First things first: Look for the genus, species, and strain of each probiotic bacterial strain included in the product. If those three things aren’t listed, or it’s a proprietary blend, Ferira notes you could reach out to the company to ask for more specifics, or simply opt for one that includes that information from the get-go.
“I would prefer people choose a brand that’s transparent and includes those three pieces of info. If they don’t, it’s like asking what my city, state, and ZIP code are and me saying I’m from the United States of America—it’s super nonspecific,” she explains.
For example, if you see “Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07″ on a label, that means the genus is Bifidobacterium, the species is lactis, and the strain is Bi-07.
Why does that trio of info matter, you ask? According to Ferira, “That identifies the specific probiotic strain name, which is how probiotics are researched in clinical literature,” so it can tell you a lot about a product’s efficacy.