Probiotic Supplements: Do They Work, Safe To Use and Effective?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that may benefit a person's health. Some people prefer Probiotic Supplements over foods, but Erica Mesirov, MS notes that Probiotic foods are a better choice. Let's move forward and explore more about probiotics.

Disclosure: Every product is independently selected by our editors. Things you buy through our links may earn Health Insiders a commission. Learn more about our review process here.
Probiotics

Bacteria Bifidobacterium, gram-positive anaerobic rod-shaped bacteria which are part of the normal flora of human intestine are used as probiotics and in yogurt production. 3D illustration - Shutterstock Images

There’s a lot of buzz these days about probiotics. It seems we’re all lacking in these healthy bacteria.

So more of them can only be a good thing.

But is there any value in taking a supplement?

Well, the answer isn’t so easy.

But First, What are Probiotics?

“Probiotics are a mix of live bacteria and yeast that live naturally in your body. But, these bacteria are beneficial, “friendly bacteria,” says Ariana Fiorita, a registered dietician nutritionist at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

Probiotics are a form of bacteria that benefits your digestive system. There are two types of bacteria in our gut: the good kind and the bad kind. Everybody has both. But the balance of the two is what makes the difference.

Think of the kid’s game ‘cops and robbers’. Some of the bacteria are good guys. And some are bad guys. So the more of the good guys you have, the more they’re able to destroy the bad guys. And the good guys are what we call probiotics. A Study has also presented a document regarding ISAPP’s consensus meeting on the appropriate use and scope of the term “probiotic”.

 

What You Should Know About CFU in Probiotics

In probiotics, the CFUs are the number of viable bacteria in the probiotic supplement. CFUs are typically measured per milliliter or per gram. A supplement with 5 billion CFUs means it contains 5 billion probiotic bacteria strains. Are high billion count probiotics better that those with lower CFU? Not really, this is somewhat a myth and marketing strategy that brands use as a selling point to attract customers.

Who Benefits The Most From Probiotic Supplements?

The people who benefit the most from probiotic supplements are those who have too many of the robbers – aka ‘the bad bacteria”. When there aren’t enough of the good guys, the bad guys run rampant through your digestive system.

How do you know you have too much bad bacteria?

Well, there are a few significant risk factors for which you want to be aware of. These increase your risk of a bacterial imbalance.

If you’ve taken multiple rounds of antibiotics in your lifetime, you’re at increased risk. This is also the case for women who’ve taken long-term hormonal birth control. And if you’ve eaten a standard Western processed and high-sugar diet, you may also have too many bad guys.

What Foods are Good Sources of Probiotics?

“Probiotics thrive when an individual consumes adequate prebiotic-rich foods within a diverse diet,” says Ariana Fiorita, RDN.

Probiotics can be found in more than just supplements. They can be found in natural whole foods.

What foods are good sources of probiotics?

That would be any fermented food. Things like miso, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and tempeh. ISRN Nutrition has also cited the beneficial properties of Probiotics focusing on those available in food.

There’s a current trend for food manufacturers to supplement other types of food with beneficial probiotics bacteria. So you’ll now see probiotics in foods that never had them before like ice cream and sports bars. These foods have been enriched with probiotics.

But is getting these healthy bacteria from food enough? Or is taking it in pill form better?[1] Well that really depends on the amount of beneficial bacteria your digestive system needs.

Beneficial Bacteria in Probiotic Supplements

Probiotic supplements offer beneficial bacteria in the billions. So a low dose probiotic may offer one or two billion CFUs. A high dose supplement can offer something like 50, 60, or 70 billion.

Let’s compare that to what you find in fermented foods.[2]

A cup of sauerkraut will contain a few billion CFUs. The same goes for yogurt and miso. You get the idea. We’re dealing with a relatively small dose, which is excellent for people who already have a healthy gut.

But what if you need more?

If you’ve spent good amounts of time on medications, especially antibiotics, the chance goes up that you have a significant bacteria imbalance and you need a higher dose. And this is when a probiotic supplement can be useful.

We usually get bacterial imbalances from unnatural situations: things like high dose medications, high-sugar diets, and lots of stress. So finding everything you need just from whole foods might not work in this situation. This is when a supplement may be the answer.

How We Choose The Best Probiotic Supplements

Our team of experts works hard and is always transparent about the facts of the supplements and why certain supplements are recommended by us. We provide all the reports and information about the supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We place a high value on certain product attributes such as product ingredients, product benefits, as well as research studies and customer reviews to narrow down the best probiotic supplements.

 

Overview of Our Best Pick of Probiotic Products

  • Best for Immune Health: Multi-GI 5
  • Best for General Health: Bio Complete 3
  • Best for Digestive Health: Complete Probiotic Platinum
  • Best for Personalized Probiotic: BalanceMD
  • Best for Metabolism: Gundry MD Energy Renew
  • Best for Overall Health: ProPlant Complete Shake
  • Best for Gut Health: 1MD GutMD
  • Best Nutritional Probiotic: Morning Complete by Activated You
  • Best for Value: 1MD Enzyme MD
  • Best Pre & Probiotic: PrebioThrive
  • Best Plant-Based Probiotic: Gundry MD Lectin Shield
  • Best for Healthy Gut Lining: Gundry MD Total Restore
  • Best for Overall Wellness: Biome MD
  • Best Probiotic Blend: Primal Plants

How do you know if you would benefit from probiotic supplements?

Checking with your doctor or alternative health care provider is an excellent place to start. They can help you assess whether this would be a good option. And if you’ve had long-standing symptoms, you can always experiment with a supplement and see if it helps make things better.

Just make sure not to self-diagnose if you’re experiencing new symptoms. Many of the symptoms I listed as possible indications of a bacterial imbalance have a multitude of causes. And while most of them are innocent, occasionally the onset of one of these symptoms could indicate something more serious. That’s why you want to see a doctor first.

So do you need to take a probiotic supplement?

Now you know that the answer depends on you. If you haven’t already start paying attention to your body’s signs and signals. And that will help you know whether supplementing with beneficial bacteria might be the answer.

When it comes to CFUs in probiotics, quality overrides quantity. The strains that can reach the gut alive are superior to those that can’t. So instead of going for the product with super-high billions count, consider the probiotic strain quality. However, we do not mean that you should ignore the billions count altogether. In fact, the best probiotic supplements should have an average of 1 to 10 billion CFUs.

Probiotics with extremely high CFU count may have a negative impact on the digestive tract and users may experience stomach upset. Alternatively, the bacteria may be flushed out of the system without benefiting the digestive tract.


Multi-GI 5

 

Multi-GI 5 Reviews Buy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Immune Health

Multi-GI 5 is a 3-in-1 blend that claims to support digestive system. The Prebiotic blend supplements the body with nutrients to help digest probiotics. On its part, the GI health blend provides the body with nutrients needed to soothe and enhance intestinal lining. Lastly, the probiotic blend increases the number of healthy bacteria in the intestines.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Helps users easily opt-out of food craving
  • Brand:Unify Health Labs
  • Active Ingredients:L-Glutamine, Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Price:$69.95*
 

Multi-GI 5 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This product contains both probiotics and prebiotics
  • Most of the ingredients have scientific support to prove their effectiveness
  • Multi-GI 5 has a strawberry-lemonade that may appeal to most users

Cons

  • Product is quite pricey
L-Glutamine works to support body functions such as energy production, protein synthesis, and cell division among others. According to studies in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, glutamine is an important regulator of NO synthesis. Decrease in NO levels was associated with intestinal inflammatory diseases. Therefore, glutamine supplementation was found to be a promising remedy.
Lactobacillus gasseri species are usually used for kidney support, managing metabolic support, and cancer treatment and prevention. Clinical studies in the Journal of Clinical Pathology show that L. gasseri has inhibitory activity against H. pylori infection.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of Unify Multi-GI 5 powder in water or tea and take daily. There is no restriction on when to take so you can take when it is most convenient for you.


Morning Complete

 

ActivatedYou Morning Complete IngredientsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best Nutritional Probiotic

Morning Complete is a blend that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and essential nutrients. The prebiotic fiber blend works to improve chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. As for the cellular function and liver support blend, it claims to relieve anemia and constipation. And the antioxidant blend works to reduce inflammation and restore the balance of healthy bacteria.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:High in probiotics which could ease digestion
  • Brand:Activated You
  • Active Ingredients:Gymnema sylvestre leaf, Pomegranate peel extract, Probiotic Blend, Aloe Vera
  • Price:$49*
 

Morning Complete Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May have digestive benefits
  • May reduce harmful bacteria in the gut tract
  • Contains antioxidants thus may prevent oxidative damage

Cons

  • Aloe Vera in the formula may cause digestive distress such as diarrhea
Gymnema sylvestre leaf is known as a reputable herb in Ayurvedic medicine. An article published in the BioMed Research International journal claimed that G.sylvestre has multiple therapeutic effects on anemia, arthritis, cardiopathy, constipation, diabetes, diuretic, and osteoporosis among others.
Pomegranate peel extract is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. In a study published in the journal of Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, administration of pomegranate peel extract (PPE) was found to improve liver enzymes, inhibit lipogenesis, and reduce body weight.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of Morning Complete powder in a drink of your choice and take daily. The powder is easy to dissolve so mixing will be easy.


GundryMD PrebioThrive

 

PrebioThrive Dr GundryBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best Pre & Probiotic

GundryMD PrebioThrive
GundryMD PrebioThrive is a digestive restorative supplement works to reduce cravings and enhance satiety. By improving digestion, this supplement supports the balance of the gut bacteria thereby reducing stomach discomforts.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Ease constipation and gut discomfort
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:Flaxseed, Agave inulin, Galacto-oligosaccharides
  • Price:$79*
 

GundryMD PrebioThrive Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May help treat gut conditions such as constipation, IBS, and ulcerative colitis
  • May promote the growth of gut bacteria
  • May improve regular bowel movements

Cons

  • May cause side effects such as stomach upset, stomach cramps, constipation
Flaxseed helps to improve digestion. According to a research study by the Nutrients journal, flaxseed supplementation had an effect on microbial environment in the digestive tract. Other studies in the journal claimed that flaxseed increased the abundance of Bifidobacterium.
Agave inulin is claimed to expel toxins from the body. A randomized controlled trial in the Journal of Nutrition discovered that agave inulin supplementation altered the gastrointestinal microbiota composition and activity in healthy adults. It may also lower cholesterol levels and relieve constipation.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of PrebioThrive with water, or smoothie, or any other beverage. A scoop a day is the recommended dosage.


ProPlant Complete Shake

 

Proplant Complete Shake Dr GundryBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Overall Health

ProPlant is a probiotic product that is designed to improve gut health, more so, the leaky gut syndrome. This is a condition that compromises the intestinal lining thus letting toxins into the bloodstream. ProPlant claims to prevent this through reinforcing and maintaining the intestinal lining.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Elevates heart and brain health
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:Hemp Protein, Spirulina, Flaxseed
  • Price:$69.95*
 

ProPlant Complete Shake Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May support digestive and immune health
  • May improve mood and overall brain function
  • May boost energy levels

Cons

  • Without a healthy diet, this product may not work
Hemp can be used for fiber, food, and medicine. Recent investigations documented in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research provide insight which claims that cannabinoids have control of gastrointestinal functions such as inflammation, gut permeability, and dynamic interactions of the gut microbiota.
Spirulina is a blur-green algae that has strong antioxidant effects. Spirulina platensis has the ability to protect against high-fat diet induced metabolic inflammation. A research study in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine concluded that spirulina inhibits chronic inflammation and gut dysbiosis. It also modulates gut permeability.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of ProPlant Complete Shake powder to a glass of water or unsweetened coconut milk. For better results, use on a daily basis.


Primal Plants

 

Primal Plants IngredientsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best Probiotic Blend

Primal Plants is a concoction of four blends, namely: probiotic blend, digestive support blend, metabolic enhancing blend, and superfood greens blend. These blends work synergistically to improve the health of the digestive system.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Promotes good digestion and reduces gas and bloating; enhances skin health and appearance
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:Bacillus coagulans, Cinnamon bark, Fennel Seed; Green Tea Leaf
  • Price:$99*
 

Primal Plants Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May improve digestive health
  • May enhance the immune system
  • May support heart health

Cons

  • Available in only one flavor
Bacillus coagulans is a probiotic that produces lactic acid. A research article in the journal of BMC Gastroenterology concluded that Bacillus coagulans-based products are effective in enhancing quality of life and reducing gastrointestinal symptoms in individuals with post prandial intestinal gas-related symptoms.
Cinnamon bark extracted from a tree and is used for medicinal purposes. According to a review in the journal of Pharmacognosy Research, cinnamon bark was found to have multiple health benefits on inflammation, heart disease, lipid profile, blood pressure, and cancer among others.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of Gundry MD Primal Plants in water, green tea, or any other beverage of your liking. This product’s flavor is green apple.


Gundry MD Lectin Shield

 

Gundry MD Lectin ShieldBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best Plant-Based Probiotic

Gundry MD Lectin Shield is a plant-based supplement that works to support intestinal health, reduce gas and bloating, minimize food cravings, and promote overall digestive health.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Supports intestinal health; helps curb cravings
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:Sodium Alginate, Bladderwrack, Okra Extract
  • Price:$79.95*
 

Gundry MD Lectin Shield Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May improve the digestive system
  • May protect the gut lining from damage
  • May enhance the immune system

Cons

  • May cause loss of appetite
Bladder wrack is a type of nutrient-dense seaweed that claims to have medicinal properties. Seaweeds contain key nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and polyunsaturated lipids among others. Scientifically, this seaweed is identified as Fucus vesiculosus. According to a review in the Marine Drugs journal this species is an effective treatment for obesity and goiter.
Sodium alginate is a linear polysaccharide derived from alginic acid. In a study published in Food Hydrocolloids, sodium alginate was shown to have the ability to decrease the permeability of intestinal mucus. Alginate diffused freely into mucus, reducing permeability by a factor of two.

How to Use:
The recommended dose is to take 2 capsules daily with two of the largest meals of the day. To help your body adjust to the supplement, it is recommended to start with a lower dose.


Gundry MD Energy Renew

Energy Renew GundryBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Gut Health

Energy Renew is a potent formula that works to boost body metabolism. Through its ingredients, this supplement helps to maintain normal metabolism, accelerate energy, and eliminate brain fog.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Powder
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Supports a healthy metabolism; promotes alertness and clear thinking
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:D-Ribose, Bladderwrack, Nitric oxide boosters, Beet Root Extract, Acerola
  • Price:$79.95*
 

Gundry MD Energy Renew Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May promote cardiovascular health, energy, and vitality
  • May boost metabolism thus accelerate weight loss
  • May help increase recovery after workouts

Cons

  • May cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and headaches
D-Ribose naturally occurring monosaccharide present in the cells; is instrumental in energy production. According to an author manuscript published in the journal of Advances in Bioscience and Clinical Medicine, supplemental D-ribose improves cellular processes in cases of mitochondrial dysfunction.
Nitric oxide boosters important role in energy production, metabolic control, and mitochondrial respiration. Nitric oxide boosters or donors were claimed to have benefits on exercise performance as per studies in the Sports Medicine journal. However, these positive effects were only seen in untrained or moderately trained healthy subjects. For highly trained subjects, there were no positive effects on performance.

How to Use:
Mix a scoop of Energy Renew powder into 8 fl. oz. of water and take daily. This blend comes in a passionfruit-hibiscus flavor.


Bio Complete 3

 

Bio Complete 3Buy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for General Health

Gundry MD Bio Complete 3 is a supplement that focuses on enhancing immune health by improving digestive health. The key ingredients in this formula work to ward off infections and viruses.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Improves growth of gut bacteria; supports digestive health
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:CoreBiome™, Sunfiber®, ProDURA, Beet Root Extract, Acerola
  • Price:$80*
 

Gundry MD Bio Complete 3 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May support digestive health
  • May increase energy levels
  • May support immune health

Cons

  • An ingredient like tributyrin lacks adequate human testing
Tributyrin is composed of butyric acid and glycerol. A research article in the Journal of Immunology Research claims that butyrate has numerous biological mechanisms of action including anti-inflammatory and immunoprotective effects. Additionally, tributyrin depletion is associated with intestinal injury.
Sunfiber This is bean fiber produced through enzymatically fermenting the Indian guar bean. Sunfiber or partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG) is used to regulate gut function. A clinical trial in the Nutrients journal established that PHGG supplementation improved human stool form through regulating intestinal microbiota.

How to Use:Take a capsule twice per day an hour before a meal, preferably before breakfast. For better results, ensure to take the capsules regularly. It is recommended to follow the dosage as directed by the manufacturer.


Gundry MD Total Restore

 

Total Restore ReviewsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Healthy Gut Lining

Total Restore is specially formulated to minimize bloating, bowel irregularity, gas, and fatigue. It also helps to improve energy production and toxic elimination.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Ease bloating and the gas causes stomach discomfort; improves poor eating habits as it reduces cravings
  • Brand:GundryMD
  • Active Ingredients:L-glutamine , Licorice root extract, Acerola
  • Price:$44.95*
 

Total Restore Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May support weight loss
  • May promote healthy digestion
  • May improve mental focus and clarity

Cons

  • Some ingredients may cause allergic reactions
L-glutamine is the most plentiful amino acid in the body. According to a study in the Nutrients journal, glutamine is essential in the catabolic and hypercatabolic situations for metabolic function. Glutamine supplementation is also recommended for immune suppressed individuals.
Licorice root extract ingredient is scientifically known as Glycrrhiza glabra. Studies in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine established that G. glabra has significant prebiotic potential. This herb has the ability to modulate the gut microbiota thus improving colonic epithelium function, reducing inflammation, and preventing opportunistic infection.

How to Use:
Take 3 capsules daily. You can opt to take all the three capsules with the largest meal of the day or take 1 capsule three times daily (after each meal).


1MD Complete Probiotic Platinum

 

1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum ReviewsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Digestive Health

1MD Complete Probiotic Platinum supplies the digestive tract with 51 billion CFUs. These probiotic strains reach the stomach alive, providing the intestines with a diverse microbiota colony.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pill
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Prevents gas, indigestion, and bloating; inhibits toxins from entering the blood
  • Brand:1MD Nutrition
  • Active Ingredients:Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, NutraFlora prebiotic fiber
  • Price:$40.99*
 

1MD Complete Probiotic Platinum Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May provide gastrointestinal lining support
  • May improve nutrient digestion and absorption
  • May be safe for sensitive users as it is free from dairy, peanut, wheat, and shellfish

Cons

  • May cause unpleasant digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and stomach upset
Lactobacillus species, in this formula, there are 7 strains of Lactobacillus species. These probiotics may improve gastrointestinal function. A research study in the journal of BioMed Research International found that Lactobacillus species have the ability to change the population of gut microbiota and their functioning. Additionally, these probiotics are suitable for treatment in various diseases.
Bifidobacterium species microbes that colonize the human gastrointestinal tract. They are categorized as healthy bacteria since they have health benefits on their host. Bifidobacteria naturally occur in the animal gastrointestinal tract. According to a review study in the journal of Frontiers in Microbiology, bifidobacteria have health-promoting properties. These probiotic strains are incorporated as active ingredients in many functional foods.

How to Use:
Take 1 capsule on an empty stomach or between meals. Users with sensitivity concerns can take with a light meal.


1MD EnzymeMD

 

EnzymeMD ReviewsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Value

lMD EnzymeMD is designed to relieve discomfort associated with indigestion. It contains probiotics and plant-based digestive enzymes to improve digestion.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Support the natural breakdown and absorption of crucial nutrients; neutralizes the production of gas and toxins in the digestive system
  • Brand:1MD
  • Active Ingredients:Bromelain, Peptidase, Protease, Glucoamylase
  • Price:$35.99*
 

1MD EnzymeMD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May work to reduce occasional indigestion, bloating, and gas after eating
  • May support nutrient digestion and absorption
  • May contain 18 plant-based digestive enzymes

Cons

  • Results may not be as instant as desired
Bromelain used for its medicinal properties, cosmetic suitability, and meat tenderizing abilities. Studies in the journal of Biotechnology Research International demonstrate that bromelain has anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties. It relieves diarrhea, osteoarthritis, and cardiovascular disorders.
Peptidase is an enzyme that speeds up the breakdown of proteins into polypeptides or amino acids. In a study published in the journal of Frontiers in Microbiology, peptidase is claimed to have influence on metabolic, behavioral, and intestinal disorders. It mainly works to modulate protein digestion.

How to Use:
Take 1 to 2 capsules 20 minutes before a meal or as instructed by a healthcare practitioner.


1MD BiomeMD

 

BiomeMD IngredientsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Overall Wellness

1MD BiomeMD is a formula that contains probiotics, prebiotics, and CFUs. It works to improve digestive health by reducing oxidative stress.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Reduces chronic immune system stress; Boosts proper digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • Brand:1MD
  • Active Ingredients:HUM care4U HMO, Bifidobacterium Lactis HN019, Lactobacillus casei
  • Price:$34.99*
 

1MD BiomeMD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May enhance digestion and nutrient absorption
  • May promote bowel movements
  • May reduce diarrhea and other digestive issues

Cons

  • Results may vary from one user to the other
HUM care4U HMO is claimed to improve immune health. A review study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that human milk is rich in complex oligosaccharides that modulate intestinal microbiota. These bacteria strains are considered effective for a healthy digestive system.
Lactobacillus casei can modulate gut microbiota similar to species of its genus. According to a research article in PLOS ONE, Lactobacillus casei strains were found to alter the composition of the gut microbiota. However, not all strains have this ability.

How to Use:
Take 1 capsule once daily with a fiber-rich meal and a full glass of water or as instructed by your doctor.


1MD GutMD

 

GutMD ReviewsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Gut Health

1MD GutMD is a formula that improves gut health. It contains high-quality probiotics that increase the number of healthy bacteria in your gut. By improving gut health, it also supports general health and wellbeing.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Boosts the immune system function; supports the gastrointestinal movement
  • Brand:1MD
  • Active Ingredients:Acacia firber, Licorice root, L-Glutamine, Lactobacillus casei, HMO
  • Price:$41.99*
 

1MD GutMD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May support the integrity of the gut lining
  • May maintain immune system function
  • May promote overall health and wellbeing

Cons

  • Users may have to use this supplement for months to see results
Acacia firber is a highly soluble fiber that is used to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A clinical trial in the Nutrients journal observed the benefits of acacia fiber supplementation and found that it improved gut health. It was also found to reduce cholesterol and uric acid concentration.
Licorice root herb has been used for centuries to help treat ailments such as respiratory issues and digestive disorders. Licorice root has been used in Ayurvedic medicine due to its prebiotic potential. According to a review study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, licorice root reduces inflammation and protects against infection.

How to Use:
Take 3 capsules once daily with a full glass of water on an empty stomach or as recommended by your healthcare provider.


1MD BalanceMD

 

BalanceMD ReviewsBuy on Official Website

*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Best for Personalized Probiotic

1MD BalanceMD is a probiotic that boasts of 15 billion CFUs. Similar to other probiotics, this product supports digestive health.

Quick Facts & Specs

  • Form:Pills
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Supports healthy gastrointestinal lining; helps reduce fungal infection in the gut
  • Brand:1MD
  • Active Ingredients:Oregano Leaf Extract, Cellulase, Aloe vera leaf gel
  • Price:$35.99*
 

1MD BalanceMD Pros & Cons

Pros

  • May promote a healthy balance of the vaginal microbiome
  • May reduce the levels of environmental stressors in the gut
  • May support nutrient digestion and absorption

Cons

  • Ingredients like aloe vera could cause digestive distress
Oregano oil has antioxidant properties thus used to treat cold and flu symptoms. Oregano essential oil (OEO) has been used to improve health of animals. Findings in BioMed Research International showed that OEO has the potential to promote intestinal barrier integrity.
Cellulaseis an enzyme produced by fungi, bacteria, and protozoans. According to studies in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cellulase was found to improve intestinal microbial degradation.

How to Use:
Take 2 capsules once daily before a meal or as instructed by the doctor

CAUTION: “Do not take more than the suggested dosage under any circumstances.”


Are there any physical clues that you have an imbalance?

It would be impossible to write down every possible symptom. And symptoms can often mean more than one thing. But some symptoms hint to the fact you may benefit from probiotic supplements.

Here are a few of the symptoms you may experience when you have too much bad bacteria –

  • Diarrhea/ Constipation
  • Gas/Bloating
  • Acid Reflux
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Brain Fog
  • Exhaustion
    •  

      Probiotics FAQ’s

      Q: What are probiotics good for?
      A: Probiotics are good bacteria that have multiple benefits including; improving digestive and immune systems, preventing and reducing digestive issues, and minimizing inflammation and allergies.

      Q: What do probiotics do?
      A: Probiotics work to strike a healthy balance in the body. Harmful bacteria usually knock the body out of balance thus it is up to the good bacteria to restore this balance. Generally, probiotics improve digestion, keep bad bacteria levels in check, support the gut lining, and enhance nutrient absorption.

      Q: Do probiotics make you poop?
      A: Yes, especially if you are constipated. While probiotics are not laxatives, they help soften stools and increase bowel movements.

      Q: Are probiotics good for you?
      A: Yes, probiotics are good bacteria that keep the body healthy and functioning properly.

      Q: How long does it take for probiotics to work?
      A: On average, probiotics can take 2 to 3 weeks for results to be achieved.

      Q: Can probiotics cause diarrhea?
      A: Yes, in the first days of consumption, probiotics may cause side effects such as diarrhea, flatulence, and bloating.

      Q: Can probiotics cause constipation?
      A: Apparently, probiotics can also cause constipation in some users.

      Q: Do probiotics help with constipation?
      A: Yes, probiotics may relieve constipation by increasing bowel movements

      Q: Can you take probiotics with antibiotics?
      A: Yes, but they should be taken a few hours apart. Probiotics are typically used to restore the gut bacteria balance after antibiotics.

      Q: Do probiotics help you lose weight?
      A: While probiotics cannot be used as weight loss supplements, they have a positive effect on weight loss. Some Lactobacillus strains are claimed to reduce body fat thus supporting weight loss.

      Q: What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
      A: Probiotics are good bacteria strains that improve the digestive system environment. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are plant fibers that are used as food by probiotics.

      Q: Can you overdose on probiotics?
      A: Overdosing on probiotics may not necessarily cause death, but may cause adverse effects such as gas, bloating, and nausea.

      Q: How long should you take probiotics?
      A: Most probiotic brands suggest that users should use their products for at least a month to achieve results. Long-term use of probiotics may cause major issues.

      Q: Do probiotics help with acne?
      A: Yes, Probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus can reduce acne by targeting factors that contribute to acne formation. These probiotics stimulate the production of ceramides to help restore healthy fats to benefit acne and minimize side effects.

       

      Conclusion

      There you have it, these are the best probiotic supplements according to our research. All these probiotics work to improve gut health and immune health after consistent use. Fortunately, the ingredients in this product are evidence-based meaning they may work effectively.

      Apart from our review, read more reviews online to settle for the probiotic that is right for you. For better results, ensure to eat healthy and indulge in regular exercise.

28 sources

Health Insiders relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

[1] Kim MH, Kim H. The Roles of Glutamine in the Intestine and Its Implication in Intestinal Diseases. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(5):1051. Published 2017 May 12. doi:10.3390/ijms18051051
[2] Di Cerbo A, Palmieri B, Aponte M, Morales-Medina JC, Iannitti T. Mechanisms and therapeutic effectiveness of lactobacilli. J Clin Pathol. 2016;69(3):187-203. doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2015-202976
[3] Tiwari P, Mishra BN, Sangwan NS. Phytochemical and pharmacological properties of Gymnema sylvestre: an important medicinal plant. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:830285. doi:10.1155/2014/830285
[4] Al-Shaaibi SN, Waly MI, Al-Subhi L, Tageldin MH, Al-Balushi NM, Rahman MS. Ameliorative Effects of Pomegranate Peel Extract against Dietary-Induced Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver in Rats. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2016;21(1):14-23. doi:10.3746/pnf.2016.21.1.14
[5] Parikh M, Maddaford TG, Austria JA, Aliani M, Netticadan T, Pierce GN. Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health. Nutrients. 2019;11(5):1171. Published 2019 May 25. doi:10.3390/nu11051171
[6] Holscher HD, Bauer LL, Gourineni V, Pelkman CL, Fahey GC Jr, Swanson KS. Agave Inulin Supplementation Affects the Fecal Microbiota of Healthy Adults Participating in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. J Nutr. 2015 Sep;145(9):2025-32. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.217331. Epub 2015 Jul 22. PMID: 26203099.
[7] DiPatrizio NV. Endocannabinoids in the Gut. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016;1(1):67-77. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0001
[8] Yu T, Wang Y, Chen X, Xiong W, Tang Y, Lin L. Spirulina platensis alleviates chronic inflammation with modulation of gut microbiota and intestinal permeability in rats fed a high-fat diet. J Cell Mol Med. 2020;24(15):8603-8613. doi:10.1111/jcmm.15489
[9] A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group dual site to evaluate the effects of a Bacillus coagulans-based product on functional intestinal gas symptoms https://bmcgastroenterol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-230X-9-85/
[10] Kawatra P, Rajagopalan R. Cinnamon: Mystic powers of a minute ingredient. Pharmacognosy Res. 2015;7(Suppl 1):S1-S6. doi:10.4103/0974-8490.157990
[11] Catarino MD, Silva AMS, Cardoso SM. Phycochemical Constituents and Biological Activities of Fucus spp. Mar Drugs. 2018;16(8):249. Published 2018 Jul 27. doi:10.3390/md16080249
[12] Sodium alginate decreases the permeability of intestinal mucus https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0268005X15300497
[13] Mahoney DE, Hiebert JB, Thimmesch A, et al. Understanding D-Ribose and Mitochondrial Function. Adv Biosci Clin Med. 2018;6(1):1-5. doi:10.7575/aiac.abcmed.v.6n.1p.1
[14] Bescós R, Sureda A, Tur JA, Pons A. The effect of nitric-oxide-related supplements on human performance. Sports Med. 2012 Feb 1;42(2):99-117. doi: 10.2165/11596860-000000000-00000. PMID: 22260513.
[15] Tributyrin supplementation protects immune responses and vasculature and reduces oxidative stress in the proximal colon of mice exposed to chronic-binge ethanol feeding https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jir/2018/9671919/
[16] Yasukawa Z, Inoue R, Ozeki M, et al. Effect of Repeated Consumption of Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum on Fecal Characteristics and Gut Microbiota: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, and Parallel-Group Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2170. Published 2019 Sep 10. doi:10.3390/nu11092170
[17] Cruzat V, Macedo Rogero M, Noel Keane K, Curi R, Newsholme P. Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation. Nutrients. 2018;10(11):1564. Published 2018 Oct 23. doi:10.3390/nu10111564
[18] Peterson CT, Sharma V, Uchitel S, et al. Prebiotic Potential of Herbal Medicines Used in Digestive Health and Disease. J Altern Complement Med. 2018;24(7):656-665. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0422
[19] Azad MAK, Sarker M, Li T, Yin J. Probiotic Species in the Modulation of Gut Microbiota: An Overview. Biomed Res Int. 2018;2018:9478630. Published 2018 May 8. doi:10.1155/2018/9478630
[20] O'Callaghan A, van Sinderen D. Bifidobacteria and Their Role as Members of the Human Gut Microbiota. Front Microbiol. 2016;7:925. Published 2016 Jun 15. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00925
[21] Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review. Biotechnol Res Int. 2012;2012:976203. doi:10.1155/2012/976203
[22] Olivares M, Schüppel V, Hassan AM, et al. The Potential Role of the Dipeptidyl Peptidase-4-Like Activity From the Gut Microbiota on the Host Health. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:1900. Published 2018 Aug 22. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.01900
[23] Marcobal A, Barboza M, Froehlich JW, et al. Consumption of human milk oligosaccharides by gut-related microbes. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(9):5334-5340. doi:10.1021/jf9044205
[24] The impact of Lactobacillus casei on the composition of cecal microbiota and innate immune system is strain specific https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0156374
[25] Massot-Cladera M, Azagra-Boronat I, Franch À, Castell M, Rodríguez-Lagunas MJ, Pérez-Cano FJ. Gut Health-Promoting Benefits of a Dietary Supplement of Vitamins with Inulin and Acacia Fibers in Rats. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2196. Published 2020 Jul 23. doi:10.3390/nu12082196
[26] Peterson CT, Sharma V, Uchitel S, et al. Prebiotic Potential of Herbal Medicines Used in Digestive Health and Disease. J Altern Complement Med. 2018;24(7):656-665. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0422
[27] Zou Y, Xiang Q, Wang J, Peng J, Wei H. Oregano Essential Oil Improves Intestinal Morphology and Expression of Tight Junction Proteins Associated with Modulation of Selected Intestinal Bacteria and Immune Status in a Pig Model. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:5436738. doi:10.1155/2016/5436738
[28] Cellulase and alkaline treatment improve intestinal microbial degradation of recalcitrant fibers of rapeseed meal in pigs https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c03618
Author
Facebook pinterest Twitter instagram instagram

Erica Mesirov, MS

Erica Mesirov is a food coach, helping people optimize their health and lose weight to live fully and vibrantly. She specializes in hel...

HealthInsiders Team
Written by

Health Insiders Team

The Health Insiders Team takes pride in bringing you the latest in nutritional research, skincare, healthy living, and wellness hacks. Together our researchers...

Reviewed by
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! icon This article was informative. icon I have a medical question. icon Ask a Question
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article was informative. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. icon I have a medical question. icon Ask a Question
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.