Probiotic Supplements: The Top 7 (Recommendation and Reviews)

You’ve probably heard that probiotics are a great way to boost your gut health. And indeed, they are! But how do you find the right probiotic for you? Where do you look? Which products are good and which are not?

Here’s an outline of what you need to look for when choosing the best probiotic supplement for you.

First of all, you should check off these five questions.

1. Will the Bacteria in the Probiotic Reach Your Gut?

A good probiotic should be constructed in such a way that the bacteria can survive the stomach’s severe acidic environment.

This means the bacteria have a better chance of making it to your intestines, ready to settle in and start working. 

That’s why you should search for a probiotic supplement with time-release technology, like BIO-tract or delayed-release capsules, to preserve the probiotic bacteria from being broken down in your stomach[1]

2. How Many Billion CFUS of Bacteria Do I Need?

CFU stands for “colony-forming unit.” This is the amount of live and active bacteria contained in each dose. Generally speaking, the higher the CFU count, the more effective the probiotic.

However, not all products will state how many CFUs they contain, which can be a sign that the actual count is very low.

A good probiotic supplement should contain at least 10 billion CFUs for it to be effective or at least 5 billion CFUs for children.

3. Which Strains of Bacteria Does It Contain?

There are hundreds of different bacterium strains, each with its own set of characteristics. Probiotics have been shown to aid with a variety of health issues. The majority of probiotics found in commercial formulations are found naturally in a healthy gut. 

L. Plantarum (for defending the membrane that covers your gut), L. paracasei (for antibiotic qualities that can fight off diseases like E. coli and Candida albicans), and L. acidophilus are some of the best bacterial strains to search for in a probiotic (to regulate acidity in your gut and boost your immune system).

4. How Many Different Strains of Bacteria Are Included?

There are more than 1,000 different species of bacteria in a healthy gut. So, it’s best to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a variety of strains.

All these strains work together, each supporting one another with their different properties. The more strains, the more work that gets done!

5. Are There Any Other Ingredients That Might Damage Your Gut Health?

To extend shelf life, sweeten their product, or make the contents simpler to pour into capsules, many supplement makers incorporate fillers and unneeded components. Read the ingredients list carefully because some of these “extras” can be damaging to your intestinal health.

If you’re intolerant or sensitive to common allergens like gluten, nuts, dairy products, or animal products, keep an eye out for them.

Also, keep in mind that some gums (such as those included in ‘gummy’ kids’ probiotics) might cause stomach irritation.

What Is a Good Probiotic?

A good probiotic is made up of several elements. First and foremost, attempt to see behind the marketing’s large figures. You’ll find probiotics advertised with 50 billion, 100 billion, or even 200 billion CFUs! The terrible reality is that most of these figures are meaningless.

Only a handful of the bacteria in probiotics with high CFU counts make it past your stomach acid. Time-release tablets, for example, can deliver 15 times more bacteria to the gut than a similar probiotic in a veggie capsule, thanks to patented technologies like BIO-tract. [2]

For example, my favorite probiotic, Balance ONE, includes 15 billion CFUs of bacteria. It works by giving you time-release pills that give the same number of bacteria to your gut as a 225 billion CFU probiotic in a vegetable capsule.

Second, seek the strains contained in the probiotic. For digestive health and immunological support, an effective probiotic should have at least 5 strains, ideally 10.

Each strain has its own set of advantages and traits. The more you take, the more you’ll reap the benefits.

Finally, avoid adding additional sugars or flavors. It’s not necessary for probiotics to have a candy-like flavor. Many probiotics, particularly probiotic candies, contain a variety of sugars and other chemicals that can wreak havoc on your digestive system.

With all the criteria in mind, here are the 7 best probiotic supplements available in the market, together with my reviews to help you choose the best one for you.

1. Balance ONE Probiotic

This is a probiotic supplement that checks off all of the criteria. It contains 12 probiotic strains with a total of 15 billion CFUs each tablet. Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and others are among the most studied strains.

There are no extraneous fillers or allergies in the Balance ONE Probiotic, such as nuts, dairy, or gluten. It’s non-GMO, vegan, and doesn’t need to be refrigerated, making it ideal for travel or storing on your desk at work.

It exclusively contains strains that are already found in the human gut, with no active yeasts or soil-based organisms (SBOs).

The unique BIO-tract delivery mechanism is the most essential element of the Balance ONE probiotic. The probiotic bacteria are compressed into pills using proprietary technology.

This means that Balance ONE probiotics can get through the stomach’s acidic environment without being damaged.

Second, seek the strains contained in the probiotic. For digestive health and immunological support, an effective probiotic should have at least 5 strains, ideally 10. Each strain has its own set of advantages and traits. The more you take, the more you’ll reap the benefits.

Finally, avoid adding additional sugars or flavors. It’s not necessary for probiotics to have a candy-like flavor. Many probiotics, particularly probiotic candies, contain a variety of sugars and other chemicals that can wreak havoc on your digestive system.

Studies have shown that this delivery method gets 15 times as many bacteria past stomach acid compared to regular vegetable capsules.[3]

If you’re looking for a quality probiotic with high efficacy, Balance One is my number one choice.

2. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic

This is a good probiotic that contains a wide variety of strains and a powerful dose. There are a guaranteed 30 billion live probiotic cultures, including 12 probiotic strains, which makes it a good choice for anyone seeking a starter probiotic.

The rest of the specs check out too. It has multiple strains for effective support and is free from gluten, dairy, and soy.

It uses delayed-release vegetable capsules which, while not as effective as the BIO-tract system, are still an effective way to deliver bacteria to the gut.

3. Vitamin Bounty – Pro 25 Probiotic and Prebiotic

With 25 Billion organisms per dose, Vitamin Bounty is a good choice for a maintenance probiotic. It also has an impressive 13 probiotic strains to help support overall digestive health.

This helps in the delivery of the bacteria to the intestines and improves efficacy. There is also a huge range of strains plus a nice bonus of Fermented Greens, which help as a prebiotic.

It’s also made with a delayed-release capsule that protects the live bacteria contained within each capsule from the stomach’s harsh environment.

4. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Advanced Strength

This recipe uses the BIO-tract proprietary delivery technique once again. The probiotic ingredients are released over an eight-to-ten-hour period, allowing them to bypass the stomach’s acidic environment and enter the intestinal canal alive.

It also contains New Zealand Kiwifruit powder, which acts as a prebiotic, aiding in the colonization of beneficial bacteria and supporting digestion and regularity. 

Hyberbiotics Pro-15, like Balance One, has a guaranteed shelf life and does not require refrigeration. It exclusively contains strains that are already found in the human gut, with no active yeasts or soil-based organisms (SBOs). 

5. Smart Belly Adult Daily

This formula contains a selection of 7 well-researched lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains, as well as a prebiotic.

The CFU is 7 billion, which is less than ideal, but it does use the patented Bio-tract delivery system so that the majority of those probiotic bacteria will survive stomach acid. It’s allergy-free and requires no refrigeration.

6. Garden of Life Colon Daily Care 40 Billion CFU

This well-known brand of probiotic boasts 40 Billion CFU per capsule with 16 strains of probiotic bacteria. This includes B. lactis HN019, a strain proven to help promote bowel regularity and help relieve bloating.

The only concern with this probiotic is that it does not use an effective method to deliver its bacteria past stomach acid, so it’s hard to say whether those 40 billion probiotic bacteria are guaranteed to reach the intestines.

It also has the nice feature of a desiccant-lined bottle technology to support the shelf life of the probiotics, and it’s allergen-free.

7. Align Probiotics Digestive Probiotic

Last but not least, Align is designed to support digestive health. Its main feature is its inclusion of Bifidobacterium longum 35624, which the manufacturers claim will deliver 24/7 support to the gut.

This particular strain isn’t often seen in other products. If you’re suffering from IBS, this could be a good choice.

The Bottom Line

There are so many probiotic supplements on the market that it can be difficult to make an informed choice. The health supplement industry is largely unregulated and many of the cheaper products tend to be of poor quality.

You can use the questions at the top of this article to determine if your probiotic is worth the money. If you need some further guidance, the probiotics listed in this article are all good choices.

Reference:

  1. The Candida Diet: How To Choose The Best Probiotic For Candida

2. Balance ONE: BIO-tract delivery system for probiotics

3. BalanceONE: 5 RED FLAGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING PROBIOTICS

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