Probiotic brands are starting to boast larger and larger colony-forming-unit (CFU) counts. What does that mean and does it really matter?

Yes, CFU counts matter. But only to a certain degree. Elements like timing, survival rates, diversity of strains, and individual microbiota composition can all have an impact and the effectiveness of a probiotic’s CFU count.

What exactly is a CFU count?

CFUs reference an amount in microbiology that estimate the number of viable bacteria or fungal cells in a sample. Basically, a CFU is a unit of the good ‘bugs’ found in probiotics.

So how many CFUs do we really need?

CFU numbers on probiotic supplements can vary anywhere from several million to 50 billion. Researchers have concluded that an effective probiotic dosage for overall gut health is around 20 million CFUs per day. Probiotic variants with tens of billions of CFUs per serving are providing far more than necessary for general improved gut health. Most importantly, outrageous CFU counts may also imply that there’s a need to compensate for poor survival rates. We’ll never overcompensate—our strains are created to last.

Are all CFU counts created equal?

The simplest answer is no. Research has shown that probiotics that include a diverse range of strains, rather than the same throughout, are much more effective. Different probiotic strains excel for different reasons, so a diversified collection is ideal for overall health.

We’ve promised you we’ll always be transparent, so here’s a little secret. Those high CFU counts you sometimes see on store shelves? Not only are they likely full of dead probiotic strains, but they’re usually “generic” strains—meaning that they are sourced in bulk from the lowest bidder. And while generic ingredients might be okay for some products, it’s not ideal for one that you’re counting on to improve your way of life. The generic (or commodity) strains that are used in these mega-CFU products also aren’t backed by research. The truth of the matter is l.acidophilus isn’t the same as l.acidophilus NCFM—and certainly the effects on the human body can be very different.

Besides diversity, it’s also important to factor in survival rate. Tons of good bacteria isn’t helpful if most of them aren’t alive by the time they make it into your gut. That’s why Jetson only creates probiotics in small batches for every season. Jetson probiotics are encapsulated in proprietary capsules designed to resist stomach acid and break down once they reach your intestine.

Being small batch also means we ensure that all of our probiotics are fresh and don’t sit on a shelf for months at a time. We think you—and your gut—deserve the best. Heat, moisture, and light can all kill a probiotic’s active ‘bugs’, which is why it’s important to always store your Jetson or Jettie in a cool, dry place.

So how do we measure up?

Jettie and Jetson have well over 20 million CFUs of diverse, studied, and named strains—all with a good survival rate thanks to just-in-time production and best-in-class encapsulation.

Our probiotics are fresh, seasonal and backed by science. Click here (Jetson, Jettie) to read more about each product’s ingredients and their CFU counts.

Pick a probiotics program to start feeling great.

Get with the program.

Jetson Seasonal Probiotic and Jettie Probiotics & Prebiotics for Baby and Kids