Refrigerated probiotics are notorious for being less potent and weaker than shelf-stable ones. But in reality, these supplements are just as effective as their thermos-stable fellows except for the efforts needed for proper storage.
Hence, there’s no questioning their viability or efficacy because refrigeration, in fact, keeps those good bacteria alive for longer periods of time.
Here, I have listed my top 5 picks for best-refrigerated probiotics:
- Optibac Pregnancy Probiotics – Best for Pregnancy
- Pendulum Glucose Control – Best for Diabetes
- Florajen Digestion High Potency – Best for IBS and Diarrhea
- Jarrow Fem-Dophilus Advanced – Best for Women
- Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily– Best for men
As I looked deeply into the formulation of each of these probiotics, I was able to categorize each of them based on their best use case, making it even easier for you to pick the one according to your health requirements.
However, if you would like to explore your options on your own, I have shared my tips for selecting the best ones among the plethora of options available to help you make an informed decision.
How I Chose The Best Refrigerated Probiotics?
Below enlisted and discussed are the 5 questions that I usually ask myself before selecting a new refrigerated probiotic supplement to try.
I’m sharing these with you so that you may benefit from them just as much and, therefore, not end up spending your hard-earned money on a product that doesn’t work well for you.
1. Which Strains Does It Contain?
The most important consideration while choosing a probiotic supplement is its microbial diversity. Every bacterial family has different characteristics and tolerance to temperature, pH, and antibiotics.
Even the strains of the same family vary in colony-forming abilities and secretions. Hence, their effects on the gut, immune system, skin, mood, and vaginal microbiome differ.
For example, when you are looking for a supplement to improve vaginal health, you should go for lactic acid bacteria, as their acidic secretions help maintain vaginal pH.
Mostly multi-strain products are more beneficial than single-strain pills.
Most common probiotic strains include bacteria from Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bifidium, and Saccharomyces yeast species.
Though one strain affects many health aspects simultaneously, the following effects are most evident;
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – Known for its acidic secretions and anti-inflammatory properties. It is included in probiotics supplements for supporting optimal vaginal health owing to its ability to lower the surroundings’ pH.
- Lactobacillus gasseri – When settled in the gut microbiome, this strain promotes the excretion of fats with feces. That’s why most good probiotics for weight loss include this strain. Also, it is clinically proven to reduce stress symptoms.
- Lactobacillus plantarum – It helps module the immune responses, increasing the ability of gut lining and white blood cells to fight bacterial infections and withstand harsh antibiotic effects.
- Bifidobacterium lactis; It can help up-regulate bowel movements, hence, is a great tool to cure gut issues like bloating and constipation.
- Saccharomyces boulardii – It is a yeast strain that improves immunity and safeguards intestinal lining from inflammation due to diseases and excessive antibiotic usage.
2. How Many CFUs It Has?
If microbial strains of a supplement match your health needs, the next thing you should consider is the number of viable microbes or CFUs you will get in each serving.
CFUs mean “colony forming units.” The number of alive bacteria in one dose can stick to your intestinal lining and form a colony.
As a rule of thumb, a good probiotic supplement should have at least 1 billion CFUs per serving.
However, the higher the CFU number, the more efficacious your supplement is. So, when you are torn between 2 products, choose the one with the higher microbial count.
3. Is It Only A Probiotic Or A Synbiotic?
Like all living organisms, bacteria and yeast cells also need nutrition to survive and grow. The nutrients that feed these friendly bacteria are called prebiotics.
Some supplements only have probiotics, but many others are a well-balanced combination of microbes and prebiotic components. Such all-rounder products are named Synbiotics.
It’s always a wiser choice to opt for a synbiotic instead of a probiotics-only product. That’s because brands include prebiotics matching the nutrient requirements of the probiotic strains.
Otherwise, many newly introduced microbes may die before they can multiply and settle into your gut microbiome if you don’t provide enough prebiotic ingredients in your meals.
4. Is It Free From Allergens And Preservatives?
Probiotics are available in tablets, capsules, jellies, sparkling drinks, and powders. And if you are sensitive to a food allergen like milk, peanuts, eggs, or soy, you won’t want it to be a part of your dietary supplement.
Hence, it is important to check the product’s label to ensure it is allergen-free.
5. Does It Travel To The Intestines Safely?
Probiotics will only benefit you if the microbes reach alive into your intestines. That’s where the supplement type becomes important.
Stomach acidity can kill friendly bacteria, making your supplement ineffective altogether. So, you must ensure that your supplement will travel safely to the intestines.
Enteric probiotic capsules are designed to open only when exposed to the intestinal environment.
However, this safety guarantee isn’t available for non-enteric, quick-release tablets, ready-to-mix powders, and ready-to-drink beverages.
In this case, the strains should be capable enough to withstand stomach acidity. Otherwise, there’s no use in taking the supplement that gets wasted midway!
5 Best Refrigerated Probiotics
1. Optibac Pregnancy Probiotics – Reduces Pregnancy Gut Issues
CFU: 12 billion
Dosage: 1 pill daily with breakfast
- Lactobacillus (L. rhamnosus HN001, L. acidophilus La-14)
- Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
Prebiotics: Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) fiber
Storage: Sealed jar does not need refrigeration. After opening, refrigerate and keep the desiccant sachet intact.
This product is formulated especially for women who are expecting or breastfeeding.
It includes strains that support gut and vaginalmicrobiomes during the exhausting period of pregnancy and feeding.
Each capsule includes 3 probiotic strains and 30 mg of prebiotic FOS fiber. After opening the desiccation cover, it needs refrigeration so that bacteria don’t resume their growth cycle.
(We want the microbes to stay alive but resume growth only when they reach the gut!)
Lactobacillus strains keep the vaginal pH low with their acidic secretions. As a result, infectious bacteria cannot survive, and chances of infection in the infant during delivery are reduced.
Bifidobacterium lacti HN019 significantly improves gut health and is effective against diarrhea and constipation. Research also suggests that B. lactis colonies in the gut can improve mood.
Hence, it can help both with pregnancy gut issues and mood swings.
Also, customer reviews prove this supplement is a blessing for expecting women struggling with gastrointestinal issues like nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Suits both during pregnancy and post-birth
- High CFU count
- Dairy-free, Gluten-free
- FOS fibers don’t suit IBS patients
Where to buy:
- You can buy this from the Optibac website, paying $24.99 for a 1-month supply.
- Plus, you can get a 10% discount with a subscription and free shipping on orders over $100.
2. Pendulum Glucose Control – May Help Manage Diabetes Effectively
CFU: 2 billion
Dosage: 2 capsules daily
- Akkermansia muciniphila WB-STR-001
- Clostridium (C. beijerinckii WB-STR-005, C. butyricum WB-STR-006)
- Anerobutyricum hallii WB-STR-008
- Bifidobacterium infantis
Prebiotics: Chicory Inulin
Certifications: Clinically tested for diabetes management
Storage: Refrigeration required
Cost: $215 for 1 month’s supply but reduces to $165 with a subscription
This refrigerated supplement has special clinical significance as it not only improves digestive functions but will also help you with diabetes management.
Predictably, its composition is also different from common probiotic supplements.
It has Clostridium and 00 strains.
Strains like Clostridium are natural to the human gut microbiome, but their amount decreases due to high blood glucose and insulin resistance.
Conversely, supplying these microbes through meals or medicine can reverse the cycle. This effect was thoroughly studied in a clinical trial whose results show that diabetic patients noticed 32.5% fewer glucose spikes with the Pendulum supplement.
Besides glucose management, its strains add to the gut microbiome and compensate for the bacterial loss due to disease and drugs.
As these are natural gut bacteria, you soon notice positive enhancements in your digestion, immunity, skin, mood, and metabolism.
However, these bacteria are highly temperature-sensitive and die without refrigeration. Hence, strict storage precautions are required to keep the strains viable.
- Reduce Glucose spikes
- Delayed-release capsules
- High priced
- No Lactobacillus benefits
Where to buy:
- You can get it from the Pendulum’s official website.
- Subscription options are also available for regular supply and price discounts.
3. Florajen Digestion High Potency – Best Probiotic for IBS and Diarrhea Treatment
CFU: 15 billion
Dosage: 1 pill daily (with or without food)
Probiotics Strains: (5 strains)
- Bifidobacterium (B. lactis HN019, B. longum Bl-05, B. lactis Bl-07)
- Lactobacillus (L. acidophilus LA-14, L. acidophilus NCFM)
Storage: Refrigerate for optimum results. Remains viable at room temperature only for 2 weeks.
Cost: $33.99- $37.98 for a pack of 30 capsules
GI issues may arise due to illness, antibiotic use, or food poisoning.
But the good news is that friendly bacteria can help you eliminate these symptoms, and Floragen high potency capsules effectively deliver these strains to your gut.
It has 3 Bifidobacterium and 2 Lactobacillus strains. Two Bifidobacterium bacteria are variants of the same species, B. lactis. And from the above discussion, we know this strain can improve bowel movements.
Hence, both variants join hands to improve diarrhea and bloating, whether it is caused by drug reactions, IBS, or indigestion.
Plus, L. acidophilus variants help with their anti-inflammatory powers. They produce antioxidants to heal the gut lining damaged by antibiotics and pathogens.
B. longum bacteria in these capsules are great immunity boosters and effectively reduce the chances of diarrhea recurrence.
- No allergens
- No artificial colors and preservatives
- High bacterial count
- Increased anti-inflammatory activities
- No prebiotics
Where to buy:
- You can find this supplement at local drug stores or online pharmacies like Amazon, Walgreens, or CVS.
4. Fem-Dophilus Advanced – An All-rounder Probiotics For Women
CFU: 10 billion
Dosage: 1 capsule daily
Probiotics Strains: (6 strains)
- Lactobacillus (L. crispatus LBV88, L. gasseri LBV150N, L. plantarum UALp-05, L. jensenii LBV116, L. rhamnosus LBV96)
- Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12
Form: HPMC enteric capsules
Certifications: IGEN Non-GMO certified
Jarrow is a famous name in the probiotics market. They produce both refrigerated and shelf-stable supplements. And among the cooled variants, Fem-Dophilus Advanced targets women’s health.
It is a 4-in-1 formula for women that supports digestive, vaginal, urinary, and immune health. Its strains can colonize the gut, urinary tract, and vagina. 5 of its 6 strains are Lactobacillus bacteria.
All these strains complement well with the natural vaginal microbiome. These bacteria produce mild acidic secretions like vaginal-friendly bacteria.
These secretions make vaginal mucus work like a disinfectant that kills invading microbes, preventing infections.
Besides that, L. plantarum enhances immunity against pathogens as well as antibiotic side effects.
It also helps cure gut issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and irregular bowel movement. Research proves that Bifidobacterium lactis can cure both constipation and diarrhea.
- Covers different aspects of women’s health
- Supports vaginal microbiome
- Upregulates bowel movements
- Relatively expensive than other female probiotics
- Lacks Prebiotics
Where to buy:
- You can get this product from Jarrow’s Official Website or their Amazon store.
5. Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily – Best Refrigerated Probiotics For Men
CFU: 30 billion
Dosage: Once daily with water or juice
- Lactobacillus (L. bulgaricus , L. brevis, L. casei, L. salivarius, L. paracasei, L. acidophilus, L. gasseri , L. plantarum , L. rhamnosus)
- Bifidobacterium (B. lactis, B. breve, B. infantis, B. bifidum, B. longum)
Prebiotics: Organic prebiotic blend (Resistant starch from potato tuber) and Acacia fiber
Certifications: non-GMO verified, NSF Gluten-free
Garden of Life, Dr. Formulated capsules filled with 14 variants of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. This variety makes it an ideal probiotic for men.
All these strains have anti-inflammatory properties and enhance gut microbiome, helping with indigestion and bowel movement.
But what makes them special for men’s health is their ability to enhance testosterone, sperm production, and energy levels.
BMC Journal states that L. plantarum supplementation increases sperm count, motility, and survival rates. Similar results were reported by L. paracasei in a randomized trial at the Department of Andrology, Piacenza, Italy.
Bifidobacteria are also said to help with erectile dysfunction.
All in all, this mix helps men stay free from gut discomfort, tiredness, and low libido. Gayle T, a verified user, said it helped her husband.
- Suitable for hypersensitive persons
- Immunity booster
- Enhances Testosterone production
- Some customers complain about shipping without a cold package
Where to buy:
- It is available from the Garden of Life Website and online marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.
Are refrigerated probiotics better?
Shelf-stable probiotics are better than refrigerated ones because they can withstand temperature fluctuations.
But if you buy a refrigerated probiotic, you can’t put them out of the fridge for longer, or it will die.
Plus, you would need to take special measures to keep the temperature-sensitive microbes viable to use the probiotics on the go. Otherwise, pills filled with microbial dead bodies won’t give you the benefits for which you spent money on them.
In contrast, shelf-stable probiotics contain bacteria that can withstand fluctuations and stay viable at room temperature (200-250C).
As a result, you can store these products with other medications in your pill box or put them in a refrigerator to maximize bacterial survival.
What are good probiotics that must be refrigerated?
The best-refrigerated probiotics are;
- Florajen Digestion High Potency
- Optibac Pregnancy Probiotics
- Fem-Dophilus Advanced
- Pendulum Glucose Control
- Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once-Daily Cooler
(Their complete microbial content and benefits are stated in the above reviews)
Can I travel with refrigerated probiotics?
Yes, you can travel with refrigerated probiotics, but special measures may be required depending on the stability of the strains.
Some strains are highly thermo-sensitive, so you must carry them in special containers with ice bars to maintain a stable low temperature.
Others, like many Optibac and Florajen probiotics, need refrigeration but can stay viable from 1-2 weeks at room temperature as well. Hence, they won’t lose efficacy if you take them on a short trip, even without special storage equipment.
What happens if refrigerated probiotics get warm?
If refrigerated probiotics get warm, they can lose potency as most bacteria die at high temperatures.
However, if the temperature is not too high, the microbes may survive many days, even when kept out of the fridge.