How to choose the best probiotic (2023)

If you've come here looking for the best probiotics for you, chances are you understand how important and exciting yours is.gut microbiomecould it be. With trillions of microorganisms working to break down and digest food, you want to keep the good bacteria in your gut healthy and thriving. But trusting your gut can only take you so far, and that's where probiotics come into play.

advertising policy

The Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our website helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services.Policy

Like other popular supplements and dietary fads, probiotics are getting their fair share of the spotlight, with shelves flooded with products that suggest they are panaceas for all ailments.

So how do you know what to buy and which are the best probiotics?

(Video) Probiotics Guide: How to Pick the Right Probiotic- Gut Bacteria Overview | Thomas DeLauer

Before crossing the line, digestive disease researcher and registered dietitianGail Cresci, PhD, RD,explains what to look for when shopping for the best probiotics.

What are probiotics?

If you don't need onefirst probiotic, you can skip to the next section. But if you want to catch up on exactly what probiotics do, we have a little explanation for you.

Microbes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and protozoa, make up the microbiome of your gut (also known as your gastrointestinal or GI tract), where they are involved in your immune health, digestion, and other functions. Some of these microorganisms can cause disease, while others fight disease, and a proper balance of good and bad bacteria is necessary to promote good health.

An imbalance in the gut microbiome is believed to contribute to a range of health issues, not just gastrointestinal issues, but also immune dysfunctions and infections. The microbial balance can be disturbed by diet, emotional and physical stress and the use ofantibiotics, which destroy the good bacteria along with the bad.

Probiotics are beneficial microbes, usually bacteria similar to those normally found in the gut. They help maintain the balance of good bacteria. In doing so, they may provide some relief if you haveirritable bowel syndrome(SII),ulcerative colitis, acute infectious diarrhea and diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotics orClostridioides difficile(C.diff) infection. Some specific probiotics can boost your immunity, fight inflammation, and potentially have beneficial effects on cholesterol.

How to choose a probiotic

The wide selection of probiotic products on the market contains a wide variety of probiotic bacterial strains. To reap the benefits, you must choose the right path to address your specific problem or concern.

"If someone has upset the gut microbial balance, this is where a probiotic can be beneficial," says Dr. I grew up. "But whether this is really going to help and whether he's taking the right path are the big questions out there."

(Video) Probiotics- HOW TO CHOOSE | The Ultimate Guide

When looking for the best probiotics to improve the function of your gut microbiome, pay close attention to:

advertising policy

  • Colony forming units (the number of bacteria per dose).
  • Types of bacterial strains used.
  • How your probiotics should be stored.
  • Which strains and/or trade names have been studied to determine their effectiveness.

You might also consider focusing on foods that contain probiotics instead of supplements.

Here's why these things are important:

Dose and Colony Forming Units

To be a true probiotic, a product must contain live, active bacterial cultures and must declare this on its packaging. You should pay close attention to the colony forming units (CFUs), which tell you how many bacterial cells you'll get with each dose.

A general recommendation is to choose probiotic products with at least 1 billion colony forming units and containing the genusLactobacillus,Bifidobacteria,BacillusoSaccharomyces boulardii, some of the most researched probiotics. Even so, you may need to dig deeper, as each genus of bacteria encompasses numerous strains that produce different results.

(Video) Probiotics: How do you choose the right one? The Clinical Guide to Probiotics

To find out how many colony forming units you need to help with a specific condition, talk to a doctor before you start taking probiotic supplements to ensure they're right for you.

Storage and expiration information

Pay close attention to the label and how your probiotics are supposed to be stored. In general, you'll want to keep them refrigerated (and make sure your place of purchase does the same). Heat can kill microorganisms in probiotics if they are not stored properly.

You should also pay close attention to the expiration date, as colony forming units tend to decline over time, making them less useful.

Also, look for a probiotic encapsulated with a food source such as inulin so it has something to feed on and remains viable as long as it's on the shelf.

Look for brand-name probiotics and read about some research

Probiotics are sold as supplements, which means they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that companies can essentially put whatever they want in a supplement and call it a probiotic. To stay safe and ensure you're getting the probiotics you really want, you need to keep an eye on labels and read scientific studies and research reports to determine which probiotics have been found to work well in specific conditions.

“I would probably stay away from private labels and pay a little more for the studied brand,” advises Dr. I grew up. “Ideally, look for a product that has been tested for what you want to address. You can say it helps with IBS, but you wouldn't take the same product if you were taking antibiotics and trying to prevent antibiotic-associated symptoms.diarrhea. For that, you want a probiotic that helps with immunity, not bowel irregularity.”

advertising policy

(Video) Top 6 Probiotic Supplements for Gut Health

Some labels can also be misleading. For example, yogurt is made with two "starter" bacterial cultures:Streptococcus thermophilusyLactobacillus bulgaricus—but these bacteria are often destroyed by stomach acid and don't provide a beneficial probiotic effect, explains Dr. I grew up. However, some companies add extra bacteria to the product, so check the label and choose products with added bacteria rather than starter cultures.

Focus on Probiotic Foods Instead of Supplements

Some people prefer probiotic supplements to food, but Dr. grew up notes thatprobiotic foodsthey are a better choice. In particular,fermented foods— such as yoghurt, kefir (yoghurt-like drink),kombucha(fermented black tea), sauerkraut (refrigerated, not shelf-stable), kimchi (made from fermented cabbage), and tempeh and miso (made from fermented soybeans): provide a nutritious environment in which healthy bacteria thrive and release important by-products like fatty acids.chain.

“They have beneficial effects on immunity, inflammation, and cholesterol,” adds Dr. I grew up. “Look for probiotic foods first.”

Take care of the bacteria you have with prebiotics

The probiotics industry is booming, but the benefits of probiotic products and the amount of viable bacteria they contain can vary. Therefore, rather than adding bacteria from an outside source, it's best to consume prebiotics such as fermentable fiber, which support your own beneficial bacteria. Good dietary sources of prebiotics include dried beans and other legumes, garlic, asparagus, onions, leeks, some artichokes, green plantains, cold cooked potatoes and wheat. Prebiotic supplements are also available.

“What bacteria like iswith fiber fermentation”, explains Dr. I grew up. “I don't know if you need a probiotic if you have a healthy diet that is high in fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber and low in saturated fat, sugar and processed foods. If you want a one-size-fits-all experience to improve your gut health, what matters is your diet and including prebiotics. What we eat is probably the biggest influence on our gut microbiome.”

What to Avoid When Choosing Probiotics

Probiotics can cause bloating and gas, as well as changes in stool patterns, but these are all early indicators that the product is working, says Dr. I grew up.

(Video) Probiotics Benefits + Myths | Improve Gut Health | Doctor Mike

While probiotics are generally recognized as safe, if you have a compromised or weakened immune system (for example, if you are undergoing chemotherapy treatments, critical illness, or recent surgery), avoid taking probiotic supplements and probiotic foods.

In some cases, you may develop an allergic reaction, so it's always important to pay close attention to the label on your probiotic products.

Regardless of your situation or concern, you should ask your doctor if probiotics are right for you before trying them. They can even help you decide which probiotics are best for you.


1. Best Probiotic Supplements for [IBS Irritable Bowel]- Gut Surgeon Explains
(Dr. Chanu Dasari, MD (@DasariMD))
2. KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY: PROBIOTICS; 5 tips for choosing the best probiotic 2019
(Dr. Shelley Meyer)
(Cassandra Bankson)
4. Best 3 Probiotics for Gut Health and IBS and HOW TO CHOOSE
(Confluence Nutrition)
5. What to consider when choosing probiotic supplements | Jed Fahey
(FoundMyFitness Clips)
6. Antibiotics vs Probiotics Part 3: How To Choose The Best Probiotic Supplement
(The Healthy Place )
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lilliana Bartoletti

Last Updated: 02/13/2023

Views: 6806

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lilliana Bartoletti

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 58866 Tricia Spurs, North Melvinberg, HI 91346-3774

Phone: +50616620367928

Job: Real-Estate Liaison

Hobby: Graffiti, Astronomy, Handball, Magic, Origami, Fashion, Foreign language learning

Introduction: My name is Lilliana Bartoletti, I am a adventurous, pleasant, shiny, beautiful, handsome, zealous, tasty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.