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Simply put, probiotics are good bacteria and other microorganisms that help maintain your inner microbiome and balance your gut. These supplements can help alleviate gastrointestinal conditions and even improve acne and allergies. Sounds simple enough, but there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to choose the best one for you—unless you know what to look for.
When choosing a probiotic, you want to check for diversity and potency. Diversity is the number of bacterial strains in the probiotic supplement and potency is the amount of live bacteria, which is measured in colony-forming units, or CFUs for short. These are the things that set the best probiotics, like the choices below, apart from the mediocre ones.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms that live naturally in your body and contain live bacteria and yeasts beneficial for your digestive system. When taken as a supplement, they can potentially help improve digestion, clear acne, and boost immunity.
Here, the best probiotics to consider adding to your daily routine.
Designs for Health is a professional line of supplements with a robust science team full of doctors, nutritionists, and other health experts who work together to create high-quality products with minimal ingredients.
The Probiotic Supreme DF contains 15 billion CFUs and a proprietary blend of bacterial strains (eight, to be exact) that are designed to survive harsh stomach acid and make it all the way to your large intestine, where the bacteria belong. Another thing that sets this probiotic apart is that it’s completely dairy-free, unlike many other probiotics out there, and you only have to take one capsule per day. Easy-peasy.
The Raw Probiotics Ultimate Care contains a whopping 100 billion CFUs from 34 different bacterial strains, making it one of the most potent and diverse probiotic supplements you can buy. The combination of bacteria is thoughtfully chosen to support immune health, replenish the good bacteria in your digestive tract, and help improve your digestion.
In addition to good bacteria, it also contains a digestive enzyme blend that helps you break down proteins, so you don’t feel like your last meal is just sitting in your gut.
With 25 bacterial strains and 75 billion CFUs per serving, the Global Healing Center’s Floratrex isn’t quite as potent as the Raw Probiotics by Garden of Life, but it’s definitely up there. It also includes prebiotics—special fibers that feed the good bacteria, helping them grow and multiply—and four bacteriophages, which are tiny viruses that infect bad bacteria (without harming good bacteria) to totally balance your gut.
Global Healing Center is so confident you’ll love its probiotics that they’re backed by a “Year to Love It” guarantee. If they don’t make your life better—those are Global Healing Center’s exact words—you can get your money back.
It’s hard to trust your gut when your bacterial balance is thrown off, but these vegan probiotic capsules from Ora Organic help get you back on track. Each two-capsule serving contains 16 billion CFUs and six bacterial strains that are proven to be some of the most acid-resistant and well-studied strains in the world.
The probiotics are combined with prebiotics, making it a truly all-in-one supplement for gut health. Because these capsules are vegan-friendly, they don’t contain any dairy and are also free of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Synbiotic is the official term for supplements that combine probiotics and prebiotics, and the Seed DS-01 is one of the best synbiotics out there. It combines 24 bacterial strains and 400 milligrams of prebiotics for a total of almost 54 billion AFUs—or active bacteria—per dose.
And all of that goodness is packaged into a 2-in-1 nested capsule that protects the probiotics from stomach acid and other digestive juices that can kill them. The specialized capsule also shields the probiotics from oxygen, moisture, and heat so you can be a little less careful about how you store them.
One of the best parts is that Seed is a subscription model, so a fresh supply will arrive on your doorstep every month without any extra effort on your part (you can skip or cancel any time).
HUM Nutrition Gut Instinct combines a proprietary 10-strain blend of probiotics into a once-a-day capsule that’s designed to reduce bloating, help with constipation, and support your immune system. Each high-potency serving has 25 billion CFUs and is totally free of all major allergens, including gluten, soy, dairy, and wheat.
While the price is already fair, HUM Nutrition also offers an extra 15 percent off if you buy three bottles (or combine any three supplements) at a time. And if you're looking for other options, check out HUM's entire line of supplements for everything from immune boosts to clearer skin.
The SBO in Ancient Nutrition’s SBO Probiotics stands for “soil-based organisms,” which are thought to be more resistant to stomach acid and better at surviving the harsh journey through the stomach and to the intestines. Each two-capsule serving delivers 50 billion CFUs and four strains of SBOs that are shown to relieve gas and bloating, reduce constipation, and support healthy digestion and immune function.
Thorne's FloraMend Prime Probiotic isn’t as diverse as some of the others on this list—each capsule contains three different bacterial strains—but it was designed to provide the right balance of good bacteria to support your immune and digestive systems and help you maintain a healthy weight. Each one capsule daily dose provides 5 billion CFUs of these highly-bioavailable bacterial strains.
If you’ve taken probiotics before and noticed that your symptoms got worse, this is an excellent probiotic to help ease your gut in without any uncomfortable side effects.
The Moon Juice Probiotics are the only powder option on this list—although you can open up any of the capsules and take them as a powder, if you want. Each teaspoon contains 5 billion CFUs and four strains of probiotics that support your gut health, thereby helping you combat sugar cravings, increase your energy, improve your mood, and make your skin look and feel better.
You can add the water-soluble powder to any liquid drink, including water, or mix it into smoothies, juices, and even your iced latte. It also makes a great starter for your own homemade fermented foods, like coconut yogurt or kefir.
When it comes to gut health, Organic Olivia’s Not Your Average Probiotic is a triple threat. It combines probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented digestive enzymes—a combo that repopulates your gut with good bacteria, destroys pathogenic (or bad) bacteria, and helps balance your gut pH—into one capsule. This makes these probiotics especially great for traveling, since eating foods outside your norm can leave your stomach feeling kind of funky.
Each individual capsule contains 20 billion CFUs from 16 different bacterial strains, all of which are micro-encapsulated so they can safely make the journey from your mouth to your intestines without getting destroyed by your harsh stomach acid.