Best Probiotic Supplements Ranked for 2018 – Top 10 Brands

Jump Ahead to the Best Probiotics

Diet, exercise and mental health are all vital aspects of overall health. In order to be the healthiest you can be, it’s important to focus on all the various factors of health.

One factor that people often overlook is keeping your body balanced. This includes balancing cholesterol level, blood sugar levels, hormone production, bacterial conditions and more. Today, we are here to talk about bacteria, and how it can actually help you stay healthy.

When you think of “bacteria”, the first thing that likely comes to mind is disease and sickness. We are taught to avoid bacteria and keep everything clean to avoid sickness. And it is true that many types of bacteria can cause sickness, infection, and other harmful conditions. However, it’s also true that there are many different types of bacteria, some of which are highly beneficial to overall health.

Not All Bacteria is Bad

There are many types of bacteria present both inside our bodies and in our environments. Some is bad, causing disease, infection and worse. And some is good, helping the body to regulate digestive health, improve immune function, and more.

These “good bacterias” are often referred to as probiotics. You probably know the word antibiotic (a medicine designed to destroy infection and bacteria), but you may be less familiar with probiotics. If you’d like to learn more about probiotics, you’ve come to the right place!

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria and/or yeasts that are considered good for your overall health. These microorganisms are naturally found in the human body, as well as in certain foods and supplements.

In foods, the most common probiotic-containing ingredients are fermented or cultured ones. Yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha etc. all contain powerful probiotics, which are created naturally through the fermentation process. Other foods contain probiotics that are added in on purpose, to help you increase your daily intake of these helpful gut bacterias. Then, finally, we have probiotic supplements.

Benefits of Probiotics

Basically, these supplements provide the same probiotic benefits as the probiotics found in fermented foods. There is little difference between these microorganisms in their supplement form vs. those found in foods, except for the fact that the supplements generally contain a higher concentration of these bacterias. So, in other words, the probiotic benefits of supplements are the same as the benefits of eating fermented foods, but the strongest probiotics are found in supplement form.

Science Behind Probiotics

There have been many scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of probiotic supplements. Because there are so many different types of microorganisms that are considered “probiotics”, there are a lot of different opinions in the scientific community. Basically, the thought that probiotics are good for many different conditions is largely oversimplified. The reality is that specific cultures and strains of bacteria are good for treating different conditions, but that probiotics in general are not some sort of magic supplement that can fix all your health issues.

In other words, different strains of bacteria are good for different things. Some strains can change the gut environment to make it harder for “bad” bacteria to survive, which can be useful for short-term illnesses. Other strains directly break down the toxins that can cause conditions like diarrhea. Others can change the perception of pain and discomfort, which can be useful for stomach conditions. And other strains are already present in the body, and/or don’t really have much of an effect at all!

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of bacterial strains that can be helpful in the body. With so many different strains, how is it possible to know which are helping and which aren’t? Well, simply put, the best probiotic supplements are formulated using the most scientifically studied and most effective strains available.

The American College of Gastroenterology published a systematic review of options for IBS and chronic constipation, concluding that probiotics are effective for irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Many people use probiotics for constipation, IBS, diarrhea and other digestive issues, and these uses have been studied in the scientific community.

Most experts agree that probiotics are effective in helping digestive issues, whether they’re taken in supplement form or consumed in fermented and cultured foods such as yogurt. For many people, their diets will deliver them adequate probiotics, making supplements unnecessary. Then again, many of the most effective probiotic supplements contain strains not found in foods, so you may experience different benefits from supplements vs. foods.

As for immune health, the scientific community agrees that probiotic supplements can boost the immune system, helping you stay healthy and avoid sickness. Researchers at Harvard University are currently studying the connection between probiotics and immune health, and the results so far are promising.

Other uses of probiotics, like for skin conditions like acne and eczema, are less studied in clinical trials, but have been shown to be effective for many people. Many people use probiotics for weight loss, which has proven to be effective for some people but has not been studied in clinical trials.

What Are Probiotic Supplements?

Some of the most effective probiotics out there come in supplement form. Generally found in capsule form, the best probiotic supplements will deliver a concentrated dose of live cultures and bacterias, which can help regulate digestive health and promote many aspects of wellbeing.

Who May Benefit From Probiotic Supplements?

If you’re wondering what type of people can benefit from taking top probiotics, here’s your answer:

  • People with digestive issues – The people who can benefit most from probiotics are those with digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, and other digestive disorders and conditions. These folks can greatly benefit from the helpful gut flora that comes in each probiotic capsule, as these bacterias help to regulate the digestive system and restore the body’s natural ability to properly digest and process foods.
  • Anyone who has taken antibiotics recently – If you’ve recently taken a course of antibiotics, regardless of your reasoning for doing so, it’s a great idea to add a probiotic to your diet. Why? Well, antibiotics kill gut bacteria. They are designed to get rid of the bad bacteria that is causing your health issue, but unfortunately they also destroy the good bacteria that your body needs to function properly. Adding a good probiotic to your diet can replace that gut flora to restore a normal digestive system.
  • Vegans – Probiotics are found naturally in certain foods, but the best food sources are mostly dairy products, like yogurt and kefir. For vegans and others who avoid dairy, it can be difficult to get enough good bacteria in your natural diet – although there are some vegan food sources of probiotics. Supplements can help up your natural intake and improve digestive health.
  • Men and women of all ages – Long story short, just about anyone can benefit from these foods. There are generally no gender-specific ingredients found in these products, so the best probiotics for men are generally the same as the best probiotics for women. Even if you consider yourself to be a healthy individual, you may still benefit from taking a good supplement to improve your gut flora.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Whether you’re taking probiotics for constipation, digestive issues, to boost your immune system, or for another reason, you should be aware of potential side effects. People often ask us, are probiotics safe? The short answer is, yes! Generally, you won’t experience any side effects from taking probiotic supplements, so long as you follow the instructions and don’t take too much.

However, with that being said, there are a few potential side effects of probiotics to be aware of:

  • Stomach discomfort/gas

Some people may experience minor stomach discomfort, gassiness, or bloating after taking probiotics. This is fairly rare, but it does happen. For some, it’s useful to take these supplements on a full stomach to avoid this potential side effect. Also – generally speaking, those with weakened immune systems, such as those with chronic diseases, are more likely to experience gas from these supplements.

  • Allergic reactions

Very rarely, people experience allergic reactions to ingredients found in probiotics. It’s rare, but it does happen – although, the same could be said for just about every supplement and food product out there!

How To Take Probiotics

These supplements are generally found in pill or capsule form. They are pretty affordable and readily available at both online retailers and supplement stores. Each product will have slightly different dosages and usage instructions, so pay attention to the bottle of your specific supplement.

In general, it’s best to take probiotics with other food in your stomach. Sometimes, if you take a pill on an empty stomach, you may experience some minor discomfort. So, it’s a good idea to take them with a meal.

As with any supplement, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product packaging. Take the recommended dose and follow the instructions – do not take more than recommended unless you talk to your doctor first!

Also of note – you should take care when storing probiotic supplements. These capsules contain live cultures, bacterias and microorganisms. Since they are actually alive, they are sensitive to increases in temperature and other improper storage techniques.

Depending on the product and how it is made, your supplement may or may not recommend refrigeration. Read the product packaging to determine whether or not you need to refrigerate your capsules. Even if it doesn’t require refrigeration, you should take care to keep your capsules out of direct sunlight, and avoid rapid increases in temperature (so don’t keep the bottle next to your oven!)

This is another reason that you should buy good probiotics from good sources. As these products age, they slowly lose potency. So, don’t buy from discount websites or unknown sources. Try to buy only high quality products from reputable companies. Hint: we’ve done the work for you. Check out the list below of the best probiotic supplements available!

How long does it take for probiotics to work? That really depends on what you’re using them for. Generally, they get to work pretty quickly and you should see results within a week, but again, it really depends what you’re using them for.

What to Look for in a Good Probiotic Supplement

Because there are many different types of these supplements from many different companies, it can often be hard to pick the best one for you. We’ve already made a list of the top probiotic supplements on the market, but before we look at that, let’s go over what you should look for when choosing a supplement:

  • Probiotic content – first and foremost, take a look at the actual count of probiotic cultures (measured in CFUs or colony forming units) in each capsule. Generally it will be a HUGE number, like 10 or 50 billion. This number is useful for comparing two different products, but it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know.
  • Types of probiotics – as stated, there are many different types of beneficial bacterias. Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are the two most common, although there are different strains within each of those categories. If your doctor has told you to take a specific culture, look closely at the ingredient labels.
  • Brand quality – there are a ton of companies who make these supplements, and they’re not all created equal! The best probiotic brands will use high quality ingredients, thorough quality control and rigorous testing to produce the highest quality product possible. Lower quality brands cut corners and end up delivering lower-quality products. Read probiotic reviews to find the best brands, or check our list of recommendations below.
  • Value – price should not be the main deciding factor, but it’s always going to be a factor (unless you’re rich!) Keep an eye on the per-serving or per-day price of each product you’re comparing. You don’t necessarily want cheap probiotics, though, so look for a quality option at a reasonable price.

Top 10 Probiotic Products Compared

Heads up, there are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something, we get a cut of the sale.


1. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Critical Extra Care

best-probiotic-supplement-on-the-market

Ultimate Flora Extra Care is a powerful probiotic supplement made by Renew Life. It’s the best probiotic supplement available today. With 50 billion live cultures in each enteric-coated capsule, this is without a doubt one of the best probiotic products on the market.

Highlights:

  • 50 billion cultures (CFU’s) per capsule
  • 10 different probiotic strains
  • Enteric coated capsules to delay release
  • Promotes digestive health
  • High culture count
  • Well received in probiotic reviews
  • Affordable
  • Excellent value for money
  • Quality guaranteed

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 50 billion active probiotic cultures from 10 different strains

Who makes it: Renew Life is a large supplement manufacturer with a focus on digestive health supplements. In fact, they currently only produce probiotics and other digestive aids. This focus allows them to create highly innovative and effective products, while keeping prices low and quality high.

Bottom line: The huge culture count, combined with innovative coated capsules and the backing of a very reputable company, make these an easy choice for our top recommendation. Renew Life, the company behind these capsules, ONLY makes digestive aids – so you can rest assured that they know what they are doing!

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2. NOW Foods Probiotic-10

NOW-Foods-Probiotic-10

NOW Foods Probiotic-10 is one of the best probiotics available. With 25 billion active cultures in each capsule, Probiotic-10 promotes healthy intestinal flora and improves many aspects of physical health.

Highlights:

  • 10 unique probiotic strains
  • 25 billion cultures (CFU’s) per capsule
  • Vegan
  • Dairy, wheat & gluten free
  • Made by a great company
  • Excellent value for money
  • Great reviews
  • High culture count
  • Convenient single-capsule serving size
  • One of the best probiotics for men and women alike

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 25 billion active cultures from 10 different strains

Who makes it: Probiotic-10 is made by NOW Foods, a large scale manufacturer of health foods and health supplements. From humble beginnings in 1948, NOW Foods has grown into one of the largest names in the business, currently producing more than 1,400 different dietary supplements and health foods. NOW has earned a reputation of quality and consistency in the health food community, making them one of our top recommended probiotic producers.

Bottom line: Overall, Probiotic 10 is a fantastic product and one of the strongest probiotic supplements available. We recommended it because of its high culture count, affordable price, and because it comes from a reputable and trustworthy company.

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3. Healthy Origins Probiotic

Healthy-Origins-Probiotic

Healthy Origins Probiotic is a good probiotic supplement with 30 billion colony forming units (CFU’s) per capsule. Formulated with 8 different probiotic strains, Healthy Origins Probiotic is designed for your digestive health. It’s also shelf stable, which is certainly a notable benefit!

Highlights:

  • 30 billion CFU’s per serving
  • Coated capsules for delayed digestion
  • Shelf stable – does not require refrigeration
  • Convenient 1 capsule serving size
  • Very affordable
  • Well reviewed

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 30 billion active cultures from 8 different strains

Who makes it: This product is made by Healthy Origins, a mid sized supplement manufacturer founded in 1996. For the past 20 years, Healthy Origins has been committed to providing a healthy value from reliable origins – making highly effective and affordable products using natural ingredients.

Bottom line: Overall, Healthy Origins Probiotic is a great natural probiotic. It’s easy to take, with only 1 capsule needed, it’s highly affordable, and it’s shelf stable, meaning there’s no need to refrigerate it. Lastly, we recommend this product because Healthy Origins is a well known company who consistently produces high quality products.

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4. Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics

Dr-Mercola-Complete-Probiotics

Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics is a strong probiotic supplement with 70 billion CFUs per serving. Packed with 10 different strains of healthy probiotics, Complete Probiotics is convenient and powerful.

Highlights:

  • 70 billion CFU’s per serving
  • 10 strains
  • Coated to resist stomach acid (increases digestion rate)
  • Stable at room temperature
  • 18 month shelf life
  • Good value for money
  • Well reviewed

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 70 billion active cultures (CFU) from 10 different strains

Who makes it: Complete Probiotics is made by Dr. Mercola Premium Supplements. Founded and run by Dr. Joseph Mercola, this company makes high quality fitness and health supplements for a wide range of people. Dr. Mercola is a health expert, published author, and TV personality with the experience and resources to make high quality products.

Bottom line: Overall, Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics is one of the top probiotic supplements out there. With a massive culture count of 70 billion, each serving packs quite a punch in terms of health benefits. Also, the fact that this product is shelf-stable with a 18+ month shelf life is a huge plus! The only downside is that it’s a bit more expensive than some of our top recommendations.

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5. Nutrition Now PB8

Nutrition-Now-PB8

Nutrition Now PB8 is an affordable and effective probiotic supplement. With 14 billion CFUs per serving, it’s on the lower end in terms of culture count, but it’s very affordable – and you can always take more than 2 servings a day to increase your probiotic intake.

Highlights:

  • 14 billion CFUs per serving
  • 8 different strains
  • Very affordable
  • Well reviewed

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 14 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 8 different strains

Who makes it: Nutrition Now PB8 is made by Nutrition Now, a manufacturer of health supplements. Founded in 1998, Nutrition Now has kept operations small while focusing on a quality over quantity approach. Today, they have developed a loyal following of fans who love their vitamins and health supplements.

Bottom line: Overall, Nutrition Now PB8 is a good product from a good company. It’s got a lower probiotic content than most products on this list, but it uses high quality ingredients. It’s also quite affordable, which is great for those on a budget.

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6. Sedona Labs iFlora Multi-Probiotic

Sedona-Labs-iFlora-Multi-Probiotic

Sedona Labs iFlora Multi-Probiotic is a powerful probiotic supplement with 16 different probiotic strains. With a whopping 32 billion cells in each serving, iFlora promotes balanced, regular digestion and a healthy immune system. It’s an affordable option from a great company, so it was an easy choice for our top 10 list.

Highlights:

  • 32 billion CFUs per serving
  • 16 probiotic strains
  • Vegetarian
  • Great value for money
  • Well reviewed

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 32 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 16 different strains

Who makes it: iFlora Multi-Probiotic is made by Sedona Labs, a health supplement company that specializes in probiotic supplements. For the past 20 years, Sedona Labs has been dedicated to creating innovative probiotic blends and digestive health products to support the health needs of customers from all over the world. The fact that Sedona Labs specializes in probiotics tells you a lot about the quality of their products!

Bottom line: Overall, iFlora Multi-Probiotic is a great product at a great price. It’s made by a company who is solely dedicated to making the best probiotics possible. It contains 16 different probiotic cultures, which is more than any other product on this list. It’s not the cheapest option, but the quality of this supplement make it a great choice.

7. Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic

Culturelle-Digestive-Health-Probiotic

Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic is an effective probiotic supplement with 10 billion active cultures per serving. This once-per-day supplement provides your body with a solid dose of healthy bacteria that can help to keep your digestive system on track, while supporting immune health and more.

Highlights:

  • 10 billion CFUs per serving
  • 1 probiotic strain
  • One capsule per day

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 10 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 1 different strain

Who makes it: This product is made by Culturelle, a large scale probiotic supplement manufacturer. For many years, Culturelle has specialized in digestive health supplements like probiotics. They use a unique strain of probiotic known as Lactobacillus GG, a clinically proven strain that serves as their main active ingredient.

Bottom line: Overall, Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic is a good option for some. It’s got a lower culture count than average, and unlike most products on this list, and it also only uses a single strain of probiotics. Research has shown that probiotic mixtures appear to be more effective than single-strain products, so keep that in mind.

8. GNC Ultra 50 Probiotic Complex

GNC-Ultra-50-Probiotic-Complex

Ultra 50 Probiotic Complex is an effective probiotic supplement made by GNC. With 50 billion CFUs per serving and a shelf-stable formula, this supplement is an easy way to improve your digestion and rebalance the bacteria in your system.

Highlights:

  • 50 billion CFUs per serving
  • 4 different strains
  • No refrigeration required (shelf stable)
  • Guaranteed potency

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 50 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 4 different strains

Who makes it: Ultra 50 Probiotic Complex is made by GNC, one of the biggest names in the supplement industry. You have likely seen GNC stores in your local mall or shopping center. GNC is a huge multinational company that sells health supplements to meet the needs of the growing health-conscious community.

Bottom line: Overall, Ultra 50 Probiotic Complex is an effective product from a reputable company. It boasts a high culture count and it’s convenient that it’s shelf-stable. On the other hand, it’s one of the more expensive options on this list.

9. Puritan’s Pride Premium Probiotic 10

Puritans-Pride-Premium-Probiotic-10

Puritan’s Pride Probiotic 10 is a rapid-release probiotic supplement containing 20 billion live cultures per serving. With an advanced formula that uses 10 different probiotic strains, this product is well-balanced and effective.

Highlights:

  • 20 billion CFUs per serving
  • 10 different strains
  • Rapid release formula gets to work fast
  • Affordable

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 20 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 10 different strains

Who makes it: Probiotic 10 is made by Puritan’s Pride, a large scale producer of supplements and other health products. For more than 40 years, Puritan Pride has worked hard to develop cutting-edge products to meet the needs of their customers. Based in Long Island, NY, Puritan’s Pride now has a customers worldwide.

Bottom line: Overall, Puritan’s Pride Probiotic 10 is a good probiotic. It offers 20 billion CFUs per serving, which is lower than average but still very beneficial. It’s made by a very well reputed company, and it comes at a very reasonable price, making it an easy choice for our list of recommendations.

10. Bio-Kult Probiotic

Bio-Kult-Probiotic

Bio-Kult Probiotic is an advanced multi-strain probiotic formula. Made by Bio-Kult, this product is shelf-stable and contains probiotics from 14 different strains. It contains 2 billion live cultures per capsule, which is on the low side.

Highlights:

  • 2 billion CFUs per capsule
  • 14 different probiotic strains
  • Lactic acid based probiotic
  • Shelf stable (so no need to refrigerate)

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 2 billion active cultures (CFUs) from 14 different strains

Who makes it: This product is made by Bio-Kult, a division of Probiotics International. For the last 20+ years, Probiotics International has been solely dedicated to developing innovative new digestive supplements using bacterial cultures. Today, they are fully accredited and have happy customers from all around the world.

Bottom line: Overall, Bio-Kult Probiotic is a good option for some. It contains 14 different probiotic strains, which is useful for those who would like to diversify their sources of these helpful bacteria. On the other hand, the culture count in these capsules is fairly low, so it’s a bit expensive for what it is.

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Austin Meadows

Written by Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is an independent writer and consultant specializing in health and wellness topics. With more than 7 years of experience writing in the natural health industry, Austin strives to deliver accurate, concise and researched based information to his readers. You can find more of Austin's work at Olympic-Creative.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.