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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

                What to Eat When Constipated? 10 Foods to Improve Your Gut Health What Helps Yeast Infections: Foods To Eat And Avoid 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 July 23, 2019

                5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

                Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

                How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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                • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
                • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
                • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
                • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
                • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
                • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

                When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

                1. Realize You’re Not Alone

                Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

                2. Find What Inspires You

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                Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

                On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

                3. Give Yourself a Break

                When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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                Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

                4. Shake up Your Routines

                Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

                Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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                When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

                5. Start with a Small Step

                Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

                Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

                More to Help You Stay Motivated

                Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

                Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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