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Home » Digestive Health and Wellness » What You Should Be Looking for When Choosing Probiotics

The word probiotic is formed by the roots “pro” and “bio,” literally meaning “in support of life.” Probiotics are the good bacteria for your gut that can support bodily functions, including healthy digestion.

“The concept of probiotics came out of observations decades ago that, in some cases, consumption of certain beneficial microbes can result in improved health,” says Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., of Dairy & Food Culture Technologies, who’s an internationally recognized probiotic expert in the area of microbiology.

Healthy balance

One strain, Bifidobacterium 35624™, found commercially in the daily probiotic supplement Align 24/7 Digestive Support, helps relieve occasional digestive upsets, helps protect against digestive imbalance, and helps maintain healthy bowel function*.  

Align is made by Procter & Gamble (P&G) and can help fortify your digestive system with healthy bacteria*. This daily probiotic, which was developed by gastroenterologists, is backed by over 20 years of research.

With continued daily use, the Align probiotic can work around the clock to help soothe occasional bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort*. It’s gluten free, soy free, and vegetarian. You can take it any time of day or night, when it’s most convenient.

“It’s important to give your body time to adjust and then time for these bacteria to start having an influence in the body,” says Kyle Sloan, Pharm.D., senior scientist at P&G. “I definitely recommend giving it at least a month to test it out.”


There are many misconceptions about probiotics. For example, many consumers think all probiotics are the same. In fact, each strain offers a different benefit.

Another misconception is that taking more of a probiotic is better.

“An amount in excess of what was shown in studies to be beneficial is not needed,” says Dr. Sanders. “Use probiotics according to package directions.”

Choosing probiotics

Most probiotics can be purchased over the counter anywhere you shop, but there are many from which to choose.

Dr. Sanders, who has been working in the probiotic field for 30 years, says every product is different. She says consumers often ask, “Can a probiotic help me?”  While the field of probiotics is fairly young, research continues. Dr. Sanders says the more studies are done, the more confidence increases. That’s why she recommends choosing a probiotic that has been well-tested.

“Purchase products that have been studied in well-controlled human studies, so that there’s evidence that they can have a benefit for people,” she says, advising consumers to look at the research and talk to their doctor.

Align has been the No. 1 gastroenterologist recommended probiotic supplement in the country since 2008. ‡

“We hear from the consumers for whom it does work and they really become loyal users,” says Sloan. “I think that’s indicative of the value that they see in the product.”

*Among Gastroenterologists who recommended a brand of probiotic in a ProVoice 2008-2019 survey.  

This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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