1. What are the differences between powdered probiotics and capsules?

The capsules contain the same freeze-dried probiotics as the powders. The powders allow you to use the amount you desire and are better suited for people who have trouble swallowing capsules. The capsules offer the convenience of a pre-measured dose. Individual preference is the determining factor in selecting which one is right for you.

2. How long should a baby take Life Start?

Life Start is the preferred, specially formulated probiotic for infants and toddlers up to the age of four. It can be used successfully by people of all ages who have a hyperactive immune system, or were born by Cesarean Section or were not breast-fed.

3. Why do the products need to be refrigerated?

Like all living creatures, probiotics need to be protected from harsh environments. Their life-spans are diminished by heat, light and moisture. Natren products are shipped in dark glass bottles with tin lids to protect them from harmful light and moisture. They are shipped in thermally controlled boxes to keep them cool and extend their lives so they have guaranteed potency through the printed expiration date. Without such care and a guarantee, you may be wasting your money.

4. How much is too much of a good thing?

Natren supplements are safe at any level. You can combine various products and increase the dosage until you achieve the desired results.

5. If a probiotic is cultured on goats' milk, is that dairy free because it doesn't come from cows?

Goats' milk is still considered a dairy product; however, some people with sensitive digestive systems find it easier to digest. If you are allergic to milk protein, please consult your healthcare practitioner before using a product containing goats' milk.

6. Do your products contain gluten?

All Natren probiotic supplements are free from gluten and gluten derivatives.

7. Why does Natren recommend the use of unchilled, filtered (chlorine-free) water with their products and not ordinary tap water?

Tap water often contains chlorine or fluoride with pesticide residues and other undesirable chemicals. Since chlorine and fluoride are used to destroy harmful bacteria, these chemicals will harm the beneficial bacteria as well, thereby diminishing the positive effects.

8. What is the ideal number of cfu to look for in probiotics?

Before you look at cfu, or colony forming units, you need to be sure you know what strains you are getting so you know if they are going to be effective. You can have many strains of bacteria in a product, but if they are not the right kind, they won't help you.

If you've identified the strain and it is clearly labeled, then you can turn your attention to the cfu. The minimum dose you should take is 1 billion cfu – it's the least amount of organisms needed to get a measurable effect. A therapeutic dose is around 10 billion cfu. Natren® has always listed potency of specific strains in cfu, when no other companies were doing that and the practice continues even today.

9. How long can probiotics stay un-refrigerated before they lose their potency?

There is no way to guarantee the potency of probiotics if they have been without refrigeration at any time. When probiotic products are shipped without refrigeration, they can be exposed to very high temperatures. Since probiotics are living organisms, you can be guaranteed of their potency only if they have been shipped and stored refrigerated. Natren products are refrigerated from manufacturing throughout the entire shipping process. This has always been Natren's standard when other companies have misrepresented the potency of their probiotic products by claiming they are shelf-stable; they conveniently don't mention that their products are not stable when exposed to harsh temperatures in the warehouse, shipping and distribution processes. If other companies cannot guarantee potency of each strain through a printed expiry date, how can you trust any of their claims?

10. What is the best way to protect probiotic bacteria from stomach acid?

The powder products are protected with the intrinsic supernatant, part of the original nourishing and protective culture medium, which provides a natural buffer against gastric acid.

The bacteria strains must be bile-resistant. All Natren probiotics have laboratory-tested bile-resistant strains which will survive bile salts.

11. What Natren Products Are Suitable for Vegans?

All of Natren's Dairy-Free POWDERS are Vegan; i.e. Mega Dophilus Dairy-Free and Bifido Factor Dairy-Free powders. Take 1 tsp. a day of each, up to three times a day for rapid results. Note: Digesta-Lac Dairy-Free is only available in Veggie-caps, not in powder form.

If you're not into taking powders, Natren also has a veggie cap system; so, any dairy-free powder in Veggie-Caps is suitable for Vegans. All the products referenced above are available in Veggie Caps. Note: Digesta-Lac Dairy-Free is only available in Veggie-caps, not in powder form.

Finally, for the Vegan guru who's serious about his/her probiotic health, Natren offers the Dairy-Free Healthy Start System in Veggie-Caps.

12. How often should I be taking Probiotics?

Note: This is Natasha Trenev's personal opinion and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with a medical doctor if you need more information.

"The dynamics of the internal 100 trillion microorganisms changes continually according to the following factors: genetic predisposition, aging, daily stress, consumption of antimicrobial substances including antibiotics, a poor diet that favors the growth of undesirable microorganisms, travel, microbes found in food, air, and water and daily elimination of waste. Up to 40% of dried weight fecal matter is bacteria thus a tremendous shift happens whenever we have a bowel movement. There are no other more compelling reasons to consume probiotic beneficial bacteria than the ones listed. I often tell people you like to eat and drink every day why wouldn't you want to positively influence the most important ecological factor for your health? I believe it is more important than diet and exercise...but that is my opinion based on 40 years of research in this field."