Best Probiotic Supplements For Helping Your Gut Reviewed
Healthy eating habits will always be a part of the life of serious fighters and athletes because you really can’t have one without the other. Proper nutrition ensures we make enough progress, and keeps our performance at optimal levels. If this is combined with supplements, then you surely have a recipe for success.
Sometimes, the food and supplements we are so devoted to can cause digestive issues, which is where probiotic supplements come in. These helpful pills contain good bacteria that help bring balance to our digestive tract, and they keep it that way. You can find these bacteria in yogurt and many other natural foods, but your best bet is the supplement if you’re looking for a solution to your stomach issues. Our guide brings you the best pills out there, and we are sure you won’t experience any discomfort if you give them a try!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Effective And Powerful Strains
Top 10 Picks
1. Vitamin Bounty Pro-25
Effective And Powerful Strains
What makes this product stand out is the capsule which protects the sensitive bacteria hidden inside. The capsule is designed in a better way, delaying the release of bacteria, meaning you only need to take one pill for every twelve regular ones! The capsule is very sturdy and can withstand the harsh environment in our stomach with ease.Read more
There are 13 very carefully selected strains, which are powerful enough to give you results very fast. There are no fillers present here, and the bulky capsule is simply that - filled with mighty good bacteria. The bacteria were freeze-dried, so they remain alive when they reach your door, no lives lost in between. This, combined with the capsule, is the only reason why this capsule should never be chewed, crushed, or taken apart because it’s the capsule that does most of the work here! It contains wheat, barley, alfalfa, and oat grass, so if you have a gluten sensitivity be mindful!
2. Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics
Contains Lactic Acid Bacteria
Special Fermentation Process
Super Strong Strains
No Refrigeration Needed
Not Lab Grown
The formula seen in this probiotic has been thoroughly researched by the very doctor you see in the name for over thirty years, to bring you a quality formula that will keep upset stomachs’ at bay. It’s also been backed up by more than 20 scientific studies. The bacteria found in these capsules did not grow in a lab - instead, fruit and veggies were combined with spring water and left to ferment for three years, developing 12 distinctive strains.Read more
These strains are never freeze-dried - instead, a special three-year Japanese fermentation technique makes sure the bacteria last a long time. This process is their way to let only the strongest bacteria survive, so they will surely pull through the delivery and your digestive tract. The capsules are also rich with prebiotics, so the strong bacteria have a feast before they start working on regulating your stomach problems.
3. Jigsaw Health Essential Blend
Human Sourced Bacteria
Backed By Extensive Research
Simple Instructions Included
Makes Urine Smell Weird
This essential blend from Jigsaw Health contains up to 25 million live bacteria which will all thrive and grow in your gut, relieving most of the discomforting symptoms we’ve all grown to fear. The formula has been backed by extensive research, so there is no room for error.Read more
This blend uses bacteria found in the guts of humans, so you will be getting bacteria from the best possible source - a human, just like yourself. Each and every individual capsule is freeze-dried during the manufacturing process, so once the supplement reaches your home, there will be no need to find room for it in your fridge.
Every bottle is nitrogen-sealed, making the steps they took to make sure you get a quality product very thorough. Once you do get your hands on them, all you have to do is follow the simple instructions included on the bottle and you’ll be good to go. The capsules don’t start to break down fast, instead, they start to release bacteria after 45 minutes, so most of them will reach the targeted location!
4. Garden of Life Raw
85 Billion Live Cultures
Supports Immune System
No Cooling Package
Garden Of Life regulates the temperatures in which the probiotic is created, and on the delivery as well, making sure you get a viable supplement. This only means that they prolonged the life of your probiotic, but you still have to store it in a cool and dry place in order for it to remain viable. This digestive support contains 85 million CFUs, consisted out of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, working in harmony to help your digestive tract.Read more
There are also 33 probiotic strains, which all work even harder together to keep you healthy. Besides the bacteria, this probiotic is packed with many various goodies. The 33 strains also support your immune system and your thyroid, while they specifically help women maintain healthy genital flora. The pills also deliver vitamins and minerals produced by the bacteria and dairy-digesting enzymes that break down lactose and casein, making lactose intolerance gentler. It has no soy, no gluten, no dairy, is vegetarian, and has absolutely no allergens.
5. Culturelle Digestive Health
Only One Strain
Dairy And Gluten Free
10 Billion CFU
Contains Sugar Alcohols
This probiotic supplement is one you should take each and every day in order to let it work its magic the right way. It comes packed with 10 billion live active cultures of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, and nothing else. This makes it sort of unique in the probiotic world, since most probiotic supplements boast two or more different strains. But the singular number of strains should not worry you, since this strain does a very good job at keeping you healthy.Read more
This strain is the most clinically studied strain, and as such it will not bring you any harm. The pills found in this bottle also come equipped with a prebiotic, Inulin, which feeds the Lactobacillus and helps it thrive, bringing balance to your innards. No dairy can be found in this supplement, and neither can gluten. It is non-GMO, so it has no potential health hazards.
6. DNA Shift 50 Billion
50 Billion CFU
No Need To Refrigerate
No Added Ingredients
Can Cause Stomach Issues
This supplement contains 11 different strains with a total of an amazing 50 billion CFUs! Prebiotic fibers are included as well, to give the bacteria the strength it needs. The capsules are made out of vegetables, making them completely natural.Read more
There is no need to refrigerate this product, and the manufacturers guarantee that all 50 billion bacteria will make it to your stomach alive and well, ready to replicate. These capsules contain no artificial ingredients or chemicals, so they are perfectly safe.
7. GoLive Berry
Packed With Nutrients
In Powder Form
GoLive probiotics are specially created by microbiologists and dieticians that make sure you get the best possible treatment out there. These blends are delicious, contain both a prebiotic and a probiotic, are freeze-dried and come packaged in foil, to make sure the bacteria manage to survive the long way before they reach your guts.Read more
You may be used to pills and capsules, but if you are looking or a way to change the game, then consider this very tasty powder. The bacteria are live, even in this form, so they will get the chance to help your digestive system out. Everything contained in the packet is water-soluble, so you will be able to take it just like a simple drink. These packets also contain vitamins, minerals, and even amino acids, so you will be taking care of most of your body simply by drinking one packet a day!
8. Renew Life Ultimate Flora
Great For Seniors
Plenty Of Bifidobacteria
If you are a senior that loves fitness but still needs a helpful boost from bacteria, then this is the product for you. It also works for younger generations, although it might be too strong for them. This probiotic was formulated with six different strains, blended together to bring back that youthful health you once had.Read more
When you start to age, the population of the Bifidobacteria found inside your gut starts to diminish, which is why these pills work just right. They are packed with Bifidobacteria, and they will certainly help the population thrive again. It has 30 billion live bacteria, while more than half of them belong to the Bifidobacteria strain! This probiotic has no gluten, no soy, no dairy, and it guarantees that you will receive live cultures. The capsules were made out of vegetables, so if you are vegan you can consume this probiotic without worrying about animal products!
9. Align Daily
Patented Bacteria Strain
Innovative Blister Pack
1 Billion CFU
This daily probiotic uses a patented strain of bacteria to help your digestive system get back on track. It uses more than 1 billion CFUs that will mostly make it to their destination, where they will do their best to help you feel better.Read more
The patented strain we mentioned is B.infantis, which will not cause any digestive issues, like gas or bloating, and will work on soothing your tummy. The formula in this product is freeze-dried, so no matter how long it takes it to reach your door, once it does the effectiveness will be the same. This probiotic comes in a very unique blister pack - it has seven different parts which all represent each day of the week, so you always remember to take one. It does contain milk though, so if you are lactose intolerant, watch out!
10. Vita Miracle Ultra-30
Overall Health Benefits
18 Immunity Enhancing Strains
No Additives Or Chemicals
No Date Stamp
This high-potency probiotic offers a total of 18 strains that enhance the immune system and help the digestive tract. The formula also helps prevent kidney stones, increased HDL and has many other beneficial factors which all come into play for your overall wellbeing.Read more
The ultra-30 probiotics also contain prebiotics, so the very helpful bacteria have something to eat while they fight off bad bacteria and yeast. The capsules contain no additives or chemicals, making them 100% natural. The delayed release capsules make it through most of your digestive tract without opening up, delivering the beneficial bacteria all the way to your intestines, which is where we need them the most.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
We’ve all heard of probiotics, mainly because doctors always recommend taking them together with antibiotics, in order to help our gut flora remain unharmed. But you can also take probiotics without a doctors’ subscription, and you may start to wonder how do you exactly do that in order to feel the most benefits.
You are doing your body a great service by taking probiotics - you will experience improvements head to toe because you support your gut microbiome, which does have surprising effects on our health. However, you have to take probiotics the correct way, because otherwise, you might not feel all the benefits probiotics have to offer. The time of day you take the probiotics, your diet and the formula can all affect this, and all of these factors should be taken into consideration.
So let’s talk about what time works best. You should take your probiotics in the morning, before breakfast. The pill must move through your upper digestive tract quickly because a lot of bacteria need to survive before reaching their destination, and that cannot happen if your gut is already packed to the brim with food. So, taking the pill 15 to 30 minutes before breakfast gives the bacteria a head start, and it also creates a habit which you can follow with ease.
You should also drink plenty of water while taking probiotics. Drinking a lot of fluids is always a good idea, but it also makes it possible to get the most out of your supplement. Drinking a big glass of water before or with the pill will dilute your stomach acids, which again gives the bacteria a chance at surviving the harsh environment that is our digestive tract.
What you eat after taking the supplement is also important. If you want to get the bacteria working their best, you must feed them properly. You can always try to eat a healthy breakfast that will do both you and the microorganisms good, and it will not let the harmful bacteria thrive. The bacteria found in probiotics thrive on fruit, veggies, fat, and fiber, while the bad guys thrive on sugar and processed food. You can also help the bacteria with a prebiotic fiber, which can be found in the shape of a powder, but also in green bananas, acacias, and artichokes. The bacteria then ferment these fibers into helpful healthy substances that protect your gut. It’s as simple as that!
Now let’s discuss all of those health benefits you will feel once you add probiotic supplements to your daily routine. The idea of chucking millions and millions of bacteria into your stomach every day might sound like a frightening ordeal, but these bacteria are really nothing but helpful. But, not all probiotics were created equally, and different strains offer different results. Some probiotic pills were made to be dissolved in our mouths because they help our gums stay healthy, while others simply keep our gut flora lively and well.
First things first, we should mention your gut flora. Probiotics are the best at keeping diarrhea at bay. Lactobacillus GG is that miracle bacterium that helps solve infectious diarrhea in both children and infants, especially the one caused by antibiotics. One more common gut problem is the very opposite of diarrhea, and that is constipation.
Probiotics can also help you here, softening your stool, making it easier to pass. Some small studies suggest that probiotics can even help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. They can help maintain the remission of ulcerative colitis, prevent the relapse of Crohn’s and many more miraculous things, but more research is needed to make these results conclusive. It costs almost nothing to try though!
Now we must mention the different strains, and what they are best at. There are two main species that can be found in most probiotics today, and they are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Bifidobacteria is commonly used in many foods and various supplements, and it is believed that they strengthen the immune system, prevent harmful bacteria from growing in our guts, and they also break down lactose so we can digest it with ease. Lactobacillus is a bacterium that has a name which comes from its ability to create lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose.
The bacteria also produce lactic acid, which controls the growth of bad bacteria. It serves as muscle fuel (hint hint) and increases the rate of absorption of minerals. You can naturally find these bacteria in your mouth, gut, and if you are a female, in your lady bits. Both of these bacteria also have a follow-up name next to the ones we mentioned, like B. longum, or L. acidophilus, for an example. These are just the names of the species as a whole, and they should not frighten you. Many probiotics combine 5 or more species of these bacteria, which all work to help you feel better!
How are probiotics made, and what is actually contained in that little pill or powder you take every morning? One of the first things we should mention is that probiotics contain living bacteria. These bacteria are supposed to be delivered to your lower digestive tract unharmed, in order to work properly, because otherwise, you will feel no benefits at all.
These bacteria can be drawn from a human source (from intestines or breast milk), from animals or the dairy they produce, from fermented vegetables and certain grains, such as kimchi, and sometimes even from the ground. The majority of these bacteria belong to the ones that come from milk, and they help break down lactose. Human strains are definitely the most excellent, since they have the longest lifespan once inside our body, and simply work the best because they come from an organism that is the same as we are.
Now let’s mention the form they come in. The most common type we’ve all encountered before is the form of a capsule. These capsules have a coating made from either animal or plant material, which breaks down once it enters our digestive tract, and all the good bacteria are released. Sometimes they come in the form of a powder, but these powders are not as effective. One more popular way to ingest probiotics is through food. Yogurt is the most common source of these helpful bacteria, and you can also find it in kefir and other fermented products. Cheese, milk and many other products that rely on bacterial fermentation will have these organisms, and they will help you in one way or another. Food is not as effective as capsules are, and if you want the best results you should consider taking them.
One more thing we should always worry about is the shelf life of this supplement. This is simply because it will lose its effectiveness once it passes the expiry date, and you must take care to monitor the expiration date. They usually have a short shelf life, and they should be refrigerated in order to make them last longer. The bacteria will die, without exception, at room temperature, meaning they will perish even before the date found on the package.
The reason why many probiotic manufacturers have millions and billions of bacteria in their pills is that they die - pretty fast. Just think about it this way - when the supplement is produced, first it needs to be carried to its destination, which can take a while. Then it will sit on shelves for who knows how long, and while it does that the bacteria will just keep dying off. And if you don’t put it in the fridge, they will just continue dying until there is nothing left! The very large number is taken into account for when the expiration date is established, so if you simply store the pills in your fridge once you buy them, they will last the recommended amount of time. SBO probiotics are the only ones that can withstand the heat and moisture others can’t, and if you’ve got such a supplement then shelf life shouldn’t worry you since the capsules will be long gone before the expiration date comes!
We’ve covered just about anything about these helpful supplements, besides one important part - the side effects. There must be some side effects there since we do ingest living bacteria, right? Well, that is true, and there are some common side effects that can happen once you start using this supplement.
Although they were created to help aid digestion, they can do the opposite thing and actually cause digestive issues. Although the side effect that happens because of these bacteria is very mild, it might still put off people, especially if they suffer from bloating, because that is the most commonly reported effect. If you continuously use the supplement, this side effect should go away completely all by itself, once your body gets used to it. If you want to avoid this, you can start with a lower dose and then work your way up until you’ve reached the desired dose. If your gas or bloating continues for more than a few weeks, then you should stop using them and consult a doctor.
For some people, the amines found in probiotic foods can cause headaches. Some, not all, probiotic foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain these amines since they form when food rich in protein ferments. Histamine is very common, and if you suffer from allergies you likely know what this is already. Amines can excite your nervous system, later your blood flow and thanks to all of that, trigger headaches in people who are sensitive to them. If probiotic foods make your head hurt, then simply start taking the capsule form and you will be more than okay.
Again, some strains can increase the levels of histamine found inside our body. This molecule is always created when our immune system detects a threat of any sort. When the levels of histamine in your blood rise, the vessels dilate in order to increase the blood flow. This can create redness, swelling and allergy-like symptoms, like itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. If your body fails to break down the excess levels of histamine, it will be absorbed through the lining of our intestines, and it will cause allergy-like symptoms. Lactobacillus strains are the ones that create a lot of histamines, and if you are sensitive to it then you should avoid probiotics with this bacteria.
Some ingredients found in probiotics can cause allergic reactions. If you have any kind of food allergy, you must read the labels and instruction of your new supplement carefully. Diary, egg, and soy can all be found in probiotic capsules, and people can be potentially allergic to them. If you are lactose intolerant, then avoid probiotics which use lactose in their process of creation because it will create the same symptoms as would milk or anything that contains milk sugar in the first place. Synbiotics can cause gas and bloat too. Synbiotics are supplements that contain both the bacteria and fiber useful for their growth (also known as prebiotics), and humans cannot digest these fibers which is why they can cause issues.
For some people, probiotics can increase the chances of infection. For the vast majority of our population, probiotics are helpful and will not cause any kind of harm. But, very rarely, the bacteria or yeast found in probiotics can find a way into our bloodstream and cause a massive infection, which can spell disaster for individuals that have weakened immune systems. If you’ve got a regular old immune system, you shouldn’t worry about this because the chances of something like an infection happening (at least, one caused by probiotics) are very slim. Only one human in one million people who take probiotics will develop such an infection, which shows you just how small the risk actually is. If you’ve got severe acute pancreatitis, you should also avoid probiotics, because doctors warn they can increase the risk of death!
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Probiotics are great and dandy, but who was the first one that was brave enough to even think that ingesting bacteria can do us good? Believe it or not, they were discovered over a century ago, by a Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff of the Pasteur Institute in Paris. Some strains that are recognized as healthy today were discovered long before that, but their benefits were not known to us until this point.
Elie studied people in the Caucasus Mountains who lived to be 100 years old, or even older, and discovered that they all drank a fermented drink similar to yogurt, which helped their digestion. He then studied Lactobacillus bulgaricus and then he determined how helpful it actually is!
Other Factors to Consider
Just like with any medicine, the release date of probiotics also matters. Since the world of medicine always changes, thanks to our ever-evolving technology, we always find new ways to improve our health and new studies which support or debunk any claim related to our wellbeing. The same thing happens with probiotics, and you always have to see how old the formula is, and whether or not some advancements have been made. Technically, an old bacterial formula will not harm you, but it may not provide as many benefits as would a newer and improved formula. We made sure to include the best possible probiotics we could find, and the formulas and blends used there are researched thoroughly and they will help you feel the benefits in no time!
Probiotics help us feel better in many different ways, and it’s all thanks to the bacteria or yeast found in them. It might seem odd to fill ourselves up with bacteria, but they are good bacteria and they make us healthier and stronger. Lucky for you, you’ve got plenty of products you can choose from, and they will all offer you many health benefits you cannot experience without their help! We can only hope that our guide has helped you understand probiotics better and that you have made a choice with ease!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What does CFU mean?
Once you glance on your new supplement bottle, chances are that you will see something like 5 billion or 900 million CFU plastered on there. But what do the letters next to the incomprehensible numbers mean? CFU simply means colony forming units, which is a simple way to say how many bacteria found in your probiotic are capable of reproducing and creating a colony. If you take probiotics daily, you may want to stick to lower CFU counts, like 5 or 10 million, because higher numbers can cause bloating or gas. The higher doses are great when you are drinking harsh antibiotics which hurt our gut flora because they restore it and maintain until the medicine runs out of your body.
q: Are probiotics natural?
Probiotics are found naturally in fermented food, like yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. You can ingest a nice amount of healthy bacteria simply by eating food like this, but you need to take the pills if you want the full ride. Every probiotic is natural and is usually gathered from animals and their products, such as milk, fermented fruit, and veggies, or from a human source. Probiotics sourced from humans will obviously work the best since we all have the same gut flora.
q: What’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Probiotics, just like we explained, contain helpful bacteria that protect our body. Prebiotics are simply fuel for those bacteria, and they come in the form of plant fibers, which our body cannot digest our breakdown. This is why a prebiotic is perfect for the bacteria because nothing will be there to break it down and hog all the fuel. By also using a prebiotic, you up the chances of health benefits, but you can also experience minor digestive issues, like gas or bloating, and that is because we do not digest those fibers!
q: Does the strain of probiotic I take matter?
Well, it does and it doesn’t. All of the bacteria will aid you in the same way, but some bacteria may cause side effects others will not. Lactobacillus contains lactose, or milk sugar, to which many people are sensitive, and if you are too, then you should avoid this strain completely. It can also cause your histamine levels to rise and cause symptoms similar to what we see in a mild allergic reaction. Other strains may cause other side effects, and it is up to you to try them all and figure out what works best for you.
q: Do probiotics need to be refrigerated?
The bacteria found in the capsules are alive, and they will die when left in a warm and humid place. Some of the population will die even before the bottle reaches your fridge, but that’s okay since that number is calculated when expiration dates are written. If you want to prolong the life of your probiotic, you must refrigerate it, otherwise, you might as well drink pure sugar - it would be all the same!