Top Rated Probiotics

We aim to review all the top rated probiotics supplements on the market so that you don’t have to!

We’ll cut through the marketing hype and tell you which are worth taking, which are backed by scientific research, and which are a waste of money.

If you had to choose just one supplement to take every day then we would recommend a good quality probiotic. But you might need to experiment and try a few different ones to find out which is the best one for you. If you want to know how to choose a probiotic then read on to find out more.

For every probiotic supplement we review we will tell you the following Quick Facts:

 

Top Rated Probiotics

  1. Number of Strains – generally multi-strain probiotics are better than single strains.
  2. Colony Forming Units (CFUs) – this is a measure of the strength of the probiotic. Up to 10 billion CFUs is a low strength probiotic, 10-100 billion CFUs is medium strength and anything above 100 billion is a high strength supplement.
  3. Country of Manufacture – you want to look for a supplement manufactured in Europe, USA, Canada or Australia
  4. Price
  5. Delivery System – powder, pills, liquid, enteric coated etc.
  6. Whether the supplement contains Prebiotics as well as Probiotics

Read more about our Top Rated Probiotics

Our Number 1 Top Rated Probiotic Supplement: Elixa Probiotic 500 BILLION 

Our top rated probiotic supplement for 2016 is Elixa Probiotic. We believe all of our top rated probiotics are excellent choices but this one came out number one for several reasons. The first is that this probiotic is the highest strength on the market, delivering a punchy 500 billion CFUs.

The second is that it contains 12 well-researched strains of bacteria. It has a high proportion of bifidobacteria, which are the strains we want in a good probiotic for general gut health.

The third reason is the delivery system. Elixa uses something called Fortress-5 technology, developed by its founder Karl Seddon. This is what makes Elixa truly unique compared to other supplements on the market.

On top of this, Elixa is designed to be taken for just 6 or 12 days and does not need to be taken continuously like other probiotic supplements.

  1. Number of Strains – 12
  2. Colony Forming Units (CFUs) – 500 billion (very high strength)
  3. Country of Manufacture – UK
  4. Price ££ (mid-price)
  5. Delivery System – Capsules with Fortress-5 technology
  6. Prebiotics – Potato starch (resistant starch)

Our Top Rated Elixa Probiotic - Top Rated Probiotics

Elixa Probiotic is special for a lot of reasons. One of the top things about this brand of probiotic is that the founder of this supplement, an English guy called Karl Seddon, is hugely committed to his product, involved in all aspects of its production, and very active online responding to people’s questions and comments about the product.

You don’t find this level of commitment from many supplement manufacturers.

Click here to read more about Elixa Probiotic and to buy.

Our Number 2 Top Rated Probiotic Supplement: 5 Day Max Care 

Our number 2 top rated probiotic supplement is 5-Day Max Care Raw from Garden of Life’s Raw Probiotics range. This supplement contains 400 billion CFUs.

It also contains a huge number of different probiotic strains – 34 in total.

Our Top Rated Whole Foods Probiotic - Top Rated Probiotics

Top Rated Probiotics Brands

Our top rated probiotics brands are:

  1. Elixa Probiotic – Elixa make just one high quality probiotic supplement. It’s a multi-strain product with 12 strains, high in Bifidobacteria, and has the highest CFU count on the market.
  2. Renew Life – they have a range of probiotics for different genders and life stages
    Renew Life Ultimate Flora Womens Probiotic - Top Rated Probiotics
  3. Garden of Life and the Dr Formulated range – they produce Whole Foods Probiotics
    Top Rated Whole Food Probiotics - Top Rated Probiotics
  4. Dr Formulated Probiotics Range - Top Rated Probiotics
  5. Prescript Assist – Soil Based Probiotics
  6. VSL#3 – this is a strong probiotic for the treatment of IBS
  7. Mega Spore
  8. Klaire Labs
  9. Bifido Maximus by The Gut Institute
  10. Designs for Health

Elixa Probiotic

Elixa produces just one high quality probiotic supplement. The product contains 12 different strains of beneficial bacteria, and is high in both Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. Elixa Probiotic also has the highest CFU count on the market. It contains 500 billion CFUs per dose – this is 50 times more beneficial bacteria than the average probiotic supplement available. Elixa Probiotic claims to take effect within 3 days, which is much quicker than many of its competitors.

Renew Life

There are a range of different Renew Life probiotic supplements available, all designed for different genders, ages and specific needs. From those specially designed for the development of babies to those tailored for the over 50s, Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora supplements all contain high-potency live bacteria cultures packed inside delayed-release capsules to ensure the maximum amount of bacteria reaches your intestinal tract. The number of CFUs ranges from 1 billion up to 150 billion depending on the product you choose.

Garden of Life Whole Food

Garden of Life probiotics contain no artificial ingredients or fillers. The supplements consist solely of live nutrients, enzymes and beneficial bacteria that the producers claim are uncooked, untreated and unadulterated. Their range of products covers people of all ages, with specially developed probiotics for both men and women. Garden of Life’s high quality products each contain more than 30 strains of original beneficial bacteria, along with probiotic-created vitamins and minerals and dairy-digesting enzymes for improved intestinal health.

Dr Perlmutter Formulated

Dr Formulated Priobitics, developed by American neurologist Dr David Perlmutter, are another high quality product from Garden of Life. This supplement contains beneficial bacteria, enzymes and prebiotic fibre to promote good intestinal and overall health. There are a range of different probiotic products available, each developed with clinically studied strains of probiotic bacteria. This brand offers probiotics specifically for both men and women, and those designed with particular aims such as normal urinary tract functioning, improved mood or digestive health.

Prescript Assist

Prescript Assist’s soil-based probiotic supplement contains 29 different strains of beneficial microflora designed to imitate the diverse range of bacteria naturally associated with a traditional diet. The bacteria are packed inside a protective casing that ensures they do not become degraded by stomach acid. Inside the capsules you will find an abundance of Bacilus subtilis, a proven probiotic bacteria found in many traditional foods. Also included is a prebiotic formula that provides the bacteria with a food source once they reach the intestinal tract to encourage colonisation. This supplement has the backing of peer-reviewed, double-blind scientific studies – a testament to its high quality and effectiveness.

VSL#3

VSL#3 probiotic supplements are designed for good overall intestinal health, especially for individuals who suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), constipation or bloating. The formula contains eight different live lactic acid bacteria that have been specially selected and mixed at proportions to colonise the intestinal tract and encourage normal digestive functioning. For greater efficiency, the 450 billion bacteria in each sachet are freeze-dried so that they only wake up when they reach the intestinal tract – rather than being wasted as they pass through the digestive system.

Mega Spore

This 100% spore formula promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria, helps to protect against unwanted microbes in the intestinal tract and can also boost the immune system. Each daily serving delivers 4 billion cells for maximum absorption – currently the highest available dosage on the market. Mega Spore Biotic is also the first probiotic strain to produce a large amount of carotenoid antioxidants in the digestive tract.

Klaire Labs

Klaire Labs offers a range of high quality probiotic products, many of which contain high levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium beneficial bacteria. The supplements vary in their purpose, from supporting courses of antibiotic treatment to maintaining the normal, healthy functioning of the intestinal tract in the elderly. Of particular note is the Ther-Biotic line of supplements, which contain up to 12 different types of certified probiotic strains to support a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Each high-potency supplement delivers up to 100 billion CFUs in a single, convenient serving.

Bifido Maximus by The Gut Institute

Bifido Maximus is a dairy-free, gluten-free probiotic supplement containing five strains of freeze-friend beneficial microorganisms. This supplement comes in powder form, with each 0.8g scoop containing 200 billion CFUs to support gut health and encourage the re-colonisation of friendly bacteria in the upper and lower intestinal tract. This product is temperature stable for up to 3 weeks without the need for refrigeration and has been verified by independent laboratory tests. The CFUs are also resistant to acid, meaning they will arrive at the gut without being degraded as they pass through the stomach.

Designs for Health

The Probiotic Synergy and Probiotic Supreme supplements from Designs for Health each deliver 15 billion organisms along the entire intestinal tract. Each product features a blend of 8 different types of probiotic organism, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Scientifically-developed capsules protect the bacteria from being damaged during the manufacturing process, while being stored or when passing through the stomach. This means more live organisms reach your gut for the maximum possible impact.

 

Most of these brands produce strong probiotics with a high CFU count, and all of the brands we rate as the best contain multiple strains of bacteria.

Here are our Top Rated Probiotics for Women:

Click on this link to read more about the Best Probiotics for Women

 

How we Choose our Top Rated Probiotic Supplements

There are a huge number of probiotic products on the market today. Some are excellent but some are definitely not worth the money.

A common question is how do I know which one it’s worth spending my money on?

One of the best ways to improve the health of your gut is to eat fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut. However, not everyone has the time to make these, and some people don’t like the taste.

Commercially produced yogurt is nowhere near as rich in probiotic bacteria as homemade yogurt, so if you are unable to make your own then a good quality probiotic supplement will probably be beneficial for you.

We have done a lot of research into what is known about the gut microbiome, probiotics, prebiotics, fibre from foods and digestive health and we believe there are certain things that are important when choosing a probiotic supplement that will be right for you.

We don’t yet know everything there is to know about the gut (far from it in fact), so it’s important that we look at what the scientific research tells us.

This is why we’ve trawled through all the papers looking at probiotics  (so you don’t have to!)

Check our our Probiotics Research page if you are interested in any if the studies we’ve looked at.

These are the things we believe are important and which we use to help determine which probiotics go into our top rated categories.

Top Rated Probiotics Amazon

Amazon are usually the best place to buy probiotics simply because they carry such an extensive range, offer excellent prices and good shipping times.

Our Number 1 Top Rated Probiotic Elixa is not available to buy on Amazon and needs to be bought directly from the manufacturer, but all our other Top Rated Probiotics can be bought via amazon.com or amazon.co.uk if you are in the UK.

Top Rated Probiotics for Adults

We have written extensively about Probiotics for Women and Probiotics for Men. Most probiotic supplements are suitable for both men and women, particularly if you are simply looking for a good all round probiotic to maintain gut health.

Adults and children do need different supplements. Children’s supplements tend to contain the Bifidobacteria because this is what predominates in the gut of children. Most probiotics for adults contain a mix of Lactobacteria and Bifidobacteria.

If you are have a specific health problem you might need a specific strain of bacteria. Look at our articles on Best Probiotics for Different Conditions to find the best supplement for your specific health problem.

Top Rated Baby Probiotics

Babies need different probiotics to adults. Obviously they can’t take capsules so they need a probiotic powder or a liquid probiotic supplement.

Top Rated Probiotic Capsules

Our top rated probiotic capsules are the Elixa capsules. Elixa is designed to be taken as a 6 or 12 day course and there are 10 capsules to take each day.

Elixa Probiotic - Top Rated Probiotics

Top Rated Probiotics for Constipation

Look for a probiotic supplement containing Bifidobacterium lactis if you need a probiotic for constipation. This strain is well researched and may offer relief from constipation. All our Top Rated Brands contain B. lactis amongst several other strains.

Top Rated Probiotics for IBS

There are many clinical trials supporting the use of probiotics for IBS. You should choose a probiotic supplement that has research supporting its use for your specific health complaint.

Clinical trials are the gold standard of research because they look at probiotics in people with specific conditions and compare this to a placebo.

There are different types of Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

  • IBS-C – this is IBS with constipation
  • IBS-D – this is IBS with diarrhea
  • IBS-A – this is IBS with alternating symptoms
  • IBS and Bloating

Different probiotic supplements contain different strains, and different strains have been shown in trials to be beneficial for different conditions. In our article on Best Probiotics for IBS we explain in detail the different types of IBS and look at which probiotic strains are best for each type, taking into account the supporting scientific research.

All of our Top Rated Probiotics that you read about on this page contain multiple strains of probiotic bacteria at high strength, including all the well researched probiotic strains.

So you can be confident if you buy one of our Top Rated Probiotic Supplements that it will be a good start for helping provide relief from your IBS.

Top Rated Probiotics for Weight Loss

A 2014 research paper entitled The development of probiotic treatment in obesity: a review concluded “Analysis of the eligible articles pointed out that Lactobacillus gasseri SBT 2055, Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103, and the combination of L. rhamnosus ATCC 53102 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 may reduce adiposity, body weight, and weight gain. This suggests that these microbial strains can be applied in the treatment of obesity.”

So for weight loss it would be a good idea to look for a probiotic supplement that contains:

  • Lactobacillus gasseri SBT 2055
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103
  • And the combination of L. rhamnosus ATCC 53102 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12

About Good Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms or bacteria. These are “good” bacterial strains that benefit human health in many ways. This is according to the American Gastroenterological Association, or AGA. The AGA is an organization made up of physicians, researchers and educators. The primary practice of the AGA involves the functions and disorders of the digestive system.

Good probiotics survive within the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract or GIT). The human gastrointestinal tract is an organ/system responsible for the following functions:

– transporting and digesting foodstuffs

– absorbing nutrients

– expelling waste (harmful toxins)

The human body already contains large amounts of “friendly” bacteria. The majority of bacteria in our body is not harmful, though it’s not all super healthy either. There are actually over 100 trillion bacteria within your intestines at any given time. These weigh a little over three pounds (1.5 kg) in total.

The Source of Good Probiotics

It’s true; we can get moderate levels of probiotics from a healthy diet. However, this would have to be a diet that is rich in cultured or fermented products. Such foods would include sauerkraut, kimchi, raw milk, yogurt, raw and aged cheeses, kefir and buttermilk.

Consuming probiotic foods on a regular basis provides health benefits and can also offer a level of protection against detrimental or otherwise harmful bacteria.

For most of us, the best way to ensure we get adequate amounts of friendly bacteria is to take a probiotic supplement. It’s important to note, however, that not all supplements are equal. To get all the health benefits we need to take one of the best rated probiotics on the market. These are the ones from trusted brands with a reputation for excellence.

Probiotics are key elements of human health and general wellbeing. They help to restore the good bacteria population within the intestinal tract. But only the top rated probiotic products will be truly effective.

Some types of bacteria in substandard products may not survive the harsh stomach conditions. In this case, the supplements are useless, or close to it, and a waste of your money. Our aim is to review as many of the probiotic supplements on the market as possible, and tell you which ones are worth parting with your cash for.

The top rated probiotic brands on the whole provide multiple strains of bacteria at high amounts.

Why Take Probiotic Supplements?

To start with, most people do not get enough friendly bacteria from diet alone. You need to be eating fermented foods daily and most people struggle to do this. The way to redress this imbalance is to choose from the best rated probiotic brands. Top rated probiotic supplements provide beneficial bacteria that act as balancing agents for non-friendly bacteria. These are the pathogenic gut-bacteria, such as some strains of E. coli as an example.

When quality supplements help to redress an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, great things can come to pass. We reduce the risk of certain diseases, which is reason enough on its own. But we also get to improve overall health.

This happens because good quality probiotic supplements help to strengthen the immune system. They also protect against the microorganisms which may cause diseases.

Probiotic Bacteria Living in the Digestive Tract

There are believed to be up to 1000 types of probiotic bacteria present within the digestive tract of the human body. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a friendly bacterium that exists naturally in the body. It is primarily in the intestines and the vagina. We can get amounts of Lactobacillus acidophilus in live cultured yogurt. Live cultured yogurt, or Greek yogurt, is made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep.

People who consume live cultured yogurt regularly get to enhance their probiotic profile. Probiotics research shows that live yogurts are effective at doing what they claim. They provide the desired results within quite a short span of time too. It’s true that pasteurization kills the probiotics in yogurt due to the heat emitted. This is not a problem because they add the healthy bacteria content, the good bacteria, back into the product after pasteurization. It’s important to check the label to make sure it states “live and active cultures”. When you see that, you can be sure the yogurt has probiotics.

A Solution to the Problem

Modern lifestyles see more and more people experiencing digestive health issues. Gut issues manifest in things like gas, cramping and diarrhea. Far too many of us put up with these complaints, though most of us don’t have to. We can treat a lot of these health problems with quality probiotic supplementation. Probiotics can also help to treat urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections (thrush).

The Problem with Antibiotics

There is an unhealthy relationship between antibiotics and good bacteria. What happens is that antibiotics unintentionally kill off friendly bacteria. So many of us take, or have taken antibiotics in the past; too many too often, some would argue! Couple antibiotics with inadequate diet and you have more good reasons to consume probiotic supplements.

When you feed your gut these organisms they facilitate better digestion. They also help to change and repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance your gut flora. Gut flora is the complex community of microorganisms living inside us all. Probiotics are certainly worth pursuing. They’re easy to get into your diet and can influence your gut flora in a positive way.

The other advantages of probiotics are to prevent the digestive tract from infections. You also get to control inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Studies are still ongoing with probiotics. Some findings are conclusive whereas others are not. We still have more to find out with regards to all the health benefits offered by probiotics.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are in simple terms ‘friendly bacteria’. They are sometimes referred to as live yeasts and healthy bacteria great for the body’s digestive system. The body contains lots of harmful and good bacteria; probiotics are considered “good” because they ensure the gut is healthy all the time. While probiotics are found in supplements and certain foods, they’re naturally occurring in the body of humans and animals. These friendly and good bacteria don’t only help digestion, but also protects the body from the scourge of harmful bacteria.

Prebiotics

It’s important to mention prebiotics, which are generally non-digestible carbohydrates and their role in the performance of probiotics. Prebiotics are the food that probiotics consume. When probiotics and prebiotics come together, synbiotic is the results. Prebiotics such as oligosaccharides are not digestible and able to pass across the upper gastro-intestinal system without being consumed by digestive enzymes, which do not spare other carbohydrates. In foods, prebiotics are found in artichokes, honey, garlic, onions, bananas and most whole grains. Today, prebiotics and probiotics are available as dietary supplements and added into a number of foods such as dark chocolates.

Scientifically, ‘probiotic’ refers to the “promotion of life” or “for life”.

What are some of the benefits of probiotics?

Why do you need to replenish probiotics?

Probiotics are important, especially after the body has lost good bacteria found inside the body mostly after an intake of certain antibiotics. They help to replace those that have been destroyed or lost. Probiotics are also critical in creating a bad-good bacterial balance within the body for optimal performance.

They have been found to confer a healthy benefit to those who use them according to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation). In 2001, FAO indicated that probiotics are live micro orgasms that, if administered adequately, bestow health benefits to the individual.

Once probiotic supplements are consumed the yeasts or bacteria they contain doesn’t die, but generally travels across the digestive system. They make the intestines or any other favourable part of the human body into a comfortable aboard. With time they evolve and offer the body a lot of healthy benefits. When nasty bacteria enter the body, these useful probiotics help in controlling and balancing them; this only happens if the body has enough of these good bacteria in sufficient levels.

Nonetheless, their existence is usually challenged by diverse habits such as stressful lifestyles, use of antibiotics and poor dietary habits. As such, there’s a need to introduce probiotics through different types of probiotic supplements to maintain this balance and benefit the body in various ways as mentioned.

Types of probiotics

There are all manner of bacteria categorised as probiotics with diverse benefits. Knowing the one that can benefit you better is important.

Lactobacillus

Of all probiotics, this is the most common. It’s generally found in fermented foods such as yoghurt. Lactobacillus strains help to deal with issues of diarrhoea as well as individuals unable to digest lactose, which is a sugar mostly common in milk and its products. Lactobacilli have over 50 species and mostly found within the genital, urinary and digestive systems. The lactobacilli usually found in supplements and foods include Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus casei, among many others.

Bifidobacterium

Also a probiotic group found in a number of dairy products among others, it helps to lower the symptoms associated with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) among a range of other conditions. Bifidobacteria are about 30 species and some of the colon’s healthiest bacteria. In breastfeeding infants, these probiotics appear days after birth; a great marker of a child’s intestinal health. Those found in probiotic supplements include Bifidobacterium, Bifidobacterium breve, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium pseudolongum and Bifidobacterium lactis, among others. Bifidobacteria have been found to have an enhanced glucose and lipids tolerance.

Streptococcus thermophilus

This type of probiotics is hugely significant in the deterrence of lactose intolerance. It’s highly effective because it produces lactase enzyme in huge capacities.

Saccharomyces boulardii

  1. boulardii as commonly known is the only probiotic from yeast and has been found to be highly effective in the treatment and prevention of traveller’s and antibiotic’s diarrhoea. S. boulardii effectively prevents C. difficile from occurring, effective in acne treatment and lowering H. pylori’s treatment’s side effects.

Leuconostoc

One of the oldest probiotics in use, it has been used for centuries. It’s helpful in processing food containing its metabolites, dead bacteria and live bacteria.

Enterococcus faecium

This type of probiotic is mostly found in animal and human intestinal tracts.

Important components of most effective probiotics supplements

There’re many things to look for while buying probiotics; the type of probiotics to the different strains the product contains. To get the best out of probiotics, check the benefits of the strains used and their history of effectiveness.

For instance, a quality probiotic supplement containing B. bifidum, B. longum and L. acidophilus is worth spending your money on. This is because L. acidophilus is Lactobacillus’ most critical strain known for colonising the small intestine walls-it supports the absorption of nutrients while helping with the absorption of dairy foods. B. Longum, on the other hand, is also found along the digestive tracts of most adults and ensures the gut wall remains healthy and highly active as a toxins scavenger.

Found in both large and small intestines, B. bifidum is very important in the health and effective digestion of different dairy products. As people become older the ability to naturally digest dairy products goes down. B. difidum can be used to rectify this problem, including breaking down protein, fat and complex carbohydrates in manageable components efficiently.

L. rhamnosus is also another type of probiotic for those who suffer from constant traveller’s diarrhoea. Another strain to watch out is L. fermentum, which helps in the neutralisation of various digestive by products apart from ensuring the gut has enough ‘good’ bacteria.

Essentially, these groups of probiotics are manifested in various types of probiotics available in the market today. They are usually sold in form of supplements, live probiotics, probiotic pills and capsules, probiotic powder, probiotic pearls, liquid probiotics and chewable probiotics.

Live probiotic supplements such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus, together with different live bacterial strains and prebiotics in a small amount, are some of the different helpful live probiotic blends available designed to affect certain areas of the body or even the entire gastrointestinal tract.

It’s worth noting that probiotics are a form of live culture though referring to live cultures as probiotics is not always right.

There are different types of probiotics in supplements found today.

Chewable

Chewable probiotics are mostly given to children. They are made up of various organisms made into a chewable format for convenience purposes, especially for kids and adults who find swallowing pills a real pain. Chewables can be used to reduce the frequent tummy problems such as digestive upset or diarrhoea keeping the user relaxed, healthy and happy.

Probiotics capsules/Probiotics pills

Usually found refrigerated or on shelves, probiotic supplements in pills or capsules form are one of the most convenient and easy to consume. Some probiotics don’t require refrigeration because some are freeze-dried organisms, packaged and sealed properly in sealed capsules and blister packs. Those that haven’t been refrigerated in this manner have to be chilled if the organisms or bacteria are sensitive to moisture and heat. Some probiotics are not moisture or heat sensitive such as the yeast strains, Bacillus coagulans.

Probiotic powder

Probiotics are also available in powder form, which are very popular and common in this state. This makes it easier to incorporate and use probiotics in all manner of foods and drinks at home from apple sauces, yoghurts, smoothies to juices.

Liquid probiotics

Mostly refrigerated, liquid probiotics are great for those individuals who are incapable of swallowing probiotic capsules and probiotic pills. They are also said to be the most potent and freshest of all probiotics. However, liquid probiotics are usually unstable if exposed to warm temperatures; travelling with some is a little problematic.

Probiotics pearls

Probiotics are only effective if they are safely packaged. Probiotic Pearls seeks to maximise delivery and survival in a unique design all the way to the colon. They are made using a triple-layer, advanced soft-gel to ensure the probiotics are not affected by stomach acid, air, moisture and heat as they travel to the colon where they are required most.

However, always choose probiotics supplements as per the health concerns you’d like to deal with. For example, the probiotic supplements men would go for are usually a bit different from those women would opt for.

Refrigerated vs Shelf-stable Probiotics – which are better?

When it comes to probiotics, it’s not a contest between shelf-stable and refrigerated probiotics. One cannot be said to be better than the other, considering the reason for refrigeration. Essentially, some probiotics are affected by oxygen, light and heat. These conditions affect their potency. Refrigeration makes sure these conditions do not destroy the probiotic supplements.

When travelling in areas where the safety of the drinking water cannot be guaranteed, carrying the right probiotics is very important. This is where shelf-stable probiotics come in. They are usually in blister packs and do not require refrigeration. Shelf-stable probiotics are able to withstand different conditions, including high temperatures. In most cases, you only need to punch out the capsule or pearl, swallow and get back to your business.

High quality shelf-stable probiotics are manufactured with a guarantee of the content as well as the expiration dates. While buying a refrigerated or non-refrigerated probiotic product, stick to one with the highest amount of probiotics, perhaps one with prebiotics as well. As such, you’ll be sure of healthy bacteria amounts. For example, if you are thinking about pills go for those with 1 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units) for every capsule, probiotic powder or pill at the bare minimum or 10 billion and above.

Strains of Probiotic Bacteria to look for in a Supplement

While choosing a probiotic supplement, think about the bacteria strains it has. It’s particularly important if you have a good idea about the effect of each of these bacteria and their importance in dealing with various conditions and enhancing the health of the gut.

Lactobacillus probiotics-L. acidophilus probiotics

Of all probiotics available today, L. acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus) is arguably the commonly used helpful bacteria. Once it has entered the intestines and broken down food, the results are a number of substances like hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid that create the worst surroundings for harmful bacteria. It’s one of the probiotics usually recommended for those taking antibiotics and at a risk of diarrhoea. The supplement is also recommended by health practitioners to deal with vagina infections such as bacterial vaginosis, prevention of diarrhoea, aiding digestion, chronic constipation treatment, enhancing lactose tolerance and treating inflammatory bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome.

Bifidobacteria probiotics-Bifido probiotics

Bifido probiotics are created from bifidobacteria that basically exist within the intestines. They are grown externally before being ingested through the mouth. These probiotics are used to deal with lots of conditions mostly related to the intestines, such as preventing children and infant diarrhoea, including adult traveller’s diarrhoea. It’s also used to restore the lost good bacteria balance within the gut that has been killed or removed by the action of antibiotics, chemotherapy, radiation and diarrhoea, among other causes. Pouchitis, ulcerative colitis and necrotizing enterocolitis among newborns are also conditions dealt with by bifidobacteria probiotics.

Bacillus coagulans and spore forming probiotics

Spore forming probiotics such as the Bacillus species have been widely studied, especially Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus cereus, among others. Bacillus coagulans is a bacterial species that forms lactic acid within the Bacillus genus. It’s critical in human beings for enhancing the vagina flora, bloating and abdominal pain, particularly in patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome as well as raising the level of immune response towards viruses.

As spores forming probiotics, they are heat-stable, which gives them an advantage over other probiotics that don’t form spores. They can be stored in a desiccated form within room temperature without affecting their efficacy. The bacteria spore easily survives the gastric barrier’s low pH, which doesn’t happen in other probiotics such as Lactobacillus. They don’t need refrigeration to store them while the dose of the spore forming probiotics will go all the way to the small intestine without being affected by anything. The spores have been found to exert immuno-stimulatory effect that ensures the gut is not colonised by harmful pathogens.

Saccharomyces boulardii

Commonly known as S. boulardii, this probiotic is not bacteria but yeast; once it has entered the body it works mostly as a probiotic. It has been recommended by physicians for a long time to help deal with cases of diarrhoea. The probiotic effectively regulates a person’s intestines protecting them from the scourge of pathogens including many other organisms that could destroy the lining of the intestines. S. boulardii also modulates diverse area of the immune system while ensuring the running and functioning of the intestinal barrier is uncompromised.

Intake of antibiotics is sometimes followed by diarrhoea, which also disrupts the helpful and critical good bacteria within the gut by flushing them out of the system together with the bad organisms. While it’s possible for the diarrhoea to stop after a couple of days, the results could be C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) colitis that might require the patient to be hospitalised. Intake of S. boulardii probiotic supplements has been found to stop the condition from deteriorating into diarrhoea. These probiotics are also effective in travel’s diarrhoea treatment as well as preventing diarrhoea among patients who are very ill and being fed through tubes.

Soil based probiotics

Soil based probiotics or soil based organism (SBO); refers to probiotic supplements created to work together with the human gut, possible through the understanding of helpful or beneficial bacteria and the body of a human being. They work together to promote the health of the system. Spore-forming or soil based bacteria fills the human digestive tract with organisms/bacteria that in turn flourish without a problem. They support the body by balancing the microbiome performing certain important functions like helping with digestion and supporting the immune system.

SBOs have a number of critical characteristics, such as a naturally resistant structure to the stomach and upper digestive tract surroundings. These soil derived probiotics are very stable and hardly require preservatives and special coatings to go all the way to the gut and its surroundings. They have natural shells preserving and protecting the spore against the acidic surroundings of the upper intestines and stomach, including terrestrial surroundings.

Once the probiotic microbiotas have been ingested, they travel until they have reached the lower intestine and immediately come alive again. The moisture and warm temperatures there are conducive for their growth. While they are formed from natural environmental bacteria, it doesn’t mean they are harvested from the soil and bottled for consumption; production takes place inside perfectly monitored and safe surroundings where the strain of the organisms is specified.

Since they are the most likely to reach the small intestine intact, Soil-based probiotics do not require a lot of CFUs like supplements made from lactic acid. They are effective at colonization of the gut more than others.

Whole foods probiotics

Whole food probiotics are one of the strains used to create probiotic supplements. The difference between whole foods and other probiotics comes down to one thing; growth medium. Essentially, probiotics manufacturing includes culturing or growing beneficial bacteria within a specific growth system that supports the organisms’ colonization. Live bacteria cultures are introduced to the growth medium selected with rich nutrients where colonisations starts right away. After introduction, the bacteria, through a special fermentation process, changes nutrients such as lactose into certain chemical compounds that come into use across the body and the digestive system.

Lots of probiotics in diverse nutritional supplements today are mostly cultured inside mediums mostly made from dairy; they are advantageous to the organisms, especially Lactobacillus species that exhibit a strong lactose preference. Most importantly, whole foods probiotics differ from other types of probiotic supplements since the growth medium used is natural foods.

The body is said to accept whole food probiotics easily than others. They are then broken down perfectly to make sure the by-products that results are smoothly and perfectly used by the body. In the whole food concept, the probiotics are hosted by a natural organic food medium rather than non-organic mediums or dairy based hosts. In the process, the bacterial organisms leave behind the healthiest compounds such as antioxidants.

Manufacturers who create whole food probiotics usually freeze-dry both the probiotic organisms and the chosen medium before encapsulating the product to ensure it’s protected from air and moisture. After the encapsulated probiotic supplement is consumed, the digestive tract digests it and soon the released bacteria are rapidly re-animated to start colonizing the intestinal lumen, fast.

Where to Buy Probiotics

There are many places to buy probiotics depending on where you live. The fastest and easiest place to purchase probiotic supplements is shopping online (we love Amazon) where all manner of probiotic supplements are available. You can also take a quick comparison of the various probiotic supplements on offer and choose the best for your condition.

You can also pop into a drug store closest to you and request probiotic supplements, particularly if recommended by a doctor. They are also found in supermarket shelves, refrigerated and non-refrigerated.

Be careful while buying probiotic supplements; go for probiotic products from trusted and verified manufacturers to be on the safe side. Take home probiotics good for your health. You can trust our Top Rated Probiotics as the best place to spend your money.

References:

  1. Benef Microbes. 2014 Mar;5(1):19-28. doi: 10.3920/BM2012.0069. The development of probiotic treatment in obesity: a review. Mekkes MC1, Weenen TC2, Brummer RJ3, Claassen E4.

Recent studies suggested that manipulation of the composition of the microbial ecosystem in the gut might be a novel approach in the treatment of obesity. Such treatment might consist of altering the composition of the microbial communities of an obese individual by administration of beneficial microorganisms, commonly known as probiotics. Here, we intend to contribute to the developmental process of probiotic treatment of human obesity. The aim is to review the evidence regarding the potential effect of probiotic strains on reduction of weight and body fat. A literature study was conducted focusing on clinical trials that examined the effect of specific microorganisms on body weight control. Analysis of the eligible articles pointed out that Lactobacillus gasseri SBT 2055, Lactobacillus rhamnosus ATCC 53103, and the combination of L. rhamnosus ATCC 53102 and Bifidobacterium lactis Bb12 may reduce adiposity, body weight, and weight gain. This suggests that these microbial strains can be applied in the treatment of obesity. Furthermore, short chain fatty acid production and low grade inflammation were found as the underlying mechanisms of action that influence metabolism and affect body weight. These findings might contribute to the development of probiotic treatment of obesity. Further research should be directed to the most effective combination and dosage rate of probiotic microorganisms.

KEYWORDS:

clinical studies; mechanism of action; metabolism; microbial strain; microbiota; obesity

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