Pros: Concept is good, free of common allergens.
Cons: Pricey, not enough billions (units) of good bacteria, ineffective, not enough strains of bacteria.
I'm always on the hunt for the perfect probiotic and I'll test and try out different brands, but so far this ISN'T the one for me. I knew I probably shouldn't have bought it, but the price on Vitacost.com was enticing and so are the reviews. But for someone who needs a really strong probiotic, this just doesn't do much for me.
This probiotic has only two strains of good bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. A really good probiotic for someone like me would need 8 billion up to 60 billion bacteria (called CFU's) per day. This probiotic has only 1 billion per pearl (a serving per day). I have taken everything from 1 billion (and less) up to 60 billion. Right now, the best probiotic I take has 14 billion and 8 different strains of good bacteria. So for the "average" person in good health, this may work for them, but for someone who needs probiotics for after they take antibiotics, or fungal infections/candida (or to balance yeast throughout the body), gut health/good immune health and so on, this may not work as well. I'm not sure why they couldn't add a few more strains of beneficial bacteria and make the pearls slightly larger (so it would add a few more billion good bacteria per pearl).
Personally, my gut feels nothing different with only 1 billion good bacteria per pearl. The upsides are that the pearls are small and easy to swallow. But they are so small, they are hard to hold between the fingers and they slip out onto the floor and I lose them easily (almost too small). They are also packaged in a package where you puncture the foil and pop out the probiotic pearl daily as needed. The good thing is you do not need to refrigerate them like some other brands. When I have to refrigerate my probiotics, I somehow forget to take them (plus you have to keep air/moisture out of them) and these are basically non-worrisome. But, then again, what good are they if they don't work? Another upside is that these ones are free of yeast, dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, corn, artifical preservatives and flavoring. So they are free of common food allergens, and a lot of times I can't find probiotics that are free of some simple allergens (a lot of times probiotics are cultured in milk- and for dairy-free folk, this can cause a problem). I also love that they have no sugar, or artificial sweeteners- I also notice a lot of probiotics on the market will add those things to sort of "flavor" the probiotic, sort of counter-acting the point of the probiotic in the first place.
I also feel a good probiotic would have pre-biotics in them, a sort of food to the bacteria to help it multiply in the gut. This does not have any pre-biotics in it. I will say that normally, I do love the Enzymatic Therapy brand, I find it's a pretty good brand overall.
These pearls are to be swallowed (not chewed) and the whole point of the "pearl" is not only to keep them fresh and allow you to not refrigerate them, but they are supposed to travel deep into the intestines past the stomach acid and therefore have a better survival rate. When I take these, I think that the coating over the probiotic is so great that I don't even actually digest them at all or just a little bit. So they just don't work for me well.
Vitacost sells them (a 90 day supply) for $21.88, and I see them in nutrition and vitamin stores for around $30 and $35 (so they are also pretty pricey). I am the odd-man out, I will say that these normally have great reviews, but I just notice no improvements in my health or gut health with these, and so therefore are just a waste of my money and time.