CFU is an acronym (type of abbreviation) commonly seen on products containing probiotics. It stands for "colony forming unit" and is a measurement of the good bacteria and yeasts inside.
A colony forming unit is a bacteria or yeast that is capable of living and reproducing to form a group of the same bacteria or yeasts.
Microbiologists use CFU to describe the number of active, live organisms instead of the number of all the bacteria - dead, inactive and alive - in a laboratory sample. Only the viable organisms are considered to be probiotics. "Viable" means that the microbes are capable of living under the proper circumstances.
You may also see it listed as CFUs - colony forming units. Most
probiotic supplements in capsule or tablet form will state the number of
colony forming units in the capsule or tablet. Or, if more than one
capsule or tablet is the recommended serving size, then the colony
forming units listed may be the total in the serving size. The only way
to know for sure is to read the package.
packaged, most powder probiotic supplements will have a recommended
serving size listed and then the colony forming units in that serving
size. For example, 1/4 teaspoon may contain 100 billion CFU. Taking a
consistent amount of 25 billion, as one-sixteenth of a teaspoon, may be difficult.
Another way the information may be presented is CFU/g or /ml, meaning colony forming unit per unit of measure, or how many capable-of-living microbes are in a certain measurement. In these cases, you must look at the serving size in g (grams for a solid) or ml (milliliters for a liquid) and perform a mathematics equation. Multiply the colony forming units per gram or per milliliter by the number of grams or milliliters in the serving size to get the total number of colony forming units.
If the CFU/g is given, but no indication of how many grams are in a serving size (not just how many capsules), then the CFU/g information is useless.
Please, DO NOT copy any content on this website. I provide original, informative content for my readers and you should do the same.
If not provided, references are available upon request.
Thanks for visiting this site! If you've enjoyed reading this page or have found the information to be useful to you, please "like", tweet about it, or share it so others can benefit, too.
Sometimes Facebook takes a few seconds for Facebook commenting to load on mobile devices OR Facebook temporarily does not allow comments on a page. If this happens to you, I apologize in advance. Waiting a few seconds or commenting on other pages may work just fine. Thanks for your understanding!
Comment with Disqus (including as a guest), Twitter or Google accounts:
If you are one of my many readers without a Facebook account, you can still comment.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is educational in nature and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any physical or mental disease, nor is it intended as a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with your doctor regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
Subscribe to my monthly newsletter with news you can use to transform your health!
Get some help with weight loss and using cultured foods and drinks with my free report: "A Shocking Meal Plan for Weight Loss" when you sign up for my monthly newsletter, "Nutritionist Notes."
With Nutritionist Notes, you'll receive a monthly newsletter devoted to all aspects of health, including probiotics, written by me, a nutritionist, in an easy-to-read format. Sign up now!