I use probiotics exclusively right now, I have insurance issues right now so I don't take meds. And what I have noticed about them, is that they really do work. It is overwhelming trying to find one that works, because there are so many and they all claim to be the best one available.
I've tried a lot of different kinds. Primal defense is the only soil based probiotic I've tried. It didn't do anything for me. But all the other kinds have worked. So far I've used a generic walgreens brand, dr ohhira's, prodophilus, align, culterelle, florafiber, and dr murray's probiotics. They all have worked to varying degrees, but for me dr murray's brand has worked the best, I take 4 a day. None of them have worked 100%, but I've been able to keep a mostly normal life with them.
The walgreens brand worked pretty well, but eventually it seemed that I had to keep taking more and more to get it to work, same with culturelle. dr ohhira's didn't seem to have the cfu's to work well, I started out taking 14 a day of them, which worked, but as I reduced the amount, it wasn't as effective. And it's too expensive to take that many a day for long. Prodophilus was about the same. Align seemed to help urgency, but not flares. Florafiber bulked up my stool, but that was about it, though it increased urgency. And they seem to wear off throughout the day, whereas dr murray's has worked all the way through. I still go 5-7 times a day, but the pain/inflammation is gone, with a couple times in the day where it starts up, and then goes away.
There also seems to be a discussion about FOS, which supposedly helps the strains work better. I personally think they help, although they are long or short chain sugars, which some say makes uc worse. So maybe it works for some and not for others, dr ohhiras, prodophilus, and dr murray's all have FOS in them.
I refrigerate them, even if they say they don't need to be. I think that even the one's that claim they can be stored at room temps lose their potency over time, and refrigeration eliminates the possibility. Dr Ohhira's claimed to not need to be refrigerated because of a 3 year fermentation process it goes through, and I never refrigerated it, and it still seemed to work so maybe fermentation is what helps them survive at above chilled temps. And it said that because of that, the strains may have different amounts and kinds in it after fermentation, so that may be true about the bacteria competing with each other, I don't know to what degree it affects their quality though.
And the Dr Murray's kind has GMP certification, I never heard of that until I saw that on the bottle, and I assume that's important. So those are my thoughts on probiotics, I live by them and I'm gettin' by :) Here's the link to Dr Murray's brand from the site where I buy it from: