What is the best women’s probiotic?
There are 100 trillion microorganisms living in your digestive tract. And not all of them are bad for you. Probiotics are good bacteria that promote a healthy digestive system, which increases your body’s defenses against disease and may help prevent yeast infections.
There is a wide variety of women’s probiotic supplements. For its effectiveness in improving digestive health and preventing yeast infections, the best women’s probiotic is the Garden of Life Doctor Formulated Once Daily Women’s Probiotics.
What to know before you buy a women’s probiotic
What are probiotics?
The digestive system is home to trillions of tiny life forms. Some viruses, yeast and bad bacteria can cause infections and illnesses. Other bacteria are beneficial and improve gut flora. Probiotics are bacteria that lower the colon’s pH level, making it harder for bad bacteria and yeast to populate, according to the National Institutes of Health. So you may be able to improve digestive health with a boost of beneficial bacteria.
What are probiotic strains?
There are many probiotic strains with long Latin names that can be confusing, such as lactobacillus acidophilus or bifidobacterial longum. Each name refers to the specific genus and species. Don’t let the names overwhelm you. Instead, focus on the variety of strains in the supplement. Diversity is best, as supplements with many strains offer a comprehensive approach to digestive health.
Make sure that the label of your women’s probiotic supplement clearly lists the strains that are included. If the label doesn’t list the strains by name, you won’t be able to ensure that the strains are ones found in normal gut flora.
How many CFUs do I need?
The amount of probiotic bacteria is presented as colony-forming units. Most probiotic supplements have 10 to 25 billion CFU. Expensive specialty probiotic supplements have between 500 billion to 1 trillion CFU. Your health care provider can help determine the quantity of CFUs that is best for you.
What to look for in quality women’s probiotics
There are four main forms of women’s probiotics.
- Capsules are the most common form due to their easy storage. They normally don’t require refrigeration, although it still helps extend their shelf life.
- Powders work well for traveling and can be mixed with water or your favorite drink.
- Chewables are ideal for people who struggle to swallow pills. They typically have fewer CFUs than capsules and will not last as long.
- Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, pickles and sauerkraut are excellent sources of natural probiotics. The CFU count is much lower in fermented foods than in supplements.
An enteric coating ensures that the maximum amount of probiotic bacteria is released. This polymer coating keeps the capsule’s contents protected from gastric acid as it passes through the stomach and then dissolves in the less acidic environment of the intestine.
Some women’s probiotic supplements also have prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the probiotics to help them grow once they reach the large intestine. Pay attention to the source of prebiotics, as some are made from wheat and could cause discomfort in gluten-sensitive users.
Unless the probiotic packaging says otherwise, purchase refrigerated probiotics. Refrigeration increases the supplement’s life span.
How much you can expect to spend on women’s probiotics
Inexpensive women’s probiotics cost around $15 to $20, but these supplements may not last as long as more expensive probiotics. For $20 to $35, you can find supplements that have higher CFUs and focus on digestive health or fighting yeast infections. Probiotics that cost around $35 to $45 offer the highest CFUs and largest quantities.
Women’s probiotics FAQ
How can I help maximize the number of bacteria that get absorbed?
A. Take probiotic supplements on an empty stomach, since gastric acid levels will be lowest. Consuming fiber, such as onions and garlic, feeds the microbes and enhances their use.
Are there side effects from probiotics?
A. Women’s probiotics are safe. There may be an initial period of gas and stomach discomfort as the body adjusts to the infusion of beneficial bacteria, but it should last only one or two weeks.
Should I take probiotics if I am taking antibiotics?
A. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking probiotics during and after antibiotic therapy may reduce diarrhea and stomach discomfort. Since antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria in the gut, replenishing with good bacteria keeps the bad bacteria from overpopulating.
What is the best women’s probiotics to buy?
Top women’s probiotics
Garden of Life Doctor Formulated Once Daily Women’s Probiotics
What you need to know: This comprehensive probiotic is effective for digestive problems, yeast infections and cognitive clarity.
What you’ll love: Each capsule contains 16 probiotic strains and is high in prebiotic fiber. They are non-GMO, vegan and free of gluten, soy and dairy. They support the digestive and immune systems.
What you should consider: The container smell occasionally permeates the capsules.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and iHerb
Top women’s probiotics for the money
Vitamin Bounty Women’s Daily Probiotic
What you need to know: The probiotic strains plus cranberry contained in each pill are designed to support digestive, urinary and vaginal health.
What you’ll love: The 10 billion cultures plus key minerals are made to balance a woman’s internal pH. The capsules are extended-release to protect against stomach acid and deliver more cultures to the digestive tract.
What you should consider: The pills may cause mild stomach discomfort.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Purity Labs Probiotics and Prebiotics
What you need to know: This high-potency supplement is effective for the digestive system and supports skin, hair and nail health.
What you’ll love: Made in the United States, each pearl contains 90 billion CFU and has a patented delivery system to maximize absorption. They are non-GMO, vegan and certified organic without allergens or preservatives.
What you should consider: Some users reported that the supplement causes intestinal gas.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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