|Nothing to do with probiotics, but it’s a cute photo|
I usually purchase my Probiotics either online or from my DAN doctors rather than off-the-shelf in Malaysian pharmacies. Firstly, because I’m looking for casein-free Probiotics, nearly all probiotics commonly found are cultured on dairy. As our kids are on casein-free diet, we need to ensure our Probiotics are also casein-free. Unless stated otherwise on the label, the probiotic would have been cultured on dairy, thus it is not GFCF compliant.
I also use high-potency Probiotics, the ones usually available in Malaysia are only 5 Billion CFUs per capsule, occasionally you can find 10 Billion CFUs. I usually give my girls 25-50 Billion CFUs of multi-strain probiotics daily. However for post-antibiotic treatment, I would give 100 Billion CFU daily for at least 2 weeks. Trusted brands like Klaire Labs, Kirkman’s, Custom Probiotics, New Beginnings and a few select others carry several different types of casein-free probiotic formulations ranging from 20 Billion CFU per capsule to even 100 Billion CFU per capsule.
Some parents look for liquid Probiotics, preferring the liquid forms over capsule forms. I don’t know of any liquid casein-free Probiotics so far nor where to find them. There are several pediatricians in KL who carry liquid Probiotics (cultured on dairy), so please check with your doctors or in certain major private hospitals. Personally I have never used them as I find that the CFUs are quite low. Secondly, I find that opening a capsule of probioitics and mixing it into water, juice, rice milk or any other type of liquid is very easy. Most Probiotics dissolve easily into liquid anyway, so to me the search for a liquid probiotic isn’t a priority.
Apart from the high potency and casein-free formulation of these expensive Probiotics, one of the main reasons why I would only buy refrigerated Probiotics and never any stored on the normal shelves is that the live cultures are either half-dead or completely dead by the time we consume them. They’ve been sitting in hot warehouses and in store shelves for a few months before perhaps. So, check the manufacturing date of everything before we buy. Personally, I wouldn’t waste my money on unrefrigerated probiotics, regardless of what the charming sales person says.
You can purchase different brands of casein-free Probiotics online, most popularly from www.spectrumsupplements.com, www.iherb.com and www.b2bdiet.com.sg. Also, check on the KL Biomed forum regularly as many parents also buy extra whenever they purchase supplements. Many of our amazing super parents are kind enough to sell a bottle of their precious stock to another parent in need. All you need to do is ask. In Malaysia, you can find Klaire Labs Probiotics at Dr Eddie Chan’s clinic in Puchong. See here for his contact details http://mayaviktoria.blogspot.com/2010/05/dan-doctors-in-malaysia.html. In Singapore, Dr Erwin Kay www.kcsmed.org stocks Klaire Labs, Kirkmans, Culturelle and several other brands. In Jakarta, you can buy Kirkman’s and Klaire Labs probiotics from Kedai Radita, please contact them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. In Bangkok please contact TRIA Intergrative Wellness at http://www.triaintegrativewellness.com/ an affiliate of Piyavate Hospital. In Hong Kong, you can visit Little Giant www.littlegianthk.com. Please refer to this previous posting on the many types of Probiotics available, though bear in mind that since then I have tried other different brands too as it is recommended to rotate our probiotics http://mayaviktoria.blogspot.com/2010/02/which-probiotic.html
When purchasing probiotics online or from overseas, the cost of shipping is a great concern. The cost of shipping Probiotics when buying online will vary according to weight, which courier company they use and volume of course. For these packages, courier companies usually charge for a minimum of 0.5kg per package. So the cost of delivery for 1 bottle of probiotics is probably the same even when you include 5 other supplements included in that package. Probiotics must be shipped with ice packs and using the faster delivery option, usually 3 working days for good reason. With our tropical climate, many worry that by the time we receive the package, the probiotics would have been exposed to high heat and is no longer viable.
These probiotics specialist companies usually provide higher amounts of CFUs than stated on the label, this is the contingency plan for shipping and handling. They guarantee the amount of potency as stated on the label upon arrival of the shipment within normal circumstances. Even if exposed to high heat during shipping, any deterioration is still acceptable because there’s leeway for it. So I would still accept the Probiotics as I assumed it came with an ice pack originally but then it has melted by the time it arrived to my doorstep.
I have ordered probiotics from the USA as well as Singapore, it takes 3-4 days from the US to reach me, and 1-2 days from Singapore. Ice packs are included upon shipping, however by the time the package arrives to me, the ice pack is usually melted and the probiotics aren’t cool anymore. To me, it’s still fresh and acceptable as it was probably only warm for 1.5 days judging on how fast the ice pack melted. However, if no ice pack was included, then please contact the shipper.
One of my shipments for S.Boulardii from a supplier accidentally did not contain any ice packs when they packaged it, when I contacted the company they apologized and gave me a discount. I was still happy with the products and I could still see that the antifungal properties were working on me and my girls. Leaving S.Boulardii unrefrigerated for 2 days even in our weather is not a big deal.
Take note that Culturelle is usually shipped without ice packs. However the capsules are in special foils and the manufacturer guarantee freshness, though it is recommended to store it in the refrigerator upon receiving it. New Beginnings Probiotics are also shipped without ice pack, but also recommended to be stored in the fridge once received.
When I met the Klaire Labs guys in the US, they personally showed and explained to me a chart/graph and heat/temperature study of viability and potency of their probioitics. I explained about 3-4 day shipping and high heat and humidity to Malaysia, the study s
hows they guarantee the stated potency and showed how the potency decreases over time. They also ship to hot climates like Arizona, Hawaii and Middle East. If exposed to normal high heat of 30-35C for up to 2 weeks, they still guarantee the freshness and potency of the cfu stated on the label. It starts to decrease by 2-5% the next 2 weeks if exposed to high heat. But if continually exposed to high temp for 2 months, then efficacy decreases by at least 50%. I believe that these probiotics I order are from companies that have the highest standard in manufacturing and handling too.
|Christmas Carols in Sydney|
For many of us biomed parents, budget is always a concern. And we’re always trying to find ways to minimize cost. However, I highly recommend buying the best probiotics you can afford. I’d rather buy cheaper Vitamin C, but I would splurge on probiotics. Though at face value, locally found probiotics are cheaper by the bottle, imagine trying to do 50 Billion CFU per day on locally sourced probiotics. You’d end up swallowing 10 capsules a day. Cost wise, 1 bottle will only last you a few days. So, locally available probiotics may seem cheaper, but please consider the potency per capsule and calculate the dosage on how much is needed. You may think that the cost of specially imported Probiotics seems expensive, but in the long run, it may be more cost effective plus more effective treatment wise overall. And since many of our kids have issues with casein and dairy, there’s no point doing the casein-free diet but you still feed them probiotics cultured on dairy everyday, kinda defeats the purpose really.
A lovely friend SY has shared on how to do a viability test to check if your probiotics are still fresh and ‘live’. She recommends opening a capsule of probiotics and mixing it into a small amount of milk or rice milk. Place the container in a warm place and leave it for a while. If you find it turns solid, lumpy or custardy, then it means the good bacterias are still alive. Apparently this only works on probiotics that contains acidophilus or strep strains. So, get the best probiotics you can find. Don’t worry if the probiotics you received are warm upon delivery so long as there was an ice pack in it. And so long as it was by express courier. At the very least, you can always do the viability test. Who knows, it might taste yummy with a bit of honey, vanilla and fruit, yumm….. Happy 2011 everyone!