Best Probiotic Supplements Reviewed & Rated for Quality
It seems like probiotics have become the new buzzword of the health industry lately. Terms like “gut health” and “inflammation control” have been seen in health articles and social media posts in recent months. Does anyone know what the benefits of probiotics are? And are probiotics good for you? Short answer: yes. Probiotics are extremely good for you and can help with several different health issues you may have, whether you know it or not. There are a number of “supplements” out there that claim to provide certain benefits that really don’t do anything for you, and we went ahead and researched the clinically proven, FDA-approved, medical-grade supplements that will give you all the health benefits you need.
So, here's our top ten list of probiotics and why you might consider them for yourself.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research
Geared toward women
10 Best Probiotic Supplements
1. Garden of Life
Geared toward women
The Garden of Life Dr. Formulated probiotics are specially geared toward specific health needs that can benefit not only the digestive tract but also women’s reproductive organs and immune system. For women who take multiple supplements for their needs, this may be one that can tackle numerous issues in one tablet.Read more
Geared toward women
Women know that hormones can cause all kinds of digestive flare-ups during their reproductive cycles, with unwanted side effects that can cause pain and inflammation. The strains in these supplements are specifically made to combat those issues, and many women have noticed improvement after continual use.
This probiotic is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian, so anybody with dietary restrictions can take this product with no problem. It’s also a shelf-stable probiotic, so no refrigeration is necessary, making this a great traveling companion.
Cost and Value
These come with 30 daily probiotics- the great thing is only one capsule a day is needed to target several different issues. This is comparable to other probiotic tubes on the market and is a purchase for the woman who experiences extreme discomfort during their reproductive cycle.
2. Align Gummies
Great tasting gummies
Prebiotic and probiotic
Helps the digestive system
Natural fruit flavors
Contain 1g sugar
To end our list is the Align Prebiotic + Probiotic Gummies because let’s face it, we all like gummies no matter what age. These are jam-packed with the essential nutrients we need for our gut health, all with a great tasting fruit flavor. Candy that helps with gut issues? Sign me up!Read more
Prebiotics and Probiotics
These gummies contain prebiotics, which helps nourish the good bacteria that you already have in your system while probiotics add more good bacteria in your system. You can get a two for one deal with these gummies!
Great Tasting Fruit Flavor
If you are averse to swallowing pills daily, then you’ll rejoice in these gummies that are all-natural and have great tasting fruit flavors so you can’t wait to take your daily dose.
Cost and Value
This product is also comparable to other bottles on this list and comes with 60 gummies. Two gummies are supposed to be taken per day, so this bottle can last one month if taken daily.
3. BioGaia Drops
Drops for colicky babies
Helps digestive track
Tested in over 120 clinical trials
Infused with vitamin D
Can help reduce fussiness and crying
Not yet evaluated by the FDA
BioGaia Probiotic Drops are a new mother’s dream explicitly made for infants, newborns, and toddlers. Studies and reviews show that daily drops can help reduce digestive discomfort in babies, which in turn can reduce crying and stress. Maybe this is the answer to a sleepless mother of a newborn!Read more
Helps with Colicky Babies
These drops are clinically proven to reduce daily spit-ups, discomfort from the onset of colic, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Infants are often crying and fussing because of these issues, and daily drops have been clinically tested to reduce these symptoms.
Not only do these drops help with digestive issues, but they also contain vitamin D which is an important vitamin necessary for optimal bone health. For babies who aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals from breast milk, formula, or food, this is a great additional supplement that can help.
Cost and Value
One packet contains 34 oz, but there are variations in sizes that also vary in price. Parents who have bought this product and clinical tests have shown that daily drops have reduced a fussy, colicky baby. That can be considered priceless for any parent.
4. Dr. Tobias Deep Immune
Effective within hours
Proven stomach acid prevention
Quality made in the USA
May be sensitive for some people
Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotics is a clinically tested, premium probiotic supplement that leads to a healthier, happier lifestyle. The formula of this product is different in that it is made with spore-forming strains. That might sound a bit unappealing, but spore-forming strains are ones that are clinically proven to provide the health benefits.Read more
Spore Forming Probiotic Strains
The benefits that these type of strains can provide are endless. One of the key differences is that they can withstand stomach acid, so they’re able to fight off the bad bacteria for you. These, in turn, feed or help the good bacteria and fight off the bad, acting as your superhero.
So many natural supplements and probiotics claim to do what they do without any clinical backing. Dr. Tobias’ Deep Immune has undergone clinical tests to develop a targeted release product, which helps it deliver right into the gut where it’s supposed to go.
Cost and Value
These also come in a bottle of 60 delayed-release capsules, and are comparable in price to the Nutrition Essentials supplements. These may last you a lot longer because they do not need to be refrigerated, so these may be a great purchase for traveling.
5. Vitamin Bounty
50 billion organisms per serving
13 probiotic strains
For men and women
Distinct smell according to some customers
Vitamin Bounty offers more probiotics per tablet than a lot of probiotics on the market, making it super powerful with over 50 billion organisms per serving, with over 13 different strains that will target all your digestive needs.Read more
Vitamin Bounty is a very highly rated probiotic because of the amount per serving. It boasts of a 16 pill to 2 pill ratio compared to their competitors in terms of effectiveness and CFU’s, giving you the maximum results with a fraction of the time and effort.
These probiotics have been freeze-dried to ensure their effectiveness and the organisms’ ability to tackle all the bad bacteria in your gut. This also ensures the freshness of the supplement and effectiveness once it enters your GI tract.
Cost and Value
Vitamin Bounty comes at a slighter higher price point compared to its counterparts, but the bottle comes with 60 capsules, and considering that you only need two capsules to get the effects of 16 capsules, it may be worth the few extra dollars.
6. Align Jr. Chewables
Cherry smoothie flavor
24/7 digestive support for kids
Satisfaction guaranteed or money back
Contains trace amounts of lactose
Probiotics aren’t just for adults! Children can benefit from taking daily probiotics, just as they would with taking other multivitamins. For children who have sensitive stomachs and are prone to digestive issues, taking Align Chewables can help mitigate those effects, calm the stomach, and help improve their gastrointestinal tract for their future selves.Read more
All parents know it’s tough to get your kids to eat their vegetables, much less take a medical-like, swallowable vitamin that doesn’t taste like anything. Some children don’t even know how to swallow tablets or pills, and this can pose a hazard to choking. Luckily these chewables come in yummy fruit flavors so your children can’t wait to take their daily probiotics!
Some multivitamin gummies and chewable come with artificial flavorings and colorings to make them tastier and appealing to children. Not only does this defeat the purpose of vitamins, but they can even cause harm if taken too long. The Align Jr. Chewables have no artificial sweeteners or artificial coloring.
Cost and Value
One pack of the Align Chewables come with 24 tablets and come at a very reasonable price point. Considering that these are the #1 recommended by gastroenterologists, these are very much worth the benefits and prevention of future digestive issues.
7. Sound Probiotics Sport
Improve immune function
Improve nutrient production
Reduce inflammation and fatigue
Maintain glucose levels
Maintain peak performance
Not evaluated by FDA
Sound Sport is specifically geared toward people who engage in rigorous activities. As athletes or performers know, many of your body’s minerals and vitamins get depleted through strenuous exercise. The strains in these are geared to replenish those lost minerals so athletes can fee well as new.Read more
Improve Immune Function
These are intended to target not just gut health, but improve immune health, so there are fewer risks to getting sick or injured. This way, you can always perform at your peak performance.
Maintain Glucose Levels
Athletes, weekend warriors, and high-stress people understand that external stressors can take a toll on our body. These supplements can help restore muscle and liver tissues for optimal performance.
Cost and Value
The bottle of this is comparable to the other ones on this list. Some customers say that by taking this supplement before athletic events have prevented them from getting sick for years, which is a huge saving in cost in itself.
8. Onnit Total Gut Health
5 different supplements and strains
Optimized for gut health
Breaks down food
Helps with gas and bloat
Comes with 15 packets per box
Onnit has premium quality products geared toward health and well-being, and this daily prebiotic package has everything you need for a healthy digestive system. This is different in that you take one packet with several different capsules per day, with everything you need to optimize your gut health and tackle all the problems head-on.Read more
All in One Packet
This is the total daily packet you need to optimize your gut health. It comes with prebiotics, probiotics, enzymes, and HCI. This is designed for your gut and is great when taken daily with a meal.
5 Strains of Probiotics
There are five different strains of probiotics in this packet, all with beneficial effects on the gut. Other probiotics that are natural like yogurt or sauerkraut, while good for you, have about 1-2 strains of probiotics. You can get more in just one single packet.
Cost and Value
Because each packet contains five different supplements that are designed for optimizing gut health, the Onnit Total Gut Health comes at a pricier tag. If you are supplementing probiotics with other supplements, you may want to purchase this for an all-inclusive deal.
9. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics
15 Targeted probiotic strains
Pearl shape may be hard to swallow for some
The PRO-15, time-released pearls come in at number 3 on our list- they are the only control released capsule that is available on the market today, with a patent in over 31 countries. This probiotic is optimal for those with a sensitive stomach that can benefit from a slow-release throughout the day.Read more
15 Targeted Probiotic Strains
This little tiny capsule has 15 different probiotic strains that are designed to replenish depleted minerals from everyday life. It’s hard to believe that a little pearl that is a fraction of the size as standard pearls can pack this much goodness.
Patented Time Release
This is the only probiotic that is available on the market today that is released slowly over an eight to ten-hour period so that they surpass your stomach acid and go deep into your intestinal tract, where the gut bacteria lives and where you need it the most.
Cost and Value
This is an all-natural, patented, time-released capsule that is especially beneficial for those with sensitive stomachs that are susceptible to digestive upset through non-time released capsules. The price of this is comparable to the other two on this list as well, with 60 capsules.
10. Nutrition Essentials
Help appetite and weight control
The highest number of CFU’s per serving
Supports healthy digestive balance
All-natural and safe
Made in the USA
Should not keep unconsumed for long periods of time
Nutrition Essential’s Probiotic Supplement makes this list. The reviews and customer satisfaction don’t lie- these supplements, if taken daily, can transform your life- giving you better mental clarity, less bloat, reduce digestive issues, and the list of benefits can go on and on.Read more
Highest Number of CFU’s Per Serving
What does this even mean, and what is a CFU? A CFU is a colony-forming unit, which is the vital organism necessary in probiotics to provide all the benefits. The more CFU’s per capsule or supplement you have, the more you’re likely to absorb all the benefits. As a general rule of thumb, one probiotic should have one billion CFU’s, and adults should have 1-10 billion CFU’s per day!
Nutrition Essential is an industry-leading supplement leader. Their innovative and all-natural formula for these supplements fights Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, inflammatory illnesses, and gut illnesses, which are linked to brain health.
Cost and Value
One bottle of these supplements contain 60 supplements, which can last anywhere from one to two months, depending on how often you take them. For benefits that can last a lifetime, the price point of this is affordable to almost anyone, making this our number one product.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
You’ve probably noticed that most of the supplements on this list boast of multiple probiotic strains they offer, some even going up to 15 different strains. You always want to look for the bottles that list the different type of strains they offer. They will probably be a long list of scientific organism names. The fact that they would list them out shows that they offer a variation that is beneficial to you. The more strains they have, the better.
This is because it increases the efficacy and targets different parts of the gut and digestive system. We have both good and bad bacteria in our system already. The more strains that the probiotic has, the more it can target the good bacteria and feed and nourish them so they can help our bodies. There are a few significant strains that you should look for:
This is one of the first types of bacteria that generates in our digestive system or digestive tract since birth. This is the primal bacteria that is responsible for aiding our metabolism, digestion of carbohydrates, and fermentation. Amino acids and bile salts need to be broken down within our Gi tract, and this strain of bacteria greatly aids in that. This is very important in the optimizing our digestion- without it, we have trouble breaking down food, which can lead to stomach issues like constipation and general discomfort. This should be an essential bacteria that the probiotic you look for should have.
This is a bacteria that has a large part in our gut flora and is a very common probiotic which can be found in most supplements (or at least it should be). This is responsible for balancing the pH and acid levels in your stomach or digestive tract and stops bad bacteria from replicating or multiplying in the colon.
This is a variation of the lactobacillus acidophilus, which can be found in breast milk and is also a large part of the gut flora. You should look for this strain on probiotics that are geared toward women, as this can help good bacteria in the breast milk, which can pass on to the infant. This also helps infections from forming in the colon by balancing the pH levels and also helps the immune system, which stops you from getting sick.
This is another variation of lactobacilli that can be found on naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, and aid in the digestion process. This strain has been clinically proven for those who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Another common strain of probiotic that is born from soil and can be found on certain fermented fruits like lychee. This aids in the digestion for certain people who have a food sensitivity and often get food-borne diarrhea.
Ultimately you want to look for these main strains and research the other ones they have listed. Remember, the more strains, the better.
We mentioned CFU’s and their importance in some of the descriptions in the list above. It sounds like a lot, but you want to look for probiotics that contain anywhere between 10-30 billion CFUs. This can depend on a person’s specific or personal medical condition, in which they may need a higher or lower number of CFUs for their body.
Studies show that the more of CFUs per probiotic, the more effective. We have somewhat upwards of trillions of bacteria living in our gut right now. If we want to think about sending men to war, you want to have the same number of people battling or more, to increase the odds of survival. That might be a strange example to compare to the probiotics living in our body.
But, if you think about the fact that the pre and probiotics are meant to invade our gut and nourish the good bacteria while fighting the harmful bacteria, it makes sense that we may need more to face the trillions that are already living in our body right now. You may find that more of the pricier probiotic supplements have somewhere between 500 billion to 1 trillion CFUs per tablet or capsule. You may want to consult with your medical professional to see if this will benefit you or if this is necessary.
Of course, with any purchase that we make in life, we want to look for the quality that the product consists of. Most probiotics, because they are living bacteria, are perishable and need to be refrigerated after purchase. This ensures they are high-quality. If they do not need to be refrigerated, it should indicate clearly on the bottle and should be freeze-dried or chemically made to last outside of the refrigerator. Look clearly on the bottle as you do not want to consume already perished probiotics. To ensure that the probiotic you choose is high-quality, look for these:
Number of CFUs: this has previously been mentioned. The number of CFUs provides that there were careful research and development in these probiotics to make sure that they will be the most effective in aiding your health. Look for the ones with descriptions that guarantee the shelf life of the CFUs and guarantee that they will be alive and not perish until the end of the expiration date.
You want to look for supplements that are enteric-coated because this will prohibit the stomach acid from breaking through the coating. This way, your gut can ingest all the probiotics that are in the supplement once it has entered your digestive tract.
A good probiotic supplement also comes paired with prebiotic supplements, which act to aid and nourish the good bacteria in your body. A supplement that has prebiotics can serve dual purposes. People who have gluten or wheat sensitivity may need to be cautious when taking these supplements because they can contain starch.
You also want to look for probiotics that list out the specific names of the strains that are inside the supplement. You always want to know what is going inside your body, just in case you have some sensitivity to it. Ones without proper labeling of all the strains should not be consumed. You would then have no idea what type of strains they are and how it could affect your body.
When it comes to size, we are not focusing on the container (although this can play into the value criteria up next). No, what we mean by size is the size of the actual capsule or tablet or gummy. Depending on who you are, adult or child, the size of the capsule matters so that you do not choke on it and can consume it properly. If swallowing pills is difficult for you, consider a gummy, liquid, or powder probiotic option.
The cost of probiotics can get up there. Can you put a value on them? Well, yes. That's because they are suitable for you and useful. The pricier options often contain more potent strains of probiotics (not harmful) and have higher product quality. Regardless of any purchase, especially for something that affects your health and body, do your research before purchasing.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
With so many different types of probiotics there out on the market, it may be challenging to decide what kind of probiotic is right for you. There are rows and rows of different probiotics at our health stores and online, which make it difficult to differentiate between each one. There are some criteria you should look for in the probiotics to make sure they are effective and targeted toward you to provide the most optimal gut health.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are probiotics?
Basically, in a nutshell, probiotics are helpful bacteria that help your gut. Not all bacteria are harmful to you, which is why certain foods with live bacteria in them like yogurt are considered suitable for you. Probiotics live in the GI tract or intestinal regions of your body and are helpful in digestion, metabolism, and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract. A healthy probiotic population can also provide other benefits such as a healthy immune system, hormone balance, vitamin aid, detoxification, and some people even state that it helps balance their skin if they are prone to acne. There are many benefits to probiotics.
q: I’m not sure if the probiotic is working. How can I tell?
You can tell if a quality probiotic supplement is working for you because you will notice a change in your digestive system. If you are prone to digestive issues or you have a sensitive stomach that does not metabolize food correctly, you may notice that a couple of weeks of taking probiotics have gotten rid of these uncomfortable symptoms. Many customers state that many of their digestive issues that even doctors could not fix with medicine have been changed or eliminated by the daily consumption of probiotic supplements.
If you have frequent diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, or general digestive discomfort, try taking these supplements regularly. After a couple of weeks to a month of regular use, you will notice a difference. If not, then you know the particular supplement you have is not for you, or your body is opposed to it. Some people also notice better energy levels, better and brighter skin, increased immunity, and better mental clarity. This is why people claim a direct correlation between the gut and the brain.
q: Is there a specific number of bacteria that I need in my gut or GI tract?
You always want to have more good bacteria than harmful bacteria. We already have upwards of trillions of strains of bacteria living in our bodies, especially in our intestinal system. Studies show that the ratio of good to bad bacteria should be 85 to 15, and the ingestion of supplements can help even out that ratio, so our gut is in optimal health.
Although certain products boast of billions and billions of CFUs per capsule, that’s not necessarily going to be the most beneficial. You want to look for billions and billions of different types of strains that can target and help all the good bacteria in your gut. You want to look for well-roundedness in strains or quality as opposed to the quantity to make sure that you get the long-term positive effects on your body.
q: If probiotics help the gut, then how do some people claim it helps their immune system?
About 70% of our immune cells live in our GI tract, according to science. With supplements, this can help the immune cells reside in a healthy, non-threatening environment as opposed to if harmful bacteria surrounded them. The reason why people get sick is that they ingest or get in contact with harmful bacteria. This bacteria then multiply within the GI tract, causing a hazardous environment that causes our immune cells to get destroyed. Friendly bacteria are multiplied with probiotics. If you find yourself ill, try taking some probiotics, and you’re guaranteed to feel a bit better.
q: When should I take my probiotics?
You want to take the probiotics first thing on an empty stomach so that you are not mixing the supplements with meals in the digestive tract. This makes it harder for the bacteria to enter the digestive track with ease and ensure that it is being absorbed.
q: Why do I need to refrigerate my probiotics?
Many probiotics are sensitive to heat and are perishable and have a shelf-life. Without the proper temperature, the organisms within the capsule can die, mainly due to heat. The bottle should indicate if they do not need to be refrigerated. You should look for the words “freeze-dried." They are usually in capsule or tablets and tend to have a more extended expiration date or shelf life.
Even though they have a long shelf life, they should still be kept out of the heat and should be stored in cold or room-temperature environments. If the probiotic needs to be refrigerated, make sure that the place you bought it from has kept it under refrigeration also.