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CFUs Don’t Mean Everything

It’s time to address a question that is sure to be top of mind for all probiotic users—is a higher CFU count better? Many probiotic products boast high CFU counts, implying that there is a connection between the CFU count and the quality of the product. Because of this, there is still a good deal of misinformation surrounding CFUs. The fact of the matter is, CFUs don’t mean everything—and formulating probiotics doesn’t come down to one number. 

The Journey of Probiotics

You typically hear about how supplements must have X amount of CFUs in order to breakdown bad bacteria, and how a higher CFU count contributes to quality. Although there are probiotic products that make claims of 50 billion CFUs, refrigerated storage can cause a large amount of this activity to decrease in a few short months, due to temperature sensitivity.

While it is certainly true that certain probiotic bacteria are extremely susceptible to temperature and highly acidic environments, it is not the case with all bacteria. As an example, the main strain within our Syntol formula is Bacillus subtilis, which is in spore form. The stability of spores is well documented, and they also have a wide pH range as well. The use of quality strains results in needing fewer strains to obtain far better results and strength—while leading to a lower CFU count. This is why formulating probiotic products is far more about product ingredients rather than an arbitrary CFU count.

The Truth Behind CFU Counts

Strains that boast longer stability tend to be costlier, as well as more effective, and are not found in many high CFU count formulations. For example, Syntol was specifically formulated using high quality bacteria to maintain the potency on the label throughout its shelf life without the need for refrigeration.

Additionally, Syntol is formulated with overages to offset the loss of activity that would occur whether its refrigerated or not. In other words, the product is formulated so that it can be stored in normal room temperature conditions and still maintain its potency.

In the end, it all comes down to formulation. CFUs don’t mean everything—in fact, high CFU counts likely result in an inferior formula, since cheap and ineffective strains are likely contributing to the majority of the count.

High Quality Low Quality
Temperature Stability Needs to be Refrigerated
Lower pH Less Potent
Lower CFU Count Higher CFU Count

What This Means for you

Most of our clients are getting a much stronger product than they believe, while the opposite is usually true of products from other companies. It is safe to assume that most high CFU count products would be effectively useless if stored outside of refrigeration.

Of course, this is not the case with all products. One of the most widely regarded daily probiotic products in the industry, Dr. Ohirra's, is not meant to be refrigerated and boasts under 1 billion CFUs of activity per softgel. But in a general sense, and as it pertains to Arthur Andrew Medical, a lower CFU count is more indicative of product quality than many consumers may think.