As a Registered Dietitian, I always say that the gut is the center of your health. Your gut and gastrointestinal tract do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, absorbing nutrients that help support major functions in the body. Your hormones, skin, digestion (a.k.a. poop!), and even energy levels are all affected by your gut health. Literally trillions of bacteria live in your digestive track and they all play a fundamental role in your body. Although many of us think of disease and getting sick when we hear the word bacteria, not all bacteria is created equal.
Probiotics are known as the “good” bacteria, and are considered beneficial live microorganisms that can be found in certain foods as well as dietary supplements. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same or similar to the microorganisms that naturally live in the body. Probiotics have shown potential benefits in the treatment and prevention of several gastrointestinal-related issues such as diarrhea, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
The use of probiotics has quadrupled between 2007 and 2012 in adults, which has led to a swarm of different types of probiotic pills on the market. Unfortunately, most probiotics are sold as dietary supplements which are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Probiotics are generally recognized as safe, but you should always consult a physician before starting any new supplement regimen. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt and kefir are the most bioavailable forms of probiotics. Food should always come first, but if you have chosen to take a probiotic supplement, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking the right one.
When it comes to choosing a probiotic pill, there are a few key things to look for. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to choose a probiotic with at least 1 billion colony forming units (CFU). Different strains of bacteria have different effects, so it is always best to consult your doctor or gastroenterologist on which strains are right for you. Some of the most researched probiotics that have been found to show benefits include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.
We’ve rounded up a few of the best quality probiotics on the market that all offer substantial CFU counts and come in vegetarian capsules.
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Best Overall Probiotic for Women
Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women
Developed by Board Certified Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, this once daily women’s probiotic from Garden of Life is packed with 50 billion CFU and 16 probiotics to support digestion and your immune system health. Garden of Life always delivers quality products, and this probiotic in particular is gluten-free, dairy free, soy free, vegetarian, and Non-GMO Project Verified. We also love that the desiccant-lined bottle technology keeps this shelf stable and we don’t have to refrigerate it.
Best Value Probiotic for Women
Maximum Strength Probiotics
CVS recently launched their Tested to be Trusted program that requires third party testing of all vitamins and supplements sold in-store and online at CVS. This helps to confirm accuracy of the dietary ingredients listed on the supplement facts panel and confirms that their supplements are free from certain additives and ingredients. While other products on this list can be pricey, CVS offers their Maximum Strength probiotic with a 10 billion CFU count for a great price. They also offer a wide variety of different probiotics to meet your needs, including digestive probiotic as well as advanced probiotic gummies if you have issues swallowing pills.
Best High Potency Probiotic for Women
Ther-Biotic Complete Probiotics
The family of Ther-Biotic probiotics are robust, multi-strain blends that were developed with an emphasis on purity, potency, and performance. We like the Ther-Biotic Complete because it provides comprehensive gut microbiota support, and has a 12-strain blend with 25 billion CFU. They have powder and capsule options, and are produced under a strict quality management system in compliance with the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and third-party quality certifications.
Best Probiotic for Women With High CFU Count
Ultimate Care Probiotics
BlueBiotics has been a highly recommended and effective probiotic supplement for years. This is a full-spectrum probiotic and contains strains that are not typically available to the general public including Bacillus Coagulans and Saccharomyces Boulardii. Sixty-one billion CFU count is more than any other probiotic on this list.
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