Nancy Dell: Should you refrigerate probiotics?

Keep them in their original container

Do probiotics need refrigeration? I see some are and some are not.
     –Gary, Internet

Many probiotic bacteria need refrigeration because they are sensitive to heat and humidity. The heat can kill probiotics and the humidity can activate them inside the pills. Then they die because they don’t have any food to eat inside the pill. They normally eat the fibers in your intestines that come from the food you eat.

In 2009, a study by found 85% of probiotic supplements did not have the number of bacteria claimed on the label mainly due to improper storage by the company that made them or shipped them. Fortunately, the shipping and handling of probiotics has improved, but if you order a probiotic that needs refrigeration, be sure the retailer has kept it cold.

Then, have it shipped overnight or with an ice pack if the package will travel anywhere the weather is warm. If this is too much of a hassle, get probiotics that are freeze dried. They do not need refrigeration and often they are also protected from the humidity because they are individually wrapped in blister packs.

Once you get the probiotics in your home, how do you store them?

To be safe and simple, refrigerate your probiotics until you use them.  Keep them in their original container and do not put them in your pill box for the week.