The Complete Probiotics Glossary

The world of probiotics can be seriously overwhelming: so many options! So many claims! So many different brands, each promising something more than the next. What do all these words on the label mean, and how do you find a probiotic that works for you?

We’re here to help you decode the language of probiotics and help you make informed choices when it comes your digestive and immune health.* Learn about some of the most common words and concepts you’ll encounter in the probiotics world.


Bifidobacteria is a genus of good bacteria primarily found in the large intestine or colon. Certain strains of Bifidobacteria can help promote digestive balance.* Adults often experience a natural decline of Bifidobacteria as they age.*


CFU stands for “colony-forming unit,” or the number of live organisms in each serving. This can also be referred to as “active cultures.”


The colon is the largest part of the large intestine and is connected to the small intestine. It absorbs fluids and helps the body process waste for elimination.


Delayed-release capsules are often coated to help protect the active cultures inside from harsh stomach acid so they can make it to their final destination: the lower digestive tract.


Dietary fiber is a specific type of complex carbohydrate found only in plants. Certain fibers help support healthy elimination and aid in satiety, helping you to feel full, as well as mineral absorption.


Gut flora is another name for the microbiota living in your digestive tract.


GALT stands for Gastric Associated Lymphoid Tissue. It’s the immune tissue found in the digestive tract.

Gut Diversity

Gut diversity refers to the number of different bacterial strains and how evenly distributed they are in the microbiome. A balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria is ideal; probiotics can help keep it balanced.

Human Digestive Strains (HDS)

HDS probiotics are strains that were originally isolated from the natural human intestinal microbiota as opposed to being isolated from animals, plants, dairy, or soil sources.


Lactobacillus is a genus of good bacteria predominantly found in the small intestine. Certain strains of Lactobacillus can help maintain healthy function of the small intestine, support immune health, women’s health, and digestive balance.*


The microbiome is the collective genomes of the microorganisms that reside on and in your body. Four of the most important microbiomes are the oral, skin, gut, and vaginal microbiomes. The microbiome can have an impact on your digestive and immune health.*


Potency is measured in the number of CFUs per serving. For example, a 50 billion probiotic is more potent than a 30 billion.


Prebiotics are specialized fibers that help nourish the bacteria living within the digestive tract. They are the preferred food source for good probiotic bacteria.


Probiotics are living microorganisms (often called “good bacteria”) which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host. Probiotics can provide numerous health benefits, including digestive support and immune health.* They are most commonly found in foods like yogurt or taken via supplements.


Probiotics are identified by their strain name. For example, when you see the word La-14® with a string of letters and/or numbers behind it, that’s a specific strain.


A synbiotic is a mixture of probiotics and prebiotics that work together to provide a health benefit.

Targeted delivery

Targeted delivery probiotics have a special coating that helps them survive stomach acid and successfully make the journey to deliver live cultures to the small intestine and colon, where they’re needed most.


The TRU-ID symbol on probiotic packaging means that the brand has partnered with TRU-ID to ensure that the ingredients on the label are present in the product using DNA testing.

Want to know more about how probiotics can impact your digestive and immune health?* Visit our education center for wellness tips and more.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
**Extra strength compared to Fortify 30 billion probiotic formulas.
†† Based on an IQVIA ProVoice survey of Primary Care Physicians, HOWARU B. lactis HN019 is the Doctor preferred probiotic strain for Regularity as compared to other strains in leading Probiotic brands, 52-week sales MULO, ending 11/3/2019; December 2019.*