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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

                7 Best Probiotic Supplements (Recommendation & Reviews) 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation

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                Last Updated on March 13, 2019

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                1. Work on the small tasks.

                When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                2. Take a break from your work desk.

                Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                3. Upgrade yourself

                Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                4. Talk to a friend.

                Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                7. Read a book (or blog).

                The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                8. Have a quick nap.

                If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                9. Remember why you are doing this.

                Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                10. Find some competition.

                Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                11. Go exercise.

                Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                12. Take a good break.

                Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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