Health & Wellness

The Top-Rated Probiotic Supplements of 2022

Peter Gold
Health Editor

Peter is a practitioner of naturopathic medicine, applying his craft in the Pacific Northwest. His passion is preventive care and self-healing. His philosophy is healthy habits help people live their lives to the fullest.

How We Found the Best Probiotics Supplements

  • 84 Probiotics Supplements

     

     

     

  • 3 Experts
    Consulted

     

     

     

  • 5 Top Picks

     

     

     

One of the fastest-rising supplement categories today is probiotics. These are live microorganisms, which are the “good” bacteria that help keep the “bad” bacteria in your stomach from overgrowing. Probiotics have been used in different forms going back hundreds of years to improve digestion and provide overall well-being.1 Modern science has recently unraveled the mystery behind how specific strains of these microbes work to help support healthy weight, digestive health, menopause, anxiety and mood, energy, immune and inflammatory response, and even memory.

This new popularity has led to hundreds of probiotic supplements flooding the marketplace. While these supplements all promise to deliver benefits, the reality is that too many fall short. Some of the most popular brands use ineffective types of probiotics or insufficient dosages. Others use strains of probiotics that do not have enough scientific evidence to support their claims. To make matters worse, we found that some popular probiotic supplements contain potentially harmful fillers.

How To Pick A Good Probiotic Supplement & Avoid The Junk

With so many options, it seems many of us might still be unclear about what to look for in a quality probiotic supplement. To help cut through the clutter, we have compiled months of research about the key probiotic strains that have been shown in studies to offer real benefits.

This short guide will help you know what to look for and what to avoid so you can make an informed decision regarding your probiotic supplement needs. We will also list out the top 5 probiotic supplements sold today.

Let’s take a moment to understand precisely how probiotics work and why it’s essential to add them to your daily routine.

Probiotics : What Are They All About?

Within our intestines is a complex world known as the gut microbiome, which comprises thousands of different types of bacteria, fungi, and even viruses. Some of the bacteria can offer significant health benefits, while others can be harmful.

A quality probiotic pill should contain a potent dose of friendly bacteria in different varieties. When consumed, probiotics will make their way to your colon, attach to the walls of your intestine, and begin to colonize. Assuming you take the right kind of probiotic that has clinically studied strains, as they grow, they can help improve digestion, absorb minerals and nutrients, produce vitamins, and rid the body of damaging toxins.

A Good Probiotic Supplement Can:

Supports Healthy Weight2-5

Reduce Gas, Diarrhea, Bloating, & Constipation6-10

Repair Leaky Gut11

Improve Digestive Disorders12

Ease Menopause13

Improve Anxiety and Mood14,15

Support Immune System Response16,17

Fight Candida18

3 Things To AVOID
When Buying A Probiotic Supplement

1. LACK OF STRAIN DIVERSITY

Clinical studies have shown that specific probiotic strains can help with particular health concerns.19,20 While the human gut contains thousands of different bacterial strains, most probiotics only include a few generic Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium strains. Look for a probiotic that has at least 14 unique strains to support proper microbiome balance.

2. CHEAP GENERIC STRAINS

Store shelves are filled with brands selling probiotics, listing cheap generic forms of popular strains on their labels. A 2018 study showed that not all probiotic strains produce the same results, even if they have the same name.21 Like most things in life, it all comes down to the details.

A high-quality brand will list the strain and a combination of letters and numbers, such as L. acidophilus La-14TM, known as a substrain. This unique identifier tells you that one or more clinical studies back the strain being used. Avoid probiotics that don’t list substrains, as that could be a warning sign that low-quality, generic, and possibly ineffective strains are used in the formula.

3. PLASTIC BOTTLES

Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) studies on probiotics packaged in plastic bottles have shown that they can allow too much moisture to enter, causing lower strain survival rates and a shorter shelf life overall.22

Don’t throw away your hard-earned money on probiotics in cheap plastics bottles that can allow harmful elements to enter during storage and shipping, risking your probiotics arriving dead at your doorstep.

Which Probiotics Strains are Best?

Which Strains are Best?

When it comes to probiotic strains, not all are created equal. And while there are as many as 500 different strains, only a handful have substantial research supporting health benefits.23 Below are the ones we feel can give you real results.

Lactobacillus Gasseri (L. Gasseri)1. Lactobacillus Gasseri

Healthy Weight Support: A review of over a dozen human randomized controlled trials concluded that L. gasseri supports healthy weight management. Other studies have shown this strain to support the reduction of fatty tissue and improve metabolism.24-27

Bone Density: Shown to have anti-menopausal effects by increasing bone mineral density and lowering pain sensitivity.28

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (L. Rhamnosus)2. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus

Diarrhea: Helps protect against various causes of diarrhea, including acute watery, antibiotic-related, and traveler-diarrhea.29-32

Vaginal Yeast Infections: Reduces the risk of yeast infections by helping inhibit the overgrowth of the harmful bacteria Candida albicans, the most common cause of genital yeast infections.33-36

Mood & Anxiety: Lowers anxiety, reduces stress and boosts mood by changing the expression of the chemical messenger, GABA, which communicates with the brain and produces a calming effect.37,38

Lactobacillus Reuteri (L. Reuteri)3. Lactobacillus Reuteri

Leaky Gut: Helps to strengthen and repair the intestinal barrier, which, when damaged, can allow harmful bacteria to enter the body and cause bloating, gas, cramps, and food sensitivities.39

Urinary Tract Infections: Provides female support to combating and easing the effects of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s).40

Dental Health: As one of the few probiotics found in the mouth, studies have shown it helps deter the growth of Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria which causes tooth decay.41

H. Pylori Defense: May help reduce the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a harmful bacteria which researchers have linked to peptic ulcers and other digestive diseases.42

Lactobacillus Acidophilus (L. Acidophilus)4. Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Dairy Defense: Produces lactase, the enzyme needed to break down the sugar in milk called lactose, helping alleviate diarrhea.43

Mineral Absorption: Helps to increase the absorption of minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.45,45

Vaginal Health: Produces high lactic acid levels, promoting an acidic environment in the vagina necessary to keep proper bacterial balance and helping to avoid the harmful condition known as Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).46

Bifidobacterium Bifidum (B. Bifidum)5. Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Constipation: Fights chronic constipation by increasing production of mucus in the colon supporting smoother bowel movements.47

Allergy Relief: Reduces allergy symptoms by discouraging histamine production, the chemical that triggers an allergic reaction.48

***Stack Tip: Look for a formula that pairs L. Acidophilus with B. Bifidum, as they have been shown to work well together to fight off the harmful effects of antibiotics.

Bifidobacterium Longum (B. Longum)6. Bifidobacterium Longum

Gluten Defense: Shown to help reduce gastrointestinal symptoms in those with Celiac disease (CD) by reducing intestinal inflammation.49-51

Liver Health: Human clinical studies show that B. longum paired with the prebiotic FOS plays a beneficial role in combating fatty liver.52,53

Immune Support: Helps to strengthen the body’s natural defenses against harmful pathogens and improve resistance to respiratory tract infections.54,55

Top 4 Essential Criteria For A Quality Probiotic Supplement

We spent months researching probiotics and gathering user feedback. There are specific aspects that differentiate high-quality probiotics from generic ones. Below are the 4 most essential criteria to consider when deciding on which probiotic brand is best for your needs.

2022’s Top Probiotic Supplements

Our review encompassed 84 different probiotic supplements, putting each through our rigorous Review Scout assessment process. To determine 2022’s Top 5 Probiotic Supplements, we looked for predicted effectiveness, safety, return policy, and overall customer satisfaction.

PROS
  • 16 Diverse Probiotic Strains & 51 Billion CFUs
  • Clinically Studied sub-strains listed on the label
  • Includes ALL Top-6 Strains & Prebiotic NutraFlora®
  • Dark Amber Glass Bottle for light and moisture protection
  • Endorsed by a Doctor Specializing in Digestive Health
  • Vegetarian Acid-Resistant Capsules, Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten and Soy Free, No artificial ingredients
  • Verified 90-day 100% money-back return policy
CONS
  • Often out of stock due to high demand
Why We Chose It

Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics is Review Scout’s top choice. This formula contains a potent 51 Billion CFU dose of 16 diverse clinically studied strains, including all six of the essential strains L. Gasseri, L. Rhamnosus, L. Reuteri, L. Acidophilus, B. Bifidum, and B. Longum.

Dynamic Biotics’s label lists each probiotic and its unique identifying substrain allowing for maximum traceability instilling confidence that one or more clinical studies back each strain. We were happy to see that this formula includes the prebiotic NutraFlora® to help nourish the probiotics supporting their ability to survive and grow.

In reviewing dozens of probiotic brands, we found that most package these light and moisture-sensitive live cultures in cheap plastic bottles, increasing the risk you will receive a probiotic that is dead on arrival. We liked that Stonehenge Health uses a dark amber glass bottle to protect its probiotics and improve survivability. With the correct probiotics and prebiotics at the proper CFU strength, Dynamic Biotics has what it takes to help support healthy weight, digestive health, menopause, a robust immune system, and other essential health benefits.

We were able to verify that Stonehenge Health’s formula does not contain any synthetic fillers or artificial ingredients, is non-GMO, and uses vegetarian capsules. Stonehenge Health backs its products with a no-questions-asked, 90-day money-back guarantee and is one of the few brands endorsed by a board-certified doctor specializing in digestive health. We also like that they offer customers discounts on bundles. Click on the link below to see their current specials.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#2 Renew Life Extra Care Probiotics

A-

Overall Grade

#2 Renew Life Extra Care Probiotics

  • OVERALL RATING 8.9/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 9/10
  • Ingredient Quality 9.2/10
  • Value 8.7/10
  • Return Policy 8.9/10
  • User Rating 8.6/10
PROS
  • 12 Diverse Probiotic Strains
  • 50 Billion CFUs
  • Clinically Studied sub-strains
  • Veggie caps, Non-GMO, Gluten & Soy Free
CONS
  • Only includes 2 of the Top-6 Strains
  • Does not include any Prebiotics
  • Plastic bottle instead of glass
  • User complaints new formula not as effective
  • Quality control concerns about safety seals
  • Limited return policy
Why We Chose It

Renew Life Extra Care Probiotics contains 12 varieties of strains and lists each substrain on the product label. We were happy to see that each dose is 50 billion CFUs but was disappointed that the formula lacked prebiotics.

While Renew Life has decent diversity of strains, it fell short of our recommended minimum of 14 strains. We were perplexed why this brand only included 2 of the top-6 strains, L. Rhamnosus and L. Acidophilus, leaving out the highly researched and effective L. Gasseri, L. Reuteri, B. Bifidum, and B. Longum.

This product comes in vegetarian capsules, great for health-conscious users. Still, the inclusion of medium-chain triglycerides in the formula may be the reason behind reports of digestive discomfort by some users. A common and growing complaint amongst other users is that a recent change in the formula has rendered the product less effective.

Renew Life offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, but we would have preferred to see a 90-day guarantee to allow more time for consumers to assess if it is right for them.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#3 Florastor Daily Probiotic

B-

Overall Grade

#3 Florastor Daily Probiotic

  • OVERALL RATING 8.1/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 8.6/10
  • Ingredient Quality 9/10
  • Value 7.5/10
  • Return Policy 7/10
  • User Rating 8.5/10
PROS
  • Contains clinically researched strain Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745
  • Veggie caps, Non-GMO, & Gluten Free
CONS
  • Only contains one clinically studied strain
  • Limited potency of 10 Billion CFUs
  • Contains dairy and No Prebiotics
  • No company guarantee or return policy
Why We Chose It

Florastror is a yeast-based probiotic with one clinically studied strain, Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745. Each capsule of Florastor contains 250 mg, which is equivalent to 5 Billion CFUs. A single dose is two capsules, 500 mg, for 10 Billion CFUs.

Studies on CNCM I-745 indicated positive results, especially for addressing antibiotic-induced diarrhea, but used doses of three to four capsules per day. Florastor’s suggested use is two capsules taken 1-2 times per day, a maximum of four capsules in a day, making a one-month supply of 60 to 120 capsules. Users have complained that Florastor only sells their product in 18, 20, 30, 50, and 100 counts, none of which is a one-month supply. This brand’s 100-count package cost $62, making it one of the most expensive probiotics we have reviewed. But, if you take four capsules per day, this would be the cost equivalent of $74.40.

This formula lacks the benefit of a diversity of strains and the potency of higher CFU strength to address broader digestive health issues. A notable downside is that Florastor contains milk (lactose), eliminating those who are lactose intolerant. Reviews have been mixed from users, with some stating they did not get their desired results. Florastor does not have a guarantee policy listed on their site, leaving consumers to deal only with the refund/return policy from the retail store they purchased it in.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#4 Align Probiotic

C+

Overall Grade

#4 Align Probiotic

  • OVERALL RATING 7.9/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 7.5/10
  • Ingredient Quality 7.2/10
  • Value 7.5/10
  • Return Policy 8.5/10
  • User Rating 8.7/10
PROS
  • Contains one out of our top-6 strains
  • Veggie caps, Gluten & Soy Free
CONS
  • Only contains one clinically studied strain
  • Limited potency of only 1 Billion CFUs
  • Contains unhealthy additives and fillers
  • Does not contain prebiotics
  • Limited 60-Day return policy
Why We Chose It

Align Probiotic is a popular product thanks in part to their heavy television advertising. The formula contains a single clinically studied strain, Bifidobacterium Longum 35624™, formerly known as Bifidobacterium infantis or Bifantis. It has a limited potency of only 1 Billion CFUs per dose.

While we liked that this formula contains the strain B. Longum, one of our top-6 recommended strains, it is crucial to have a diverse array of strains. And so, we were disappointed to see Align was missing L. Gasseri, L. Rhamnosus, L. Reuteri, L. Acidophilus, and B. Bifidum. It also does not have any prebiotics, which is essential to aid the growth and survivability of probiotics in the gut.

Align’s inclusion of undesirable and potentially harmful additives in the product is an area of concern. One additive in specific, Titanium Dioxide, which makes their capsule a bright white color, is viewed as safe by the FDA but the European Union recently banned it. 59 The EU’s research has shown it may be a harmful carcinogen. Other additives include sucrose (sugar), propyl gallate, and gellan gum, which can cause gastrointestinal distress. This product also contains milk, eliminating those who are lactose intolerant. The return policy for Align Probiotics is limited to 60-days and is provided via a pre-paid card with funds that expire in six months, which is not as convenient as simply a refund to your credit card.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#5 Provitalize

D

Overall Grade

#5 Provitalize

  • OVERALL RATING 6.7/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 6.5/10
  • Ingredient Quality 7.2/10
  • Value 6.2/10
  • Return Policy 7.5/10
  • User Rating 6.2/10
PROS
  • High CFU Count
  • Vegan-Friendly and GMO-Free
CONS
  • Limited probiotic strains
  • Very Expensive for Minimal Strain Diversity
  • Does Not contain Prebiotics
  • Plastic bottle
  • User complaints results not achieved
  • Poor Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating
Why We Chose It

Provitalize by Better Body Co. suggests they can support digestive health, weight management, and the relief of hot flashes for menopausal women. While we liked that the product contains 68 Billion CFUs, we were disappointed to see no prebiotics and a lack of strain diversity.

Provitalize has three clinically studied strains, only one of which, L. Gasseri, is on our top-6 strains list. Compare that to the top-rated brand on our list, with 16 unique clinically studied strains, including all three of Provitalize’s probiotic strains.

This brand uses a considerable amount of marketing hype and aggressive claims, along with their 41 complaints on Better Business Bureau (BBB) in the last year, which gives us some pause for concern. While some users have reported benefits from taking Provitalize, we found many users who reported no results. We recommend avoiding brands with claims that seem too good to be true. Choose a formula with a variety of probiotic strains, including prebiotics, shown in studies to help support proper microbiome balance and digestive and immune system support.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

Citations
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