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Last Updated on April 7, 2019

7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews)

7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & 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.

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Probiotic

First of all, you should check off these 5 questions.

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

A good probiotic should be designed in a way that allows the bacteria to survive the harsh acidic environment of your stomach. This means the bacteria have a better chance of arriving at your intestines ready to establish themselves and do their work.

That’s why you should look for a probiotic supplement that uses some form of time-release technology (such as BIO-tract or delayed-release capsules) that protects the probiotic bacteria and prevents them 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 strains of bacteria, and all of them have unique properties. Some probiotics have been shown to help with specific health conditions. Most of the probiotics in commercial formulations are naturally found in a healthy gut.

Some of the best bacterial strains to look for in a probiotic are L. plantarum (for protecting the membrane that surrounds your gut), L. paracasei (for its antibacterial properties that can ward off pathogens like E. coli and Candida albicans) and L. acidophilus (to regulate acidity in your gut and boost your immune system).

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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?

Many supplement manufacturers include fillers and unnecessary ingredients to lengthen shelf life, sweeten their product, or make the contents easier to pour into capsules. Be sure to read the ingredients label carefully as some of these ‘extras’ can be harmful to gut health.

Look out for common allergens such as gluten, nuts, dairy products or animal products, especially if you’re intolerant or allergic to them.

Also, be aware that some gums (like those found in ‘gummy’ kids’ probiotics) can increase inflammation in your gut.

7 Best Probiotic Supplements Reviewed

1. Balance ONE Probiotic

    This is one probiotic supplement that ticks all the right boxes. It contains 12 strains of probiotics, with 15 billion CFUs per tablet. These include the most-researched strains such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and more.

    The Balance ONE Probiotic is also free from unnecessary fillers and allergens such as nuts, dairy, gluten. It’s non-GMO and vegan. And it doesn’t require refrigeration, so it’s perfect for travel or keeping on your desk at work.

    It contains only strains that are already present in the human gut, without any Soil Based Organisms (SBOs) or active yeasts.

    The most important feature of the Balance ONE probiotic is its patented delivery system, known as BIO-tract. This special patented process involves compressing the probiotic bacteria into tablets.

    This means that Balance ONE probiotics are able to survive passage through the acidic conditions of the stomach without being destroyed. Studies have shown that this delivery method gets 15 times as many bacteria past stomach acid, compared to regular vegetable capsules.

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

    Check out Balance One Probiotic here.

    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.

      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.

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

      Check out Renew Life Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic here.

      3. Vitamin Bounty – Pro 25 Probiotic & 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.

        It’s also made with a delayed release capsule to protect the live bacteria contained within each capsule from the harsh environment of the stomach. This helps in the delivery of the bacteria to the intestines and improves efficacy.

        There are a huge range of strains plus a nice bonus of Fermented Greens, which help as a prebiotic.

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        Check out Vitamin Bounty – Pro 25 Probiotic & Prebiotic here.

        4. Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Advanced Strength

          Again, this formula is made with the BIO-tract patented delivery method. The probiotic contents are released over an 8 to 10 hour period, which means they’re more likely to bypass the acidic environment of the stomach and move into the intestinal tract alive.

          It has the added benefit of New Zealand Kiwifruit powder, which functions as a prebiotic to help the healthy bacteria colonize, as well as supporting digestion and regularity.

          Like Balance One, Hyberbiotics Pro-15 has a guaranteed shelf life that doesn’t require refrigeration. It contains only strains that are already present in the human gut, without any Soil Based Organisms (SBOs) or active yeasts.

          Check out Hyperbiotics PRO-15 Advanced Strength here.

          5. Smart Belly Women’s Daily Probiotic

            This formula is designed specifically for women. It contains the top six probiotic strains proven to benefit a woman’s reproductive and urinary tract system, combined with Cranberry and D-Mannose.

            The CFU is 6 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.

            Check out Smart Belly Women’s Daily Probiotic here.

            6. Garden of Life Colon Daily Care 40 Billion CFU

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              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.

              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.

              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.

              Check out Garden of Life Colon Daily Care 40 Billion CFU here.

              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.

                Check out Align Probiotics Digestive Probiotic here.

                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 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.

                Featured photo credit: Paweł Czerwiński via unsplash.com

                Reference

                More by this author

                Lisa Richards

                Nutritionist, Creator of the Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

                Prebiotic vs Probiotic: What’s the Difference and Why Are They Important? 7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews) 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

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                Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                1. Cat Camel Stretch

                Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                3. Jumping Jacks

                Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                4. Abductor Side Lifts

                Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                5. Balancing Table Pose

                This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                  6. Leg Squats

                  Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                  Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                  The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                  7. Push Ups

                  You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                  An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                  Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                  This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                  8. Bicycle Crunches

                  There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                  Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                  9. Lunges

                  Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                  Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                  This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                  10. Bicep Curls

                  You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                  Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                  Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                  Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                  Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                  These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                  You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                  Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                  More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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