We do not ship probiotics with an ice pack unless product will be exposed to very high temperatures (above 104 degree F) and is requested by the customer, or purchased separately. Shipping with an ice pack is always an option for customers, so that you may optimize the potency of the product during shipping or handling.
During the summer months or very hot weather, we recommend purchasing an ice pack with your probiotic or expedite the shipping to account for any time during mailing that may be at very high temperatures. The ice packs will almost always arrive melted, which is not a concern, as the ice packs have done their part by extending the colder temperature during shipping. However, ice packs are not a mandatory part of our shipping procedure as the probiotics are rarely at these high temperatures for a extended period of time.
Long-Term Stability and Expiration: All of our ProBiota products have been freeze-dried to extend the products shelf life. Our products are freeze dried according to strict guidelines, and undergo routine survival studies to ensure viability after freeze-drying.
Cold Temperatures: We recommend refrigerating the ProBiota products to ensure maximum potency and shelf life. However, freezing temperatures should not be a problem for our probiotics. Our raw material suppliers store probiotics material at -4 degrees F to help preserve their stability until time to ship to finished product manufacturing facilities. The majority of our probiotics are manufactured for cold chain distribution which means they are held in 39 - 46 degrees F until time to test and throughout distribution. A colder temperature should only help to preserve the probiotic viability in a finished product.
Warm Temperatures: We recommend refrigerating the ProBiota products to ensure maximum potency and shelf life, however the ProBiota products may be left at room temperature for days and even weeks without a great loss of viable organisms. If kept at average room temperature, ProBiota products will remain potent for 4 - 6 months. At higher temperatures (86 F), they will maintain potency for 1 - 2 months.
More specifically, long term testing with our products over two years while stored at 39, 73, and 86 degrees Fahrenheit has been completed. At 73 degrees the ProBiota products began to have a loss of colony counts after one to two months depending on the strain. While these products should not be subjected to high temperatures, being exposed to room temperature and higher for a few days will only result in small losses of organisms.
Exposure to heat is not the only element that can degrade the ProBiota products; moisture and exposure to air are also detrimental. Most probiotics are anaerobic; they live in an absence of oxygen, and so limiting exposure by keeping them in their sealed dry container with the provided desiccant is ideal. Again, our ProBiota products are freeze dried to minimize the degradation caused by oxygen, and by keeping the ProBiota refrigerated in a sealed and dry container you will maximize the shelf life and potency of your ProBiota product.
Short-Term High Heat Stability: Testing was performed on our ProBiota line to determine how long probiotics could be exposed to high temperatures and remain at label claim. Our probiotics are able to withstand temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 6 days without losing label claim potency.
In conclusion, shipping probiotics with ice packs and/or expedited shipping methods is recommended (but not required), especially in warmer months and climates, but it is not cause for concern if the ice packs have melted by delivery.