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Best Probiotic Supplement Reviews Guide

Best Probiotic Reviews and Comparisons 2020 – Supplement Guide

Some of the best probiotic supplements combine prebiotics, digestive enzymes, and probiotic live cultures, in a formula designed to promote digestive health and boost your immune system.

Probiotics are a type of ‘good’ bacteria that can occur naturally in your intestines, but can also be found in many natural foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Health companies have also introduced dozens of supplements designed to boost your probiotic intake. This includes probiotics for kids, probiotics for men, and probiotics for women, which are usually found in capsule form or in specially formulated probiotic drinks.

But with so many different probiotic strains available, how do you know which supplement will give you the best results? Is any probiotic proven to assist with weight loss or memory function?

In this guide, we review some of the top probiotic supplements on the market. We’ve combined everything you need to know about the ingredients, health benefits, prices, and reviews in one place, making it easier to find the best probiotic for you.

What is a Probiotic?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system and overall health.

Probiotic drinks, yogurts, and supplements are now available to help boost your daily intake, and they’re often described as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria.

There are more than 20 different probiotic strains available, each with their own health benefits.

Top 10 Best Probiotic Supplements

After carefully reviewing 20+ of the best probiotic supplements on the market, we’ve carefully curated and ranked what we believe to be the top 10.

The selection was based upon multiple factors. The 3 most important were:

  • 1. Quantity of colony forming units (CFU) per serving
  • 2. Number of probiotic strains per serving
  • 3. Which probiotic strains were included

In determining the ranking, more weight was assigned to supplements with probiotic strains that are backed by multiple clinical studies.

1. Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 Probiotic

Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 50 Billion CFU per serving
  • 13 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and S. boulardi strains
  • 4 Bifidobacterium strains, 8 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Vitamin Bounty Pro-25 is also available (25 billion CFU)
  • Developed and tested in a NSF certified facility

2. NatureWise Maximum Care

NatureWise Maximum Care Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 30 Billion CFU per serving
  • 30 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. infantis, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. gasseri, and L. rhamnosus strains
  • 4 Bifidobacterium strains, 13 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • NatureWise Daily Care is also available (10 billion CFU)

3. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 50 Billion CFU per serving
  • 12 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. longum, L. acidophilus, and L. rhamnosus
  • 3 Bifidobacterium strains, 7 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Featuring Ultimate Flora delayed release

4. Vitamin Bounty Pro-25 Probiotic

Vitamin Bounty Pro-25 Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 25 Billion CFU per serving
  • 13 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and S. boulardi strains
  • 4 Bifidobacterium strains, 8 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 is also available (50 billion CFU)
  • Developed and tested in a NSF certified facility

5. Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra

Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4 Star Review Rating

  • 15 Billion CFU per serving
  • 13 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and S. boulardi
  • 5 Bifidobacterium strains, 7 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Contains a unique whole food blend with Homeostatic Soil Organisms (HSO)
  • Gluten free, vegetarian probiotic supplement

Garden of Life has several other probiotic supplements which may be worth considering, depending on the specific combination of probiotic strains you require. These are; Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Colon Care, Garden of Life RAW Probiotics 5-Day Max Care, and Garden of Life RAW Probiotics Ultimate Care.

6. NatureWise Daily Care

NatureWise Daily Care Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 10 Billion CFU per serving
  • 30 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. gasseri, and L. rhamnosus
  • 5 Bifidobacterium strains, 12 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Formulated with prebiotics to support digestion, and immune response
  • NatureWise Maximum Care is also available (30 billion CFU)

7. Nutrition Now PB8 Pro-Biotic

Nutrition Now PB8 Pro-Biotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 14 Billion CFU per serving
  • 7 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, B. longum, L. acidophilus, and L. rhamnosus
  • 3 Bifidobacterium strains, 5 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • No milk, gluten, or soy

8. Hyperbiotics Pro-15 Probiotic

Hyperbiotics Pro-15 Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 5 Billion CFU per serving
  • 15 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. bifidum, B. longum, L. acidophilus, L. gasseri, L. rhamnosus, and S. thermophilus
  • 5 Bifidobacterium strains, 9 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Hyperbiotics PRO-15 is released at consistent levels throughout the day

9. Dr. Tobias Deep Immune

Dr. Tobias Deep Immune Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4.5 Star Review Rating

  • 4.4 Billion CFU per serving
  • 4 probiotic strains
  • Includes B. coagulans, B. lactis, B. subtilis, and L. acidophilus
  • 3 Bifidobacterium strains, 1 Lactobacillus strains
  • 1 serving per day
  • Made in the USA according to cGMP standards

10. Nutrition Essentials Probiotic

Nutrition Essentials Probiotic Review

Review rating: 4 Star Review Rating

  • 1.1 Billion CFU per serving
  • 1 probiotic strain (B. coagulans)
  • One of the top probiotic supplements on Amazon (10,000+ reviews)
  • 1 serving per day
  • Made in the USA in strict GMP and FDA certified labs

Schiff Digestive Advantage and the Align Probiotic are also worth considering if you only need one very specific strain of probiotic in your supplement. They’re both bestsellers, with Digestive Advantage containing 500 million CFU of B. coagulans, while Align only contains B. infantis.

Types of Probiotic

Each probiotic is associated with one of 5 groups:

1

Lactobacillus Probiotic Strains

A major part of the lactic acid bacteria group. These ‘friendly’ bacteria normally live in our digestive systems, and is used for treating and preventing diarrhea in adults and children.

Lactobacillus probiotics are also used to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, and in the treatment of skin disorders, such as blisters and eczema.

  • 1. Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus)
    Supports digestion, particularly lactose digestion, and boosts the immune system by producing vitamins.
  • 2. Lactobacillus brevis (L. brevis)
    As a natural anti-inflammatory, L. brevis supports digestive health, and can also be used to treat urinary tract infection.
  • 3. Lactobacillus bulgaricus (L. bulgaricus)
    Creates natural antibiotics in your gut that fight invading organisms. It also releases acids that neutralize toxins and promote balance.
  • 4. Lactobacillus casei (L. casei)
    Improves digestion by lowering pH levels in the digestive system and restricting the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • 5. Lactobacillus fermentum (L. fermentum)
    Commonly found in fermenting plant material. At least one scientific study has identified specific strains of L. fermentum (strain ME-3) as being beneficial to preventing the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Some strains have also been associated with cholesterol metabolism.
  • 6. Lactobacillus helveticus (L. helveticus)
    A type of lactic acid bacteria found naturally in the gut and numerous bestselling probiotic supplements. Studies have been performed to determine the health benefits of L. helveticus. These have shown that daily consumption can lead to decreased blood pressure and a healthy gut balance. When consumed with Bifidobacterium longum (also found in Jarro-Dophilus EPS) L. helveticus can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This same combination has the potential to decrease stress-induced gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • 7. Lactobacillus gasseri (L. gasseri)
    Lactobacillus gasseri (L. gasseri) is a type of probiotic that’s found naturally in breast milk, and is naturally present in the human digestive system along with other Lactobacillus species (rhamnosus, acidophilus, etc.).

    Initial, small-scale studies have shown certain strains of L. gasseri (BNR17) to be beneficial to weight loss, reducing body weight and hip circumference for overweight adults. Further research, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, also found the SBT2055 strain of L. gasseri helped to reduce abdominal fat over a 12 week period. Additional health benefits of L. gasseri include support of a healthy digestive system, and balancing blood sugar levels.

  • 8. Lactobacillus paracasei (L. paracasei)
    Helps with fatigue, protects teeth from cavities, and many people also report it lessens the impact of environmental sensitivities.
  • 9. Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum)
    Produces L. lysine, an amino acid that supports calcium absorption, hormone production, and boosts the immune system. It’s often used as a remedy for IBS and Crohn’s disease, and can be found naturally in foods such as pickles, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables.

    As one of the most antibiotic-resistant probiotic strains, it’s also a great option if you’re recovering from illness. Can be highly effective at preventing soy related allergies.

  • 10. Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus)
    A gram-positive lactic acid bacterium that exists naturally in the human body, with the LGG strain being one of the most popular probiotics found in health supplements. Its health benefits include the prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections, and alleviating symptoms of allergies. LGG has also proven to be effective at preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in children and adults treated with antibiotics.
  • 11. Lactobacillus salivarius (L. salivarius)
    Fights unwanted microbes in the mouth and the small intestine. It’s considered essential for oral health. This strain, as do many, thrives when provided with prebiotic foods like banana, barley, tomatoes, and garlic.

2

Bifidobacterium Probiotic Strains

Normally found in the intestines, Bifidobacteria belong to a group called lactic acid bacteria.

Some of the probiotic strains that carry the bifidobacteria name include B. Bifidum, B. Breve, B. Longum, and B. Infantis. They’re a popular choice for anyone taking antibiotics, as they can help prevent the destruction of ‘good’ bacteria while the antibiotics kill the disease-causing bacteria.

Bifidobacteria are mainly used to treat health conditions affecting the intestines, as well as diarrhea in infants and children. As with Lactobacillus probiotics, Bifidobacteria can be used to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, and treat skin conditions such as eczema.

  • 1. Bifidobacterium bifidum (B. bifidum)
    One of the most common strains of probiotic bacteria found in the human body, mostly inhabiting the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. As one of the lactic acid bacteria, B. bifidum can be found in a range of fermented foods, including some yogurts and cheeses.

    Health benefits include prevention and treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), lung infections, constipation, and certain types of diarrhea. Some studies have also found B. bifidum to be beneficial to the immune system. It also eases digestion, plays an important role in allergy response, and encourages healthy looking skin.

  • 2. Bifidobacterium breve (B. breve)
    A strain of probiotic commonly found in supplements, which helps support a healthy immune system, and promote respiratory health. In one study, the oral administration of the A1 strain of B. breve helped to prevent cognitive dysfunction, indicating its therapeutic potential for preventing cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In a separate study, the B-3 strain of B. breve showed potential for improving metabolic disorders by exhibiting an anti-obesity effect (significant fat reduction observed after 12 weeks).
  • 3. Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis)
    Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis) is a type of lactic acid bacteria that occurs naturally in your gastrointestinal tract. Natural levels of B. infantis decline with age, which is when it becomes important to boost your body’s level of good bacteria with probiotic supplements. Increasing your level of B. infantis can provide numerous health benefits, such as relief from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lower levels of inflammation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • 4. Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis)
    A powerful strain of probiotic bacteria that occurs naturally in the gut. Health benefits include its ability to improve digestion, enhance immune function, and even fight tumor growth. As a type of bifidobacteria, B. lactis is commonly used for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea, constipation, and IBS. It has also found to enhance natural immune function in healthy elderly subjects in just 6 weeks.
  • 5. Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum)
    Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) is a type of “good” bacteria that’s found naturally in the human gastrointestinal tract, and one of 32 types of bifidobacterium. One study on a specific type of B. longum (strain 1714), found that people who supplemented with it improved their memory function, reported fewer cases of mild anxiety, and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the morning.

    Further research shows that B. longum has a powerful effect on boosting your immune system. The lactic acid produced by the bacteria also increases the acidity of the digestive tract, which helps restrict the growth of harmful bacteria.


3

Streptococcus

  • 1. Streptococcus thermophilus (S. thermophilus)
    Streptococcus thermophilus promotes healthy tissue in the small intestine. It discourages nitrates, like those in spinach, celery, and cured meats from turning into harmful nitrites. And, it breaks down a protein in cheeses, casein, which is known to cause allergies.

    Although widely consumed in fermented dairy products, it’s rarely used as a probiotic product on its own. One health benefit of this probiotic strain is that it produces lactase, which helps people who are lactose intolerant to digest milk more efficiently.


4

Bacillus Probiotic Strains

Some of the most popular Bacillus probiotics include Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus Coagulans, and Bacillus Clausii.

Bacillus strains are designed to be transient, and can currently be found in proprietary blends as well as their own supplements (PerfectPass Probiotic).

Taking B. subtilis as an oral probiotic in high enough quantities restores the normal digestive flora following illness or the use of antibiotics.

Unlike Lactobacillus-type probiotics, spores of bacillus are often referred to as dormant life forms.

Several scientific studies have been published detailing the effective treatment of gastrointestinal infections with Bacillus bacteria. This dates back to France in 1950 and a study in May 1959, which looked at how spores of Bacillus performed during therapy with antibiotics.

These bacteria are known as highly effective producers of biotechnologically important products – antibiotics, enzymes, vitamins, amino acids.

  • 1. Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis)
    A gram-positive bacterium that’s found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. Several health benefits have been identified through initial studies. The results show B. subtilis may be beneficial for decreasing weight gain and alleviating oxidative stress, reducing the rate of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in patients, and reducing the frequency of respiratory infections in the elderly.
  • 2. Bacillus coagulans (B. coagulans)
    A strain of bacteria that produces lactic acid and offers a range of health benefits. This includes treatment and prevention of diarrhea and IBS, and to strengthen your immune system. Taking antibiotics at the same time as B. coagulans can reduce the benefits, which is why if you’re taking antibiotics, they should be taken 2 hours either side of the probiotic.

5

Saccharomyces boulardii

S. boulardii is another of the transient microorganisms, meaning it can pass through the digestive system without binding to the gut wall lining.

This is another of the yeast types that’s useful for treating and preventing diarrhea, including rotaviral diarrhea in children. It’s also used to improve general digestion problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel syndrome (Crohn’s disease), and Lyme disease.

Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of yeast (probiotic) that helps fight off disease-causing organisms in the gut.

Who Should Take Probiotics?

Probiotics are a great way to help maintain bacterial balance. This means they can beneficial to anyone as a pre-emptive health check, rather than simply a solution to existing digestive issues, such as diarrhea.

By taking a probiotic supplement every day, you’re helping to maintain the healthy bacterial flora in the intestinal tract. This is something that can easily be altered by increased stress levels, changes in diet, and antibiotics, amongst other factors.

Probiotics can also be beneficial when your body’s normal bacterial balance is interrupted, due to stress, illness, travelling, or taking antibiotics.

Best Way to Take Probiotic Supplements

If you don’t have access to probiotic supplements, one of the best ways to replenish and maintain healthy bacterial flora in the digestive system is the consumption of fermented foods and drinks.

Some of the best probiotic foods include:

  • 1. Yogurt
  • 2. Kefir
  • 3. Sauerkraut
  • 4. Tempeh
  • 5. Kimchi
  • 6. Miso
  • 7. Kombucha
  • 8. Natto
  • 9. Pickles
  • 10. Raw cheese

Some of the best probiotic drinks include:

  • 1. GoLive Probiotic Water – Contains 15 probiotic strains and 15 billion live cultures.
  • 2. Green Valley Whole-Milk Kefir – Contains 11g of protein per serving, and a range of probiotic cultures, including L. casei and L. acidophilus.
  • 3. Siggi’s Swedish Style Filmjölk – Each serving contains 8g of protein and 1 billion live probiotic cultures
  • 4. Chobani Drink – Contains S. Thermophilus, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei.

However, it’s not always easy to monitor how much of these foods and drinks you’re consuming. It’s also difficult to guarantee the strains, and you might not even enjoy the taste of these foods.

This is where a probiotic supplement can be useful.

Some of the best probiotic supplements contain multiple strains, and unless they use a proprietary blend, you can clearly see which types are included.

Most probiotics are in capsule form, but if you’re vegetarian it’s important to go for the ones that use veggie caps rather than glycerin.

Some of the best probiotics contained in veggie caps are Vitamin Bounty Pro-50 and Dr. Tobias Optimum Probiotics. The bestselling Hyperbiotics PRO-15 supplement is also suitable for vegetarians, and contains no yeast, soy, gluten, or wheat.

Probiotic drinks are also available, such as Ultimate Flora from Renew Life, but they don’t tend to be as popular as the capsules.

Probiotic yogurts are more popular than the drinks, but they’re not as practical as the capsules. With capsules or tablets it’s often easier to include them as part of a morning routine alongside any other daily supplements, such as multivitamins or glucosamine.

Whereas many supplements like protein powder and glutamine are regularly found in powder form, we’re yet to see a successful probiotic powder. This is because the probiotics need to progress to a certain stage in the digestive system before becoming active, hence the need to protect them with a dissolving capsule.

Difference Between Probiotic and Prebiotic?

Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria designed to maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system by limiting the growth of ‘bad’ bacteria. In comparison, prebiotics are not digested by the human body, but by gut bacteria.

Prebiotics support the growth of healthy bacteria already in the intestine, whereas probiotics are supplying you with completely new bacteria to quickly restore any imbalances.

Foods rich in prebiotics include oatmeal, bananas, legumes, honey, and asparagus. Unfortunately, there isn’t any food that contains both prebiotics and probiotics, which is where a combination supplement like Zenwise Labs Digestive Enzymes can prove useful.

A recent study has also suggested that dietary prebiotics can improve sleep and buffer the physiological impacts of stress.

Health Benefits of Probiotic Strains

Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

  • B. Coagulans
  • B. Infantis
  • B. Longum
  • E. Faecium
  • L. Acidophilus
  • L. Bulgaricus
  • L. Helveticus
  • L. Paracasei
  • L. Plantarum
  • L. Rhamnosus GG
  • S. Boulardii
  • S. Thermophilus

Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • B. Infantis
  • E. Faecium
  • Escherichia coli Nissle
  • L. Helveticus
  • L. Plantarum
  • L. Rhamnosus GG
  • L. Acidophilus
  • S. Boulardii

Assist with Weight Loss

  • B. Subtilis
  • L. Gasseri (BNR17)

How to Choose a Good Probiotic Supplement

When searching for the best probiotic for your dietary health requirements, it’s important to consider 5 important points:

  • 1. How many organisms will be alive by the use-by date?
  • 2. What’s the daily recommended dose? – Most supplements will be 1 serving per day, though some require you to build up to 3 servings.
  • 3. The company name and contact information – Who produces the supplement? Do they have a customer service number in the U.S. and can you contact them easily?
  • 4. The specific probiotic strains included – Research has shown that multiple strain probiotics are more effective than those that contain a single strain, but each strain has its own health benefits.
  • 5. Additional ingredients – Base your decision almost solely on the CFU per serving and number/type of probiotic strains. Don’t worry too much about probiotics that also contain a prebiotic dose.