Unfortunately we lose about 50mls of our gut flora every day through bodily functions, so it is important that we replace the good bacteria in order to maintain a healthy balance of microflora. This in turn promotes good gut health, and the key to good overall health all starts with the gut. Of even more importance when replacing good bacteria - is of doing so with LIVE bacteria.
It seems these days however that although many health professionals and probiotics manufacturers are recommending probiotic supplements containing billions of bacteria, it may be unclear as to whether the bacteria in the products are actually alive. It is also important to note that the numbers most companies promote are individual bacteria, and this is used as a marketing tool designed to make the human mind think that the higher the number the better the product. If the bacteria are not alive however, the number of bacteria is almost irrelevant as they won't be able to do their job once they get to your gut (if they get that far). Many probiotic products that are available in pill and powder form are freeze dried and inert when you ingest them and are therefore not able to multiply. The bacteria need to reactivate in the gut however if the gut is not in a healthy and balanced state then the bacteria may not have all the food they need to reactivate, and are therefore rendered useless.
Live bacteria and batch testing
When manufactured via a natural fermentation process the number of live bacteria will always vary, each batch will be different and it would be impossible to state a number of bacteria on the product label as they are constantly multiplying. This is why a batch test is important to ensure that there is actually LIVE bacteria in the product, rather than the total number which changes all the time.
Colony forming units
In terms of serving sizes, a child serving of approximately 1.5 grams would give them a MINIMUM of 15 billion bacteria, and an adult serving of 3 grams (one teaspoon) would provide 30 billion bacteria. Again, the bacteria must be alive, so they are multiplying all the time, and it is important that they are also bred to withstand the harsh environment of the gut so they are not immediately killed off upon arrival.