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3.5 out of 5 stars6
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on September 19, 2012
Anyone familiar with my reviews will know they are often long and educational. If you don't like long reviews, I suggest just reading the IN BRIEF part at the start.

>> IN BRIEF <<

With 15 years experience in the nutraceuticals industry, I believe Natren is the gold standard of probiotics. But if they are not being warehoused/stored, and shipped under refrigeration you can forget it. They are the most expensive, but you are guaranteed a high potency AT THE TIME OF EXPIRATION (so long as they were kept cold). Most other probiotics may in fact be dead on arrival, so no matter how cost effective they seem to be, it's a potential waste of money. Get Natren, but I'd suggest buying them direct from Natren or from a health food shop you can trust. Looking at some of the reviews here I can see some sellers (and the sellers on Amazon vary and change) have been shipping these out WITHOUT refrigeration. Bad move. Big waste of money, on what was otherwise one of the best probiotics available.

FIVE STARS - I am giving the product itself 5 stars, but with the warning that what you receive through Amazon Marketplace Sellers could potentially be worth ZERO STARS.
Read on to learn why...

>> THE LONG STORY... FOR THOSE WITH THE TIME AND INCLINATION TO READ MORE <<

I have approximately 20 years of experience with probiotics and nutraceuticals personally and about 15 years professionally. For 7 years I owned a company (that I started) which manufactured various natural health programs and they all incorporated probiotics. During the product/protocol development stage I did substantial research into most of the probiotics available in the English speaking world at that time. I was looking into having a probiotic formulation produced with our label on it, but after months of investigation I determined there was a lot of misinformation and corner cutting in the probiotic industry, and I was not sufficiently satisfied any probiotic raw material supplier would provide me with a product that lives up to its claim (most especially the minimum number of viable bacteria in each capsule).

It is my understanding the founder of Natren (Natasha Trenev) essentially invented the modern-day form of concentrated encapsulated probiotic supplements. They had (and perhaps it's still the case) the only product which guaranteed potency AT THE TIME OF EXPIRY. Most, if not all (I've not recently checked as extensively as I did in the past) probiotic products state a potency that is valid (in theory, as there is often no independent verification) at the time of production. By the time the product reaches you, the consumer, there is NO GUARANTEE of its potency. It might say "10 billion viable bacteria per capsule" on the label, but that actually tells the consumer nothing of real meaning. By the time you get it home there might not be ANY viable bacteria. None at all. The trick is, without expensive lab tests, there is really no way to tell.

Realising it was going to be exceedingly difficult to formulate and have manufactured a probiotic product that I could put my name and brand behind I dropped the idea of producing a probiotic product. My personal sense of integrity wouldn't allow me to produce a questionable product.

In the end, after more than a year of work on it, I came to the conclusion the only product I could safely recommend to customers using my natural health protocols was Natren.

>> A FUN TEST <<

One way you can at least test there is "some" viable bacteria (some, but not how many) is to empty a capsule into some warm milk and try making yoghurt (you'll need to follow standard yoghurt making procedures, such as keeping it form for 12+ hours). It's a fun and interesting experiment. You might be surprised to find some probiotics don't make yoghurt... which means they are dead.

>> NATREN PRODUCTS MUST BE COLD ALL THE TIME <<

A fundamental requirement with Natren products is they MUST BE KEPT UNDER REFRIGERATION at all times. They have to be transported, shelved, and stored under refrigeration. If you order then online and they are not shipped to you with an icepack or dry-ice, and they are not noticeably cold, send them back. This is one of the reasons Natren products are so expensive to start with... every step from production to consumption has to be under refrigeration (which greatly pushes up product costs).

>> ADVICE FOR BUYING ONLINE <<

The key is refrigeration. At all times.

Before buying this product from a Marketplace Seller on Amazon, I recommend contacting the Seller directly.
Ask them the following:

* Who supplies them their Natren product - (It should be coming directly from Natren to them. Natren will only ship to them product with icepacks/dryice. You can check with Natren if they use distributors in the USA, in which case the Marketplace Seller might also be getting it from a certified distributor)

* Enquire about how the product is handled once received - (It should be placed into refrigerators within hours of it being received, unpacked, and entered into stock)

* If the Marketplace Seller is fulfilling the order, enquire into their order fulfillment procedure. - They should say something along these lines... "It is taken out of refrigeration and packaged in a styrofoam box with dry-ice or icepacks." They should also know and understand that they can't ship it out on a Friday, and not on a Thursday unless it's overnight shipping. To test them, say something like, "I want to order on XXX [give the date of the next closest Thursday or Friday] and I want to know when I will receive it by because I am going away later the following week". They should tell you they can't ship it on Friday due to the chill-pack requirements, and can only ship it at the latest on Thursday with overnight delivery for that reasons. If they don't mention this, it's likely they aren't certified Natren retailers, because in my professional experience Natren goes to great lengths to educate their retailers).

* If Amazon is fulfilling the order (I don't see any Natren products fulfilled by Amazon as I write this, but that may change), contact Amazon directly and ask them similar questions.

You will notice I have not recommended questions that give the retailer the answers. If you say, "Is it kept refrigerated after you receive it into stock", it is obvious the answer you want is `yes', and that's likely what they will tell you. I think it is better to ask them to explain things themselves, and see if their answers match up to what I've shared here. If they don't seem to know what they are talking about, the chances are they don't.
The alternative is to go onto the Natren website, plug in your ZIP code, and find out where your closest Natren certified retailer is. It might cost you more than online, but if you're going to pay for gold, it's worth making sure you're not paying all that money for fool's gold, even if the fool's gold is cheaper it's not worth paying for.

>> ALL THIS TROUBLE ?? <<

Yes, it may seem like a lot of trouble to go to for a supplement. Look at the price on Natren's site. This is a VERY expensive probiotic. But it is one of the best, if not the best. But it's not worth the bottle it comes in if it has been hot at any time after it was produced. Probiotics are living organisms, and you want to make sure they stay that way until they reach your mouth. If money is not an issue, just buy direct from Natren and save yourself the trouble of trying to get them cheaper.

>> OTHER PRODUCTS? <<

There are MANY other probiotic products on the market these days. Many of them claim to have formulas that don't require refrigeration. Some of these claims may in fact be true. It is possible to produce probiotics that are stable at room temperature (although Natren use to claim it was not possible, and I am not sure if they still make that claim). But unless the product has a guaranteed potency at the time of expiry (and this has been independently verified, under GMP standards, etc.), I'd say it a hit or miss affair.

If you want to go with another brand, I would recommend at least buying (from a fridge in a health food store) a small bottle of Natren. Take that, see what it does. This should tell you what it's like to have a living probiotic supplement. Then try whatever other cheaper brands you are interested in, and determine whether it has the same effect.
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on July 26, 2012
The Megadophilus arrived on time, so there was no problem. Having said that, I think there is no real use for me taking them now as they arrived in the TX heat and were left outside by the mail man for I don't know how long. As it states on the bottle, the benefits are only guaranteed when kept refigerated, it amazes me that they are being shipped at all without proper cooling material. The little cooling bag that was included was just as hot as the TX outside.

I have even order specialty cottage cheese across the nation that needed to be kept cool, and the only way the seller would ship was with appropriate packing and air delivery. Makes sense, doesn't it.

So, I would not buy this product again from this supplier.
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on September 14, 2015
I've tried over 17 different Brands and i know every available Type of Probiotic by name. I never thought a one species formula would do any good but it works! this is the only brand that stopped a year long problem of lower intestine rumbling in the AM, and it worked in just 2 days. Yes 2 days!
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on June 22, 2014
I use Natren Dairy Free Megadophilus for my cats. It ensures that they digest their food properly and helps to keep them trim and active.
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on November 21, 2015
I am told it is among the best. I think it is working out fine but I really can't tell.
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on May 3, 2016
Did not come refrigerated
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