The simple answer is, yes. Probiotic products do have an expiration date. By law, all probiotic supplements must have a clear expiration date noted on the packaging. This provides probiotic consumers with a better idea of its shelf life.
Do probiotics remain alive by the date of expiration? That’s where the plot twist lies. Sometimes, live probiotics die before the actual expiration date. As a result, the effectiveness of a probiotic supplement dies off with it.
All Probulin products have undergone real-time stability studies, so we have great confidence that when stored as directed, our probiotics should meet their potency claim until the “Best By” date listed on the package.
What’s the Shelf Life of Probiotics?
The average shelf life for Probulin Digestive Probiotics is two years. When you want to do a self-check of a supplement’s shelf life, simply look at the date that’s printed on the blister pack and the box.
Most probiotic supplements, at the very least, contain one of the two of the following probiotic strains: Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus. Both of these bacterial strains have different storage requirements and shelf lives. For instance, certain supplements don’t last long in environments with too much heat or light.
The way you store and handle your probiotic supplements can impact the length of its shelf life. The handling part begins when you leave the store. How you transport them from the store to your home even plays a role in its mortality rate.
Probulin probiotics are shelf-stable and do not require refrigeration. This is due to our scientifically formulated MAKTrek® 3-D Probiotic Delivery System which helps protect and nourish the probiotics so they arrive alive. We also ship our products “cold and protected” year-round in order to avoid temperature spikes during transit. Normal ambient temperatures are not of great concern for our products, but there is no harm to storing them in the refrigerator if you prefer.
When Exactly Do Probiotics Expire?
Probiotics are only effective when they arrive alive in your system. Thus, probiotic supplements worth taking should have between 10 – 20 Billion live bacteria in them. As the expiration date approaches, the amount of probiotics that are still alive may differ from the CFU (colony-forming units) count advertised on the back of the box. CFU indicates the number of live probiotics per dosage of a supplement.
Shelf stable probiotics, in particular, have an average shelf-life of two years. Supplements that lack this quality may only last for one year, according to the experts. All Probulin Digestive Probiotics are shelf stable, and can maintain potency from their date of manufacture to the end of their expiration date.
What Else Might Cause Probiotics to “Die Off”
Three big contributing factors to the survivability of probiotics are high heat, exposure to moisture, and stomach acid.
Exposure to heat unfortunately does decrease survival and variable temperature is also problematic. They prefer to survive in a rather constant environment. Moisture is another area that is difficult for probiotics. When they are in the form of powder in a capsule they are at rest and when moisture is introduced they become active. If they are not in the digestive system they will not be able to thrive properly and will expire. Keeping the probiotics cool and dry is key. This is particularly important for strains like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria which are two examples of the good bacteria commonly found in a probiotic supplement.
Both of these bacterial strains originated in the human intestines, which is an area of the body that is perfectly suitable for their ongoing survival being that it is at a constant temperature and set up for the bacteria to thrive.
Packaging and shipping methods make a big difference when it comes to the survivability of the probiotics. Probulin Digestive Probiotics are all packaged in special blister cards that block exposure to moisture and they are sealed air-tight to protect your supplements from exposure to moisture and excess oxygen.
Shipping methods are also very important. Making sure that probiotic supplements are shipped insulated on ice making sure they stay cool and protected is key to their survival. Even though they may be “Shelf-Stable”, which is considered room temperature, the shipping truck and transfer stations can reach very high heat temperatures that are much higher than “Room-Temperature”.
Protecting the probiotics this way will potentially further increase their viability and shelf life.
Once you take the probiotic supplement, High stomach acid levels may potentially lead to an early loss of live probiotics. The proper breakdown of foods we eat rely on the presence of high stomach acid. Although it gets the job done where food digestion is concerned, most microbes in the food don’t make it through the stomach acid alive. Probiotic supplements have a similar outcome.
After initial consumption of a probiotic supplement, the live bacteria must successfully pass through your stomach acid to reach its final destination: your gut. Most probiotic supplements have billions of probiotic colony-forming units, as the amount of live units decline once they get past the stomach acid. It is important that the probiotic supplement has a protective delivery system to ensure better survival
Are Expired Probiotics Harmful?
If you’ve accidentally consumed a batch of expired probiotics, don’t panic. Taking expired probiotics won’t kill you or make you sick, but dead probiotics are practically useless. You won’t experience the full benefits of probiotic supplements if most of the bacteria dies before consumption. It defeats the purpose of taking probiotics in the first place.
Dead probiotic bacteria wouldn’t be strong enough to hang onto your gut walls. The lack of live probiotics after consumption would also result in the good bacteria being outnumbered by the bad.
The Probulin Promise
Lab-tested probiotics guarantee that you’re getting what you pay for, which is live probiotics. You should avoid probiotic supplements that haven’t been lab-tested for this reason. Probulin Digestive Probiotics are third-party lab tested, further verifying that the billions of live bacteria listed on our ingredient labels are in fact alive.
Our MAKTrek 3-D Probiotic Delivery System is key in helping to ensure better survival of the probiotics you consume. This delivery system protects the probiotics from stomach acid, feeds them and hydrates them. Based on the research this delivery system helps ensure a larger survival rate of probiotic bacteria, providing even greater protection on their journey to your gut.
To learn more about Probulin digestive support formulas, check out our Probulin Probiotic favorites.