Are you a woman who is interested in taking probiotics?
When it comes to women’s health, it is difficult to find a greater ally than probiotics. The beneficial microbes in probiotics metabolize and recycle hormones such as estrogen, thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine), and dietary estrogens.
A daily routine of probiotics promotes proper hormonal balance and can give you a wide range of health benefits. They can help ease the symptoms of gastrointestinal issues, prevent yeast infections and UTIs, boost your immune system, and support overall feminine health, especially for women with poor digestive health.
Lucky for you, we’ve found and reviewed the seven best probiotics for women’s digestive health to help narrow down the hundreds of options you have to choose from in stores.
How to Choose Probiotics for Your Digestive Health
Obtaining healthy gut flora will lead to great overall health, digestion, and even physical appearance.
There is constant communication going on between your GI tract and your brain, which means that having a healthy gut will not only benefit your digestive health, but also improve your cognitive functions such as mood and depression, and even the appearance of your skin.
That being said, not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, there are a lot of probiotics on store shelves that are essentially useless either because they do not contain effective strains of bacteria or because they are made under conditions that do not support the viability of the bacteria in them.
Fortunately, we have made it our job to sort the good ones out for you.
Probiotics are also all made differently, and you want to make sure you are taking the strain of bacteria that is the most likely to address your specific needs. Once you find one that is appropriate for you, check the expiration date on the product and make sure the bacteria is live.
You will also want to look at the amount of “CFUs” (colony forming units) and make sure the number is in the billions to ensure potency. A trustworthy brand will clearly state the number of live organisms and list the exact strains that are used in their formula.
You also want to look for a label that specifies that the living microbes are capable of surviving until their “best by” date so you can be sure that the bacteria are still living when you take them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics for Women
Are there any risks involved in taking probiotics?
Taking a probiotic supplement is generally safe and has very few risks or side effects. But some people can experience mild digestive symptoms, headaches, or an increase in histamine levels. Oftentimes, these side effects subside after a week or two of consistent probiotic use.
Probiotics can be dangerous for people who have certain allergies or serious illnesses, and in these cases they should be avoided. Make sure to check with your doctor before taking probiotic supplements.
What is the best way to take a probiotic?
Probiotic supplements are available in many forms, such as powders, capsules, and liquids. Depending on your reason for taking them, one method may be better than another for your digestive system.
That being said, taking them in capsule form is the most convenient for most people. If you are concerned, check with your doctor to get a personalized recommendation on the best way for you to take probiotics.
How long should I take a probiotic?
The answer to this question depends on why you are taking them. For example, if you’re experiencing digestive issues, you might want to take probiotics indefinitely to maintain a healthy gut.
If you have just finished a round of antibiotics, you may only want to take them for a short amount of time. Again, it is best to check with your doctor for your specific situation.
If I eat yogurt, do I still need a probiotic?
The short answer is yes. Not all brands of yogurt contain active, live cultures of probiotics, and each contains different species and strains of probiotics. As far as the yogurts that do contain active live cultures, the amount of these live and active cultures greatly varies.
Ideally, yogurt would come with a label that clearly states the strains of bacteria it contains, as well as the number of CFUs—but consumers are not so lucky.
Another issue is that the dose of probiotics in yogurt is lower for each serving than you could easily get with a supplement, and a lot of yogurts are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and calories.
Taking a probiotic supplement is more efficient than eating yogurt, and it gives you a clearer idea of the amount and type of bacteria you are consuming.
Can children take probiotics?
As with many other things, it depends. Check with your child’s doctor (or with your OBGYN if you are pregnant or nursing) to see which probiotics may be right for you.
Probiotics have been shown to reduce the frequency of respiratory diseases that are often found in daycare centers, so it is certainly worth it to look into probiotics for your child.
What are the benefits of probiotics for women specifically?
Similar to the digestive tract, the vagina is dependent on a finicky balance of good and bad bacteria.
If the balance of this bacteria becomes off, it can result in two common infections: bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection. Additionally, bacterial vaginosis may actually turn into a yeast infection, so you could get both.
Studies have found that L. acidophilus can help fight and prevent infections, though it is important to note that the probiotics in these studies were taken as vaginal suppositories instead of through the use of oral supplements.
Probiotics can also be beneficial for pregnant women who are susceptible to vaginal infections. Bacterial vaginosis has been shown to increase the likelihood of pre-term labor, which makes probiotics a potential health benefit for growing babies.
7 Best Probiotics for Women’s Digestive Health
There are a lot of great probiotics on the market today, but we have picked out the top seven that will provide you with the best results and value.
By reading through the descriptions of these seven supplements, hopefully you can narrow down which one is best for you.
1. Best Overall: Nature’s Bounty Probiotic 10
Nature’s Bounty is one of the most trusted names in the supplement industry. They guarantee sourcing from GMP-compliant suppliers and have been in the supplement game for decades. And while quality testing on probiotics is somewhat difficult, they make every effort to ensure their products integrity and label accuracy.
The Probiotic 10 is Nature Bounty’s most popular probiotic. It contains 10 different probiotic strains in a proprietary blend.
Notably, it contains Lactobacillus Plantarum, which is one of the few probiotics that has undergone extensive testing. It is present in foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi and has been linked with a healthier immune system and GI tract.
This is also one of the few probiotics which specify the particular strain of probiotics that they use of each bacterial species. Some strains are less studied or less effective than others, so it’s good to know exactly what you’re getting.
Another great thing about Probiotic 10 is that each capsule contains 200mg of inulin. Inulin is what’s known as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that doesn’t get digested when you eat them. Instead, once they arrive in your intestinal tract, bacteria there use them for food.
Prebiotics are important to maximize the efficacy of probiotic products, if many manufacturers fail to take this into account.
The label claims 20 billion live active cultures. That’s probably more than most women need for daily maintenance, but there’s a caveat. Twenty billion live active cultures don’t necessarily translate to as many viable colony-forming units. The real number of CFUs may vary a little.
Ultimately, one of the best indicators of the efficacy of a probiotic are user reviews, and this is one of the best-reviewed products, bar none.
2. Editor’s Choice Probiotic for Women: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Probiotics Once Daily Probiotic
This Garden of Life probiotic was formulated specifically to provide support for women’s health. It has a few probiotic strains which are especially beneficial for women, which our editors loved.
Garden of Life’s Once Daily Probiotic boats an impressive 50 billion colony-forming units. It’s worth noting that this number is guaranteed at the time of manufacture. Check the date of manufacture of your product to ensure that you’re not getting something that may have lost potency over time.
They make a “shelf-stable” promise, ensuring that the live cultures are uncompromised while in the desiccant-lined bottle. That’s a step in the right direction, but it hasn’t been verified by independent laboratories.
It has added colonies of L. reuteri and L. fermentum, which are well-studied probiotics with proven roles in overall human health. Picking the right kinds of probiotics is key, and Garden of Life has done a great job of selecting only the best.
Garden of Life also adheres to a series of dietary standards in all their products. This probiotic is gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free, and soy-free, making it suitable for most types of diets. Also, this probiotic requires no refrigeration. Another nice touch.
To support proper absorption and efficacy Garden of Life has added a blend of prebiotic fibers. The blend contains resistant potato starch and acacia fiber. Both are broad prebiotics and should have a supportive effect on intestinal flora overall.
3. Best Value for the Money: Evlution Nutrition Probiotic
If you’ve never used probiotics before and you want to get started as painlessly as possible, Evlution Nutrition has a solid product at an excellent price point. It’s certainly not a top-shelf probiotic but it’s a good place to start.
This probiotic has only four strains of bacteria. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because they might be exactly the strains that someone needs. However, a broader spectrum of strains is usually better than only a few. It does include L. plantarum, which is a well-researched and effective probiotic species.
Even with only four strains, the label claims 40 billion colony-forming units. It’s not made expressly clear how many of those CFUs are viable or if they’re guaranteed to be live colonies.
It’s sold in 60-capsule bottles, which is a good size to try one out before you commit to a larger quantity. However, the serving size is two capsules, so you’re only getting 30 servings per bottle.
The capsules are vegetarian, non-GMO, soy-free, and dairy-free. They’re also certified GMP and made in the United States.
Overall, Evlution’s probiotic is a good choice for someone who wants to do daily probiotic maintenance. There are no express guarantees about the statements made on the label, which is a drawback. But the price point makes it worth a try, since it’s a highly reviewed product.
4. Best for Extra Minerals & Supplements: Vitamin Bounty Women’s Pro-Daily
Women’s Pro-Daily Probiotic is uniquely formulated to boost women’s health. It delivers a specific dose of probiotics designed for a woman’s vaginal, urinary, thyroid, digestive, and immune health.
This probiotic also contains key minerals and extracts that have been proven to work well in combination with prebiotics and probiotics. This product contains 10 billion CFUs, fermented greens, and six probiotic strains, including L. rhamnosus, L. gasseri, L. reuteri, L. salivarius, and B. lactis.
The durable capsules use a patented delayed-release system that protects the beneficial bacteria from harsh stomach acid, delivering more active cultures and ensuring maximum efficacy.
The probiotic strains are frozen prior to being inserted into the capsules in order to maintain the freshness and efficacy of the ingredients.
Women’s Pro Daily is made in the USA and developed and tested in a good manufacturing practice-compliant facility, making the potency and purity of this product guaranteed.
5. Most Budget-Friendly Probiotic: Nature’s Way Primadophilus Fortify Women’s Probiotic
Primadophilus Fortify Women’s Probiotic contains 30 billion active cultures that cater to a woman’s unique needs. This supplement includes researched strains such as NCFM® and BI-04®, as well as a higher level of Lactobacilli, which is the dominant healthy bacteria found in the vaginal tract.
This not only helps to support women’s health, but also promotes digestive and immune health.
There are 30 billion active cultures in this supplement, including 24 billion Lactobacilli to support women’s health and 6 billion Bifidobacteria to support the colon. It comes in a delayed-release capsule that resists stomach acid and delivers the bacteria to the intestine.
Finally, the 30 billion live probiotics are guaranteed until the expiration date when they are stored under the recommended conditions.
6. Best High-End Probiotic ReNew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora Probiotic
This probiotic contains 50 billion cultures to support digestive and immune health. It has 10 probiotic strains to help restore the proper balance of bacteria in the digestive system and promote digestive and immune health for women.
When this supplement is taken on a regular basis, it can help users feel lighter, more energized, and healthier overall. It contains 50 billion live cultures from 10 probiotic strains, and is completely dairy and gluten free. Furthermore, the vegetable capsule is formulated for targeted delivery.
7. Best Non-GMO Option: Bio Schwartz Advanced Strength Probiotic
This highly potent probiotic contains 40 billion CFUs per serving, which is much stronger than other options on the market. It is more effective than other probiotics because the bacteria are able to survive through stomach acids until they reach the lower GI tract.
The unique stomach acid protection system in this product increases the survivability rate by 20 times on average compared to other available probiotics.
The company behind this product also ensures its potency until the listed expiration date, allowing you to be sure that you are getting a high-quality product. Additionally, these probiotics are shelf-stable and therefore do not require refrigeration.
This probiotic is made with 100% natural ingredients that are GMO-free. They go through a complete analysis for quality, safety, and efficacy after being manufactured.
Third-party, independent labs conduct testing for purity and potency to limit the potential for bias and verify that the ingredients in the product are pure, safe, and representative of what is listed on the label.
Final Thoughts on the Best Probiotics for Women
The Nature’s Bounty Probiotic 10 is the best product overall. The proprietary blend of powerful and transformative bacteria in this probiotic is especially beneficial for women.
It’s a trusted brand when it comes to a natural probiotic for women. And it will start working within days to provide you with the necessary health support for overall well-being.
And if you’re looking for more products for women, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 7 Best Walking Sandals for Women: Style & Comfort
- 5 Best Women’s Dress Shoes for Walking
- 7 Best Women’s Trail Running Shoes for Hiking