Big numbers on the label mean big numbers when taken?
The overwhelming majority of products that say “probiotic” on the label only provide a count for the number of microbes present AT THE TIME OF MANUFACTURE. This is a very different number than the count at the time of use! Most ‘probiotic’ products contain a small fraction of the number counted at the time of manufacture by the time they are used by the consumer. Very, very few manufacturers guarantee the number of microbes in their product throughout the entire shelf life period.
Combine this with the fact that freeze-dried cultures of any number face considerable challenges (see Myth #3) when taken, and one can see that the very big numbers on the label of a freeze-dried product can easily fall below the level of being able to produce a probiotic effect.