if you have a bacterial infection in your gut, it will be hard for you to digest food properly, so your body won't be able to take in all the nutrients you eat. Additionally, since your immune system will have to work harder to fight off infection, you may also feel tired or run down.
Consuming more CFUs can help prevent these problems by strengthening the immune system and helping with digestion so that all of the nutrients in food are absorbed by the body rather than wasted through poor absorption.
There is also some evidence that probiotics can help prevent certain types of cancer. For example, studies have shown that people who eat yogurt with active cultures are less likely to develop colon cancer than those who don't eat yogurt at all.
Additionally, probiotic supplements may help prevent or treat vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Consuming probiotics for these purposes may be especially beneficial for women because they spend more time in the bathroom than men do.
When eating probiotics, it's important to ensure that the body properly absorbs them. For example, if you take a pill with water or juice, it may not be as effective as taking it with food because the stomach acids will destroy some of the beneficial bacteria before they can get into your intestines.
How to Get more CFUs Into Your Daily Diet
There are many different ways to get more CFUs into your daily diet. You can try eating foods that naturally contain probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. Or you can take a probiotic supplement or eat foods that have been fermented to increase the number of good bacteria they contain.
Fermented foods are an easy and tasty way to get more probiotics into your diet. You can make your sauerkraut or kimchi at home with a starter culture or buy them in many grocery stores and online.
Probiotic supplements can also help you get more good bacteria into your diet. The best probiotic supplements are made from strains that have been clinically studied and found to be effective in improving overall health.
Try Cardiff Essential Superfoods Pre & Probiotic Blend
Cardiff Essential Superfoods Pre & Probiotic Blend has 10 Billion CFUs of Lactobacillus Paracasei and Lactobacillus Plantarum, two strains that have been clinically studied and shown to improve overall health. The supplement is also free from dairy and gluten, contains no artificial ingredients or added sugar, and is suitable for vegans.
Superfoods Pre & Probiotic Blend is a powder supplement that you mix with water or your favorite juice to get more probiotics into your diet. It's made from organic fruits and vegetables and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
Cardiff's pre- & probiotic blends could be the first step in your journey towards better gut health. Check out our wide range of products, and read our guide to learn more about prebiotics and probiotics.