Let's start by unraveling the significance of CFU, an abbreviation for Colony Forming Units. It serves as a metric to gauge the number of viable probiotics in a product. Essentially, CFU measures the quantity of bacterial cells capable of replicating and forming colonies of beneficial bacteria, signifying the potency of the probiotics.
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics defines "probiotics" as "live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."  This means that for live microorganisms in fermented foods to be truly beneficial, they need to meet two criteria: first, they must belong to a beneficial species of microorganism, and second, they must contain a sufficient quantity to positively impact your health.
However, the International Probiotic Association highlights that fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and kefir, while containing live microorganisms, often lack the necessary evidence to be classified as probiotics. Their health effects remain unconfirmed, and the microbial mixtures can be largely uncharacterised .
This is where Kultured Wellness Culture Starters shine. They are meticulously cultured with evidence-backed probiotic species and have shown through testing to maintain a high CFU count between 27-41 billion depending on which food medium used. In contrast, typical supermarket brand fermented foods have limited or unspecified bacterial species and CFU counts, which means they won’t have the same therapeutic effect on your health.
Wild vs. Cultured Ferments
Now, let's address the question: "Why can you only make up to 5 batches with Kultured Wellness Culture Starters?"
With your newfound knowledge of CFU and the importance of beneficial species in our cultures, here's the answer: Our cultures, as demonstrated through testing, maintain their high CFU count and exclusive beneficial species for up to 5 batches. Beyond that, the bacterial species can change, or the CFU count may diminish.
When you ferment without a culture starter, you're engaging in a wild ferment. Wild ferments are colonised by whatever bacteria are present in the immediate environment, offering no control over the species of bacteria or yeast involved . Many wild ferments contain high levels of opportunistic yeasts, which can pose issues for individuals with pre-existing gut concerns or when consumed excessively. Furthermore, wild ferments have an unknown CFU count, making it uncertain whether you're getting enough probiotics for them to be beneficial.
Beware of products that tout 'x' CFU at the time of manufacturing, as this figure doesn't ensure a consistent CFU level throughout its shelf life, often lacking testing to verify CFU at consumption.
The Kultured Wellness Culture Starter Guarantee
Our Culture Starters are classified as therapeutic-grade probiotics, boasting a probiotic count known to initiate positive changes in your gut. In contrast, many store-bought or wild fermented foods lack the probiotic strength needed to support your gut effectively. Therefore, making ferments at home using our Culture Starters is not only more therapeutic but also results in the development of a diverse and resilient gut microbiome, all while being cost-effective.
Want to read about the exclusive species in the Kultured Wellness Culture Starters? Check out our Culture Page HERE.
- Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G, Gibson GR, Merenstein DJ, Pot B, et al. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;11:506-14. [PubMed abstract]
- International Probiotics Association. Probiotic Supplements: What is an Adequate Dosage? May 25, 2021
- Dimidi, E., Cox, S. R., Rossi, M., & Whelan, K. (2019). Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients, 11(8), 1806. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081806