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.
(References available upon request.)
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