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Probiotics contain bacteria that need to be alive when you ingest them in order to colonize your gut. Some probiotic supplements can be refrigerated to prolong their lifespan, giving your supply of probiotics a longer shelf life. Other probiotics require refrigeration, potentially dying within a few hours of reaching room temperature.
At Mother Nutrient, we pack our probiotics count with up to 25% more probiotics to mitigate this issue. We always test our probiotics at the end of their shelf life to make sure they contain at least what the count shows or more.
Keeping your probiotics at the right temperature is simple enough at home, but what about when you are on the move?
Probiotic supplements are cultures of live bacteria. They consist of bacteria that can survive inside your gut and provide a number of important immune system functions within your body, protecting your gut from harmful bacteria and helping you digest food and absorb its nutrients.
Protecting your gut from harmful bacteria and supporting your immune system is vital to staying healthy when traveling. When you travel, your system is exposed to many unfamiliar bacteria and other germs, and so you are more susceptible to becoming sick if you don’t take care of your gut. Travel can also often be tiring or lead to a lack of sleep, running down your immune system and leaving it less able to fight off invading germs.
You might be wondering whether taking probiotics that require refrigeration with you when traveling is worth the hassle, especially if there are other options available. Many types of probiotic bacteria can survive being freeze-dried, giving supplements a much longer shelf life without refrigeration. Freeze-dried probiotics are just as effective as live variants, so they can make life simpler when traveling.1 However, not all probiotics can be freeze-dried without killing the bacteria, so start by searching for freeze-dried supplements for the probiotics you already take.
Some probiotics are less sensitive to temperature than others, so you could always try switching to a different probiotic that is more survivable. If you take this approach, it is a good idea to make the switch at least a few weeks in advance of traveling. A change in probiotic regimen can have side effects or cause digestive upset, and you don’t want these to take you by surprise when you are a few days into your travels.
Look for probiotics being sold as travel products. These are usually formatted to survive hotter climates and do not require refrigeration.
A well-insulated container such as a cooler box can maintain a consistent internal temperature for several hours or more. Depending on the length of your journey, this could be long enough to preserve your probiotics. Don’t put ice packs in the container to keep it cold. Freezing your probiotics can kill the bacteria, and they also produce a lot of moisture as condensation. If your probiotics are not fully sealed, this could damage them too.2
Once your supplement bottle has been opened, it will likely allow a small amount of moisture inside in a humid environment. Keep the package inside a sealed plastic container and avoid taking it outside unnecessarily and exposing it to the moisture in the air. Most supplement packaging advises against storing probiotics in a bathroom cabinet due to the humidity, and the same rule should apply when you travel. It might be a bad idea to keep your supplements with your toiletries, as accidentally taking them with you when you shower might damage them.
Probiotics supplements come in a sealed bottle or package designed to protect from heat, humidity, and UV rays. Moving them to a new container for convenience or to keep them cool is likely to shorten their shelf life.
Probiotics can help protect you from harmful bacteria, but so can avoiding unnecessary risks. The most common way people get sick when traveling is from contaminated water.3 Besides sticking to bottled drinks, remember that there are other ways that contaminated water could make it into your system, such as the ice in your drink, the water your salad was washed with, and the water you shower in. You can’t fully avoid all of these, which is why it is a good idea to take probiotics when traveling.
Travelling can make maintaining your probiotic regimen more difficult. However, traveling also makes it more important as traveling exposes us to all kinds of unfamiliar germs and bacteria, making it a critical time to stay on top of your gut health.
Interested in increasing your gut health and living a healthier lifestyle? Mother Nutrient Probiotics are some of the best-formulated probiotics on the market.
At Mother Nutrient we offer a variety of probiotics, depending on the need, we offer strains for infants and children, as well as for breastfeeding mothers.