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, but does anyone actually know what the benefits of probiotics actually are? And are probiotics actually good for you? In short words, yes, probiotics are extremely good for you and can help with a number of different health issues you may have, whether you know it or not.
- Nutrition Essentials
- Highest Number of CFUs
- Dr. Tobias Deep Immune
- Targeted Release
- Hyperbiotics PRO-15
- Sensitive Stomach Friendly
Probiotics are live organisms that live in the foods we eat, and those foods are mostly fermented. These living bacteria that live in these foods provide a myriad of health benefits that help with digestive help, which in turn can help the brain function. You can find probiotics in certain foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, kombucha, etc. These foods might be hard to find in your local market, and some people are extremely averse to the sour taste. Some people may love it, but there are easier, more convenient ways to get all the benefits of a probiotic in one easy step. Probiotic supplements can provide all the benefits you need, and then some, without the hassle of cooking and searching for probiotic foods. 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.
10 Best Probiotic Supplements
1. Nutrition Essentials
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 natura formula for these supplements fight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, inflammatory illnesses, and gut illnesses, which are linked to brain health.
Cost and Value
One bottle of these supplements contains 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.
Help appetite and weight control
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
2. Dr. Tobias Deep Immune
The benefits that these type of strains can provide are endless, but 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 own personal 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.
Effective within hours
Proven stomach acid prevention
Quality made in USA
May be sensitive for some people
3. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Probiotics
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 a 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.
15 Targeted probiotic strains
Patented time release
Pearl shape may be hard to swallow for some
4. Onnit Total Gut Health
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.
5 different supplements and strains
Optimized for gut health
Breaks down food
Helps with gas and bloat
Comes with 15 packets per box
5. Align Jr. Chewables
All parents know it’s extremely difficult 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 chewables come with artificial flavorings and colorings to make them more tasty 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.
Cherry smoothie flavor
24/7 digestive support for kids
Satisfaction guaranteed or money back
Contains trace amounts of lactose
6. Garden of Life
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 are able to 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 definitely a purchase for the woman who experiences extreme discomfort during their reproductive cycle.
Geared toward women
7. Vitamin Bounty
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 it’s counterparts, but the bottle comes with 60 capsules, and considering that you only need 2 capsules to get the effects of 16 capsules, it may be worth the few extra dollars.
50 billion organisms per serving
13 probiotic strains
Delayed release capsule
For men and women
Distinct smell according to some customers
8. BioGaia Drops
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 becuase of these issues, and daily drops hae been clinically tested to reduce these symptoms.
Not only do these drops help with digestive issues, 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, and that can be considered priceless for any parent.
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
9. Sound Probiotics Sport
These are intended to target not just gut health, but improve the immune health so there are fewer risks to getting sick or injured, and 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 savings in cost in itself.
Improve immune function
Improve nutrient production
Reduce inflammation and fatigue
Maintain glucose levels
Maintain peak performance
Not evaluated by FDA
10. Align Gummies
These gummies contain prebiotics which help nourish the good bacteria that you already have in your system while probiotics add more good bacteria in your system. You can 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 come with 60 gummies. 2 gummies are supposed to be taken per day, so this bottle can last one month if taken daily.
Great tasting gummies
Prebiotic and probiotic
Helps digestive system
Natural fruit flavors
Contain 1g sugar
Hopefully through this list, you have realized the benefits that probiotics can have on the body, and in turn, the mind. Our day to day lives are busy with work, commuting, families, training, etc. It’s hard to take the time to cook the foods with probiotics that can help with our digestive system. It’s even harder to take time off to go to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with our stomachs lately. Taking a daily supplement is not only easy, but can provide lifelong benefits at just the pop, or chew, of a little capsule or gummy.
Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Probiotic Supplements
With so many different types of probiotics there out on the market, it may be challenging to decide what type 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.
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, but 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 major strains that you should look for:
Bifidobacteria longum: 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 in 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 a basic bacteria that the probiotic you look for should have.
Lactobacillus aciphillus: 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.
Lactobacillus reuteri: 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.
Lactobacillus plantarum: 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.
Saccharomyces boulardii: 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 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.
Potency and Number of CFU’s
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 higher 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 bad bacteria, it makes sense that we may need more to face the trilions 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, which 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 already been mentioned, but the number of CFUs ensures that there was 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 so 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, but 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 type of sensitivity to it. Ones without proper labeling of all the strains should not be consumed, as you would then have know idea what type of strains they are and how it could affect your body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Basically, in a nutshell, probiotics are helpful bacteria that help your gut. Not all bacteria is bad for you, which is why certain foods with live bacteria in them like yogurt are considered good 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?
A. 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 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 averse to it. Some people also notice better energy levels, better and clearer skin, increased immunity, and better mental clarity. This is why people claim of 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?
A. You always want to have more good bacteria than bad 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?
A. 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 they were surrounded by bad bacteria. The reason why people get sick is that they ingest or get in contact with bad bacteria, which multiply within the GI tract, causing a hazardous environment that causes our immune cells to get destroyed. Friendly bacteria is 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?
A. 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?
A. 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, especially due to heat. The bottle should clearly indicate if they do not need to be refrigerated, and you should look for the words “freeze-dried” and are usually in capsule or tablets- these tend to have a longer expiration date or shelf life, but should still be kept out of the heat and should be stored in cool 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.