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Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Seed Daily Synbiotic
Seed
Daily Synbiotic
Check Price
Pre- & Probiotic
Bottom Line

A unique capsule that contains both prebiotics and probiotics to maximize gut health.

Pros

Supports gut barrier function and immune health, gastrointestinal well-being, heart and skin health, and synthesis of micronutrients. Formulated to ensure that healthy cultures make it safely to the gut and colon to work effectively. Advanced benefits support whole-body health.

Cons

Can only be purchased as a subscription.

Best Bang for the Buck
HUM Nutrition Gut Instinct
HUM Nutrition
Gut Instinct
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Multifaceted Health
Bottom Line

A blend that supports not only your gut but also your skin and immune system.

Pros

Has 25 billion cultures from acid-resistant strains chosen to support gut, immune system, and skin health. Can take any time of day. Non-GMO and sustainably sourced. Improves energy and digestive balance.

Cons

Not as many cultures as some similarly priced products.

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic
Renew Life
Ultimate Flora Probiotic
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High Potency
Bottom Line

This potent, scientifically backed blend of gut flora made by a trusted brand will boost your digestive and immune health.

Pros

Contains 100 billion live cultures from probiotic strains proven to promote digestive health and balance. Delayed-release capsule ensures the capsule reaches your gut. Pure, high-quality ingredients.

Cons

Some users felt that taking 2 capsules a day increased their effectiveness.

Culturelle Health and Wellness Probiotic
Culturelle
Health and Wellness Probiotic
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

This formula will help set your gut bacteria straight without a huge financial expenditure.

Pros

Works to support immune and digestive wellness with 15 billion active cultures. Scientifically backed strains for effectiveness. No refrigeration required. Non-GMO and gluten-free.

Cons

Some report that it takes a while to notice any difference from taking these.

Garden of Life RAW Probiotics
Garden of Life
RAW Probiotics, Ultimate Care
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Potent Formula
Bottom Line

This high-potency formula promises 85 billion CFU, making it one of the most potent products on the market.

Pros

These vegetarian capsules are comprehensive, non-GMO, and gluten-free. This whole-food supplement promotes vaginal, digestive, and immune health. It also delivers dairy-digestive enzymes which can help break down lactose and casein.

Cons

These capsules cost a little bit more than the other options on our shortlist.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Models
Considered
110
Consumers
Consulted
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Researched
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Buying guide for Best probiotics

The human body houses trillions of bacteria that work to keep it functioning at an optimal level. Probiotics are wellness supplements that introduce additional good bacteria to your system. These supplements are claimed to provide a multitude of health benefits, from clearing your skin to losing weight to improving brain function.

Most good bacteria live in the intestines. In fact, this is where the bulk of your immune system is housed. At times, the good bacteria in your digestive tract can become depleted, opening the door for bad bacteria to come in and take over. By introducing a probiotic supplement, you can help replenish the good bacteria to keep your body functioning the way it should.

Different strains of probiotics do different things, but none of them will do you any good unless the bacteria cultures are live and unexpired. Potency is another issue you should pay attention to. If you’d like some help sorting out the different probiotics available today, read on for more information.

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Probiotics help produce enzymes that your body needs to break down and absorb foods efficiently.

Common probiotic strains

Most probiotic supplements don’t come with a single strain of bacteria. In fact, there may be seven or more strains in one supplement. This diversity is a good thing because each type of bacteria helps your body in a different way. Here are some of the most common types of bacteria you can expect to find in a probiotic supplement.

Bifidobacterium bifidum

B. bifidum is another popular immune-boosting bacteria. Its effects are similar to L. acidophilus: it can help optimize digestion and may even protect against certain intestinal pathogens. Some studies suggest that B. bifidum helps improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lactobacillus rhamnosus

L. rhamnosus is a favorite among travelers because it may help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. It also shows promise in soothing chronic skin conditions like eczema.

"Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. However, most people do not consume these foods on a regular basis. Even if you do, you may not be getting as much as you need – particularly if you just finished a round of antibiotics."
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Lactobacillus acidophilus

Perhaps the most common type of probiotic, L. acidophilus is a hardy bacteria that can help boost your immune system. It also helps with the digestion and absorption of foods. Many people who are lactose intolerant report improved digestion of dairy products when they introduce L. acidophilus into their diets.

Bifidobacterium longum

B. longum can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. It may also promote regularity, so if you suffer from constipation, you may wish to consider it. Some studies also suggest that it can help improve brain function by decreasing cortisol levels and improving memory.

 

What to look for on the label

Live cultures

It’s important to make sure that the bacteria in the probiotic you choose are alive. Otherwise, the supplement won’t do you any good. Check the label for a phrase like “Live bacteria viable through end of shelf life.” This means that the bacteria are alive and, provided they are stored properly, will remain so through the expiration date listed on the product.

Expiration date

Most probiotics are designed to be taken once per day. Verify the number of pills in one bottle to make sure the expiration date is at least that far out. Otherwise, you’ll be paying for a product that you won’t be able to use.

Number and type of strains

The best probiotics include multiple strains of good bacteria. Examine the nutrition label to see how many strains – and which types – are included. Are these the strains you need for your particular health concerns?

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For your safety
If a probiotic is meant to be stored in the refrigerator, it’s crucial that you don’t leave it out on the counter for too long. Doing so could cause the bacteria to die more quickly, effectively rendering the pill useless.
STAFF
BestReviews

Potency

To determine potency, look at the total colony-forming units (CFUs) in your probiotic. As a general rule, a basic probiotic should have a minimum of 1 billion CFUs per pill – and you can go as high as 10 billion CFUs per pill. There’s no need to go higher than this for everyday use, but if you have a special circumstance, such as being on antibiotics, you may want to look for a probiotic that has as much as 50 billion CFUs per pill.

Storage information

Most probiotics should be stored in the refrigerator, but there are some that can be safely stored at room temperature. One of these will be a better fit for you if you’re going to be traveling and don’t have access to a fridge or cooler. Be sure to find out the recommended storage method (refrigerated/not refrigerated) before you buy.

Third-party certification

Though not crucial, a third-party certification can help you feel confident that the probiotic you’re choosing will live up to the potency listed on the label. Not all probiotic manufacturers go through the certification process because it is expensive, but if you’re particular about which supplements you take, it’s best to look for one that is either USP verified or NSF certified for purity and potency.

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Expert Tip
The bacteria in your probiotic aren’t likely to survive past the expiration date on the bottle. Don’t assume that they will; instead, buy a bottle with a pill count and expiration date that suit your needs.
STAFF
BestReviews

Probiotic prices

Probiotics range in price from approximately $0.20 to $0.85 per pill.

Cost depends somewhat on potency and the number of strains included, but a higher per-pill cost isn’t always indicative of better quality.

Some probiotics cost $0.80 per pill for a single strain of bacteria while others have five or more strains and cost around $0.25 per pill. In short, you should always consider the price of a probiotic in conjunction with its ingredient list.

Tips

  • Don’t wash down your probiotics with chlorinated water. Chlorine kills bacteria and may impact the effectiveness of your probiotic.

  • Take your probiotic on an empty stomach, preferably when you first wake up in the morning or before a meal.

  • If you have a weakened immune system or a severe health condition, talk to your doctor before adding a probiotic to your daily diet.

  • If your probiotic doesn’t require refrigeration, keep it in a cool, dark place where it won’t be exposed to a lot of sunlight or heat.

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It’s a good idea to take a probiotic while you are taking antibiotics and even for several weeks afterward to help your body replenish its supply of good bacteria.

FAQ

Q. Is it safe to take probiotics while you’re pregnant?

A. Studies suggest that taking probiotics may help boost your baby’s immune system. But as with anything, it’s best to consult with your doctor before adding a probiotic supplement to your health regimen.

Q. Do probiotics have side effects?

A. Most of the time, they do not – but it is possible. You may experience mild constipation, bloating, or diarrhea when you first begin taking probiotics. This is usually temporary.

Q. What are the best probiotic strains to take while on antibiotics?

A. Antibiotics wipe out much of the bacteria in your body without discriminating between good and bad. While this can help get rid of bacterial illnesses, it can also deplete your immune system, which may take a while to recover. Probiotics, particularly those strains that are known for boosting immunity, can help speed up this process. It’s a good idea to start taking probiotics with your antibiotics and continue taking them for about a month afterward to ensure that your good bacteria returns to a healthy level.

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