Guide to Common Probiotic Terms

Get familiar with these common probiotic terms and what they mean so you can read a probiotic label without hesitation.

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?

We're here to empower you to better understand some common terms shown on probiotic labels so you can make informed choices when it comes to your health and can determine what probiotic is best for you.


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 greatest part of the large intestine and is connected to the upper small intestine. It's a key part of the digestive system, absorbing fluids and helping the body process waste for elimination.

Delayed-Release (also referred to as Targeted Release or Targeted Delivery)

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, where they’re needed.


Dietary fiber is a specific type of complex carbohydrate found only in plants. Certain fibers help promote healthy elimination and aid in satiety, helping you to feel full, as well as support 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 genus and species that make up your gut flora and how evenly distributed they are in the microbiome; probiotics can help keep gut flora balanced.*


Lactobacillus is a genus of good bacteria predominantly found in the small intestine. Certain strains of Lactobacilli 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 microbiomes can have an impact on your digestive and immune health.*


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


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


Probiotics are living microorganisms (often called “good bacteria”) which when administered in adequate amounts may 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 fermented 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 type of strain.

Synbiotics or Symbiotics

Synbiotics are a mixture of specific probiotics and prebiotics that have been shown to work together to provide a health benefit.