BY BENJAMIN MAKEHAM September 2, 2020
When you think about probiotics, it’s likely you still think about a jar that’s kept in the fridge. For years, we’ve been told that in order for the beneficial bacteria to stay alive, they need to keep cold. However, this approach to probiotic stability is outdated and we’ve rethought what it means to keep probiotic bacteria alive. With the right kind of packaging, we can now safely bring probiotics out of the fridge and onto the shelf - and we’ve done just that.
It is true that heat is one of the biggest killers of probiotics, so they were often always recommended to be kept in the fridge. However, refrigeration is far beyond what probiotics really need to stay alive. Ambient room temperatures do not pose a threat to probiotic bacteria, and they can sit comfortably on most shelves (especially in temperature controlled stores and homes).
Recommendations to keep them cold have created a lot of fear around accidentally leaving them out of the fridge for too long, such as when travelling home from the shops. This not only makes them highly inconvenient supplements, but also creates a lot of unnecessary worry and waste. Have you ever thrown out a bottle of probiotics after coming home to find them left on the kitchen bench for a whole day? Many people needlessly have.
Probiotics are a lot tougher than we think, and as long as the temperature is cool enough for a block of chocolate to hold its shape, it’s fine for probiotics.
Keeping moisture away from probiotic bacteria is far more important than keeping them chilly- this means they need to be protected from moisture naturally found in the air.
Probiotic supplements are freeze-dried powders which have had all moisture removed from them. The lack of water keeps them in a state of dormancy, like a hibernation where the probiotic bacteria are able to stay alive for up to two years outside of their ideal environment (the gut).
In order to keep them dormant, packaging needs to stop moisture from entering their environment for as long as possible. If they’re exposed to moisture while still on the shelf and not in your gut, the bacteria will reactivate before dying because they’re in an environment that doesn’t allow them to stay alive.
Jars are the most common packaging used for probiotics, but once the lid has been opened, all of the moisture from the air enters the jar! In-built desiccants can help to solve this problem by absorbing moisture, but we’d prefer to avoid the problem in the first place...
Pharmaceutical grade aluminium blister packs create microenvironments for each individual probiotic capsule, keeping moisture out right up until the moment the blister is popped and the single capsule inside is taken! For powders, individual stick sachets can provide the same level of protection.
This is the packaging we use, because it provides the best level of protection for probiotics and keeps them alive on the shelf.
The next time you’re wondering about the legitimacy of fridge free probiotics, rest assured that our probiotics can sit safely on the shelf for up to two years. In fact, we guarantee it- it’s our Live Probiotic Promise™.