Do All Probiotics Need to Be Refrigerated?
Probiotics have become an indispensable part of many people’s diets because of their countless health benefits. Though, a lot of probiotics users are unsure of how to store them correctly.
Some still wonder, do all probiotics need to be refrigerated?
The answer is no. Some probiotics need refrigeration, whereas others can be stored at room temperature. In either case, you need to ensure that you’re storing your probiotics in a proper environment.
This science-backed guide will share with you all you need to know about probiotics storage.
What Factors Impact Probiotics’ Effectiveness and Shelf Life?
Three factors impact probiotics the most: heat, humidity, and manufacturing date. Let’s discuss each one in detail.
When probiotics are exposed to higher temperatures, their effectiveness deteriorates notably.
Most probiotic strings will begin to lose their effectiveness when they reach a temperature of 70 °F or above. Worse still, a temperature of 115 °F or above can eradicate them.
You should also pay close attention to the humidity of the environment where you store your probiotics.
An increase in the humidity of the storage place can decrease probiotics’ effectiveness. That’s because when freeze-dried probiotics are exposed to moisture, they reactivate. By reactivating them, the product life span considerably decreases.
The ideal environment for probiotics is a place with a humidity level of 20% or below. In fact, it’s recommended to keep probiotics away from environments that have a humidity level of 50% or above, as this level of moisture can completely destroy the probiotics.
The manufacturing date of the probiotics can be a good indicator of the product’s effectiveness.
A far-off manufacturing date indicates that the product has been stored for a long time. This long storage duration will likely include transferring the product from one place to another.
As a result, the product might have been exposed to incorrect storage conditions that decreased its effectiveness.
Although this isn’t always true, try to pick the products with a more recent manufacturing date to be on the safe side.
How to Tell Whether You Should Refrigerate Your Probiotics Product?
Whether a product requires refrigeration depends on the type of probiotic strain that forms the product. That’s because each strain has a different sensitivity level to heat and moisture.
If the product contains live probiotics, it needs to be refrigerated. Conversely, if it includes dried-freeze probiotics, you can store it on the shelf with no problem.
That being said, you don’t need to study each product you purchase and determine the type of probiotics it contains. Instead, there are two simple ways to tell whether you need to refrigerate your product.
Check the Product Label
Most manufacturers include information about required storage conditions on the product label. They specify whether the product is shelf-stable or needs to be refrigerated.
However, if you don’t find any storage instructions on the label, the product is shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration.
Look at In-Store Storage Condition
Another sign you should consider is the product’s storage condition in the store. If the product had been stored in the refrigerator before you bought it, then that’s the optimal storage condition for it.
Similarly, if you ordered the product online and it comes in an iced pack or a bag with thermal insulation, the product probably requires refrigerating.
In case none of the two conditions above applies to the product you purchased, the product is shelf-stable and doesn’t require refrigeration.
How to Store Probiotics to Maximize Their Shelf Life?
Whether or not your probiotics products need refrigeration, you should follow safe storage instructions to maximize their shelf life.
This is vital to get the most benefits from them as improperly stored probiotics gradually lose their effectiveness.
First off, you have to read the manufacturer’s storage instructions carefully and adhere to them. Then, follow these steps for ideal storage:
Store Them in a Cool and Dry Place
Place your probiotics in a cool and dry place away from any source of heat or moisture. Ideally, place them in a closed pantry or cupboard.
Further, ensure the lid of the product’s pack is firmly closed after each use.
Keep Them in Their Original Pack
Keep probiotics that come in blister packs in their original package. Don’t transfer them to another container.
These blister packs provide better protection for probiotics from humidity in the heat than any other container. That way, they maximize the shelf life of the probiotics.
Place Refrigerated Probiotics in a Stable Temperature
When storing your probiotics in the refrigerator, place them in a spot with a stable temperature. This is to avoid any decrease in their effectiveness.
Keep them far from the refrigerator door, as this place has the most fluctuating temperature.
You can find more information on other interesting topics on our other pages like can Uncrustables be refrigerated? , Can Warmed Cow Milk Be Refrigerated Again? and Do Apple Pies Need To Be Refrigerated?
Do all probiotics need to be refrigerated? No, you don’t have to refrigerate all probiotics. Some are shelf-stable and don’t require storage at sub-zero temperatures.
Nonetheless, you need to keep all probiotics away from high humidity and heat to conserve their effectiveness. Finally, read the manufacturer’s storage instructions and follow them closely.