Probiotics for women can be vital for your health. Your gut is the center of your immune system and is essential for your overall wellbeing. Sometimes, our guts need a little bit of support. Probiotics can help with this.
Probiotics are a type of friendly bacteria. They reside in your gut and help you break down food. Having a good ratio of probiotics is associated with a variety of health effects, including immune functions and healthier skin (1).
Not all probiotics are the same, though. The quality, amount, and type of live CFUs matters. This is affected by a variety of factors, including the manufacturing process. To help you choose the best option for you
1. 1MD Complete Probiotics
We loved the 1MD Complete Probiotics simply because this supplement is complete. It is created using the latest scientific research and includes 51 live CFUs in each capsule. With 11 different strains, this supplement is very diverse as well – a feature that’s great for your gut.
All the strains are designed to be resistant to acid and bile, which helps ensure they reach your gut, to begin with. These capsules are also very clean. They are non-GMO, soy-free, and preservative-free.
For these reasons, 1MD Complete Probiotics is our #1 choice for probiotics for women.
2. Garden for Life RAW Probiotics for Women
Derived from only natural ingredients, this supplement includes 82 billion CFUS and 32 different strains of probiotics. Those are huge numbers, prompting us to rank this supplement very high on the list. All the probiotics come from natural, fermented food items like yogurt.
Because it is made from natural products, this supplement is very diverse and also includes a variety of vitamins and minerals.
3. Physician’s Choice Probiotics for Women
This probiotic by Physician’s Choice is specifically designed for women. It contains 60 billion CFUs per serving as well as ten different probiotic strains. This is quite a bit more than other supplements on the market, though not as much as our top picks.
All the probiotics chosen have scientific evidence to back them up, so you can bet that this probiotic is bound to work better than most others.
4. Culturelle Women’s Healthy Balance Probiotic for Women
Culturelle specifically designed this supplement for women. It is designed to support vaginal, digestive, and immune health. It contains 15 billion CFUs and five strains. This is a decent amount, but not as much as some other probiotics on the market.
The probiotics included are scientifically-proven, however. Because of this, this supplement does work better than other popular options on the market.
5. Nutrition Essentials Probiotics for Women
This probiotic supplement contains 900 billion CFUs, which is one of the highest amounts on the market. It is made in a GMP-certified lab as well, ensuring safety.
We also loved how clean this food is. It is 100% organic and gluten-free. There is no preservatives, fillers, binders, or blenders included, either, making this one of the cleanest probiotic supplements on the market.
6. Organic Probiotics by Wholesome Wellness
We loved that this supplement includes 100 billion CFUs of 34 different strains. The probiotics are shelf-stable, ensuring that they are still alive when you take each serving. This supplement comes with a money-back guarantee.
This supplement is free of binders, soy, gluten, milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, and a host of other ingredients. It is just probiotics with none of the stuff you don’t need!
7. Nature’s Bounty Probiotics Dietary Supplement
This Nature’s Bounty supplement only includes one strain of probiotic. However, it is a beneficial and popular strain, making this supplement a suitable choice if you only want Lactobacillus Acidophilus. Each serving includes 100 million of this probiotic strain.
Nature’s Bounty puts all their supplements through quality tests to ensure safety and quality.
8. Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic
Designed specifically for women’s health, this supplement includes 25 billion live cultures of 10 different probiotic strains. This is quite a bit, but not necessarily as many as some of the other supplements we reviewed, which is why this probiotic is rated decently lower.
The probiotics are shelf-stable. However, refrigeration is still recommended.
9. Physician’s Choice Thin Probiotics for Women
Unlike most probiotics on this list, this product is designed specifically to help women lose weight. It contains 15 billion CFUs, which is a decent amount. It includes probiotics as well as a few supplemental additives designed to help you lose weight.
It is third-party tested for safety, so you can rest assured that it is very safe. It is also non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.
10. Rephresh Pro-B Probiotic Supplement for Women
This supplement is specifically designed to combat yeast infections. It can’t cure yeast infections, but it may be able to balance your pH and prevent them. It starts working after about seven days, but you need to continue taking it to get the full benefit.
It is clinically tested, though, so there is some evidence that it can work.
How We Ranked
There is a lot to consider when rating probiotics. Our priority is always safety. Probiotics for women are not regulated by the FDA, which means they can vary a lot in safety and quality. We prefer probiotics that are made in FDA-regulated factories, as that means they’re following specific safety standards while creating each supplement.
We also ranked supplements higher when third parties tested them. This sort of testing is a great way to ensure the supplement is safe and contains everything it says it does – which is a common problem in the supplement world today.
Secondly, we considered the number of CFUs and strains included. The more CFUs in a supplement, the more that are going to end up in your gut. This is almost always a good thing. Furthermore, you want a diverse number of probiotics in your gut, so it is usually best to choose a supplement that includes a range of diverse strains.
Thirdly, the cost was an essential component we considered. You don’t want to spend more than you have to on probiotics, especially since you’re going to take them daily. While more expensive probiotics aren’t necessarily a bad thing, you don’t want to spend more if there isn’t any added value.
Because of this, we carefully considered the value of each probiotic. We ranked great and cheap probiotics vert high, while expensive probiotics that don’t bring anything extra to the table are ranked lower.
Finally, we took the survivability of each probiotic into account as well. Some probiotics are made with very survivable strains, while others will likely be destroyed during storage and by your stomach acid. If the probiotics are destroyed before they get to their destination, it isn’t going to do you much good.
Probiotics for women can improve your gut biome. The primary purpose of probiotics is to improve your gut biome. Every person’s gut contains a variety of different microorganisms. Most of these are harmless and don’t do much. However, some of them have positive health effects, and others may harm us indirectly.
For example, your gut flora produces some vitamins and minerals that are important for your health, such as vitamin K and various B vitamins (1). It also turns some fiber into critical fatty acids, which help support your gut wall and keep your digestive system healthy (2).
Your microbiome also affects your immune system, since most germs must pass through it before they infect you. A healthy microbiome can prevent unwanted microbes from entering your system and making you sick. They may also prevent your immune system from improperly responding to certain foods, which causes food allergies (4, 5, 6).
There are thousands of different gut flora out there. However, you want specific strains if you want to stay healthy and happy. Having an imbalanced amount of gut flora has been linked to a variety of diseases and disorders, from certain cancers to depression (3).
Most of the other benefits we listed are because of this improved microbiome. However, many benefits deserve complete discussion and explanation.
Probiotics for women may also cure antibiotic-related diarrhea. On top of improving your microbiome, probiotics may improve your digestive health in a variety of other ways. Some of these benefits may be connected to your microbiome, but they have yet to be studied extensively.
One of the most common uses of probiotics medically is to improve antibiotic-associated diarrhea. While this is usually minor, it can be quite severe. Diarrhea is a major reason some people may not finish their antibiotics, as well, which can cause a host of other issues (7, 8).
Furthermore, diarrhea may continue even after the antibiotics have been stopped. This is likely because the antibiotics destroy all bacteria, including the good kind in your gut. After the good bacteria have been killed, harmful bacteria can set up shop and cause all sorts of intestinal problems.
Probiotics for women can help with irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. IBS is a common digestive disorder that isn’t completely understood. Currently, there is no cure for the disorder. Instead, women usually have to take medication to manage their symptoms and may have to avoid certain foods.
One specific study found that, while probiotics and IBS have not been extensively studied together, there is some evidence that probiotics may help IBS and other inflammatory bowel diseases. More study is needed to figure out exactly which probiotic strains are most helpful and in what dosages (11).
There is also some evidence that probiotics may be helpful for other inflammatory bowel diseases, like ulcerative colitis. However, the evidence base is much smaller than it is for IBS (12).
Probiotics for women may help fight Helicobacter pylori infections. These infections are the main drivers of ulcers and stomach cancer. As you might imagine, avoiding this bacterium is essential if you want to avoid these conditions.
Probiotics for women may help you lose weight. There is some evidence that probiotics may help women lose weight, especially when combined with other weight-loss strategies.
One study found that people who are obese usually have a different gut bacteria range than those who are a healthy weight (16). Because of this, there may be some connection between your gut bacteria and the ease at which you gain weight.
More research is needed on the matter. Some animal studies have had promising evidence, but human studies are lacking. Some probiotic strains appear to affect weight loss.
One study found that some strains of probiotics may affect how much energy you absorb on your diet (17). Another study found that taking Lactobacillus gasseri daily helped obese people lose 8.5% of their belly fat over 12 weeks (18). However, these results went away quickly when the participants stopped taking the probiotics.
One study on animals found that certain probiotic strains made animals gain weight. This is likely true in humans as well. Therefore, it is not the number of probiotics that is important, but the specific type that resides in your gut (19).
More research is needed to figure out the full effect of probiotics on weight loss, as well as which strains are best and at which dosage.
Probiotics for women may reduce inflammation. There is a small amount of evidence that probiotics may decrease women’s overall inflammation. Inflammation is the driver behind many different diseases and disorders. When your inflammation becomes too high and is chronic, you may become at risk for a variety of different diseases.
In particular, one review found that probiotics likely prevent inflammation by reducing the number of inflammation-inducing stimuli that pass through the gut. Certain probiotic strains may enhance short-chain fatty acids since some strains can turn fiber into these fatty acids (20).
More research is needed to figure out precisely what probiotic strains reduce inflammation. We also do not know which inflammatory diseases are affected heavily by probiotics as well.
Probiotics for women may decrease mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Certain probiotic strains have been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. They may be able to treat other mental health diseases, as well, though more studies are needed to know for sure.
Studies have particularly pointed out Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum as helping with mental health symptoms. However, they may not be useful for everyone. It likely depends on your current microbiome (21, 22).
Probiotics for women may cause unwanted gastrointestinal side effects. While probiotics usually improve your digestive health, they can cause some adverse gastrointestinal side effects as well. For example, studies have shown that they may cause gas and bloating, though this is usually temporary (23).
The type of probiotic you take does matter. Those that are derived mostly for yeast have been connected to constipation and increased thirst (24).
Not everyone experiences these side effects. It may depend on your current microbiome, as well as your tolerance of supplements in general. Usually, though, these symptoms fade after a few weeks. So, don’t quit taking your probiotics just because you experience a bit of gas.
Probiotics for women may cause headaches. There are some reports that certain probiotics can cause headaches. Again, though, it depends on where the probiotics came from. Particular fermented food like yogurt contains high levels of biogenic amines (25, 26).
Amines have a subtle effect on the central nervous system that varies from person to person. Some people are fine and don’t feel an effect at all. Others may be particularly sensitive and may find themselves developing a headache (27).
Not all probiotics contain amines. Most don’t. Those that are high-quality usually do not contain this extra substance.
Probiotics for women may increase your histamine levels. It depends on the specific strain, though, as only some are associated with this effect.
Histamine is a typical molecule that is found in your body. It is produced by your immune system when it detects a threat.
Histamine causes blood vessels to dilate, which allows for increased blood flow in the infected area. These inflated vessels are also more permeable, which allows the immune cells to get where they need to go faster (28).
However, histamines also cause allergy symptoms in this way, as well as swelling. Many medications that treat allergies are anti-histamines and work by interrupting this process.
Some probiotics include histamine-producing bacteria. Luckily, most people can break down this extra histamine easily in their digestive tract so that probiotics won’t affect their histamine levels. Some people are particularly sensitive, though, and may experience allergy-like symptoms while taking probiotics.
However, all of our current research is on probiotic-containing foods, NOT probiotics themselves. More research is needed to figure out if probiotics have this same effect, or if the histamine-raising bacteria are only a problem when consumed with certain foods.
Probiotics for women can increase the chance for infection, though this is rare. In specific individuals, probiotics may make you more likely to get sick. If you’re suspectable, the bacteria found in probiotics may move through your gut and into your bloodstream, which can cause infections (29, 30).
For the average person, this is extremely rare. However, it may be more likely to occur in specific individuals, such as those with already suppressed immune systems, those who have gone through recent surgeries, and women experiencing prolonged hospitalization (31, 32).
More research is needed to figure out why this happens precisely and to help prevent it. Luckily, though, this is extremely rare, especially among the general population. It is more going to be a problem among cancer patients staying in the hospital for extended periods and other similar individuals. Its rarity is one of the reasons our research is currently very lacking.
The number of probiotics you need to take varies widely. Not much research has been done on the topic, with different studies using widely different dosages.
The strain you take also matters, which can complicate the question considerably. Certain strains are useful for different things, and often our research is lacking on which exact probiotics you should take.
Furthermore, most of our current research has been done on specific probiotic strains. However, most probiotics on the market contain ten or more strains. We don’t know how these strains work together or affect each other.
However, more studies do use a decently high among of probiotics, usually about 10 billion CFUs a day. A high number is needed because not all CFUs are going to survive storage and digestion. The goal is to get some probiotics into your gut. To do that, you often have to start with a lot of probiotics.
Probiotics take a bit of time to work. Most of our science says that some probiotics may take 6 to 12 months before significant benefits are apparent. However, some may notice benefits sooner.
What is the best probiotic for women?
While the probiotic you take is very personal, we preferred the 1MD Complete Probiotics. We ranked it very high on our list because it contains a variety of different probiotic strains. Our research on many strains is lacking. Because of this, it is almost always better to diversify and take many different strains. The odds of probiotics helping you increases as you consume more strains.
Furthermore, it uses a very high number of CFUs as well, which increases the chance that some of the probiotics will end up in your gut. It is also made with safe manufacturing guidelines, which is essential when you’re taking a supplement.
Should you take a probiotic supplement for women when you’re pregnant?
Our babies do not directly inherit their gut biome from their mothers. Instead, they build it after they are born. There are some strains of bacteria that they receive from breastmilk – and may therefore be lacking in if they are formula-fed. However, the makeup of the mother’s microbiome seems to have minimal effect on the microbiome the baby will develop.
One review looked at 27 different studies to determine the effect of probiotics on pregnancy and the health of the infant once it was born. Overall, there seemed to be no correlation between the microbiome and the rates of preterm birth, gestational diabetes, or infant health outcomes (33).
However, probiotics do seem to be entirely safe for pregnant women to take. They may help you with some of the diseases we have already discussed, but they will likely not affect your pregnancy.
What is the difference between prebiotic supplements and probiotic supplements for women?
Prebiotics and probiotics may sound similar, but they are very different. Probiotics are the actual gut bacteria themselves. There are many different strains out there, and their effects do vary quite a bit. They can help with things like yeast infections, weight loss, gas, and particular gastrointestinal disease.
However, prebiotics are things that your gut bacteria need to thrive. They are the “food,” simply put. Prebiotic supplements are an excellent add-on to probiotic supplements since they can keep your existing microbiome healthy. But they can’t change your microbiome since they don’t include any bacteria.
If you’ve been on your probiotics for a while, you may want to consider switching to a prebiotic. After all, if you already have a good microbiome, you don’t need to introduce new bacteria into your gut. You’ll want to keep your current microbiome health – which is precisely what a prebiotic is designed to do.
Should you take probiotics for women every day?
Yes. If you’re on a probiotic, you should take them as directed on the package of your particular probiotics. Almost always, these instructions are going to tell you to take a serving every day. You want a steady stream of good bacteria to your gut, and you need to take a probiotic every day to accomplish this.
There are no significant side effects associated with probiotics in the general population. They are generally considered extremely safe, so there is little reason why you shouldn’t take them every day. Those with suppressed immune systems may want to talk to their doctor before starting probiotics, however.
Who should not take probiotics for women?
There are not many side effects associated with probiotics at all. They are very safe and come with significant benefits. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t take probiotics significantly since they really can’t hurt anything. If anything, you won’t notice an improvement – but you won’t be worse off than before!
However, some people may want to speak with their doctor before taking probiotics. There is some evidence that those with suppressed immune systems may get infections from probiotics, as the bacteria in the probiotic moves through their gut wall. These infections are sporadic and there has not been a reported case in the general population. It seems that only users who have suppressed immune systems are prone to these infections.
Should I take probiotics for women?
If you have a gastrointestinal disorder, a mental health disorder, or are on antibiotics, you may benefit from a probiotic for women. With that said, practically everyone may benefit from a probiotic, just because our immune systems are so connected to our overall wellbeing. However, those with current problems may benefit the most.
Probiotics improve your gut biome. It is challenging to get your gut microbiome to be perfect. There is almost always room for improvement. Because of this, most women will benefit from a probiotic. However, the benefits you receive depends largely on what your microbiome looks like now.
Do probiotics for women make you gain weight?
No. Probiotics should generally not make you gain weight. However, it depends on what strains you are taking. As we have previously discussed, some strains of probiotics are associated with weight loss, while others are associated with weight gain. We currently do not have all the research necessary to outline which probiotic strains are harmful and which are useful in this aspect.
However, we do know that those who are obese often have different microbiomes than those who are a healthy weight. Some animal studies have demonstrated that introducing certain strains can cause weight loss, but it is likely the opposite is also true. It just depends on the strains you’re using.
Luckily, most commercial probiotics are not going to contain strains that may make you lose weight. As always, diversity is your best option. That way, even if you take a strain that may cause weight gain, it’ll be canceled out by another that causes weight loss.
How do you know if a probiotic for women is working?
Firstly, probiotics can take six months to 12 months before you notice a difference. Changing your gut biome takes a long time. You’re changing the bacteria ratio in your gut. The only way to do that is to introduce good bacteria regularly for a while until it slowly replaces the harmful bacteria.
If you’re taking probiotics for a particular reason, a sign that they’re starting to work is when that condition lessens. For example, if you have IBS, a lessening of IBS symptoms is a good sign your probiotics are working.
For those taking probiotics as their overall health routine, the results may not be as easy to pick out. Usually, you’ll begin to be able to eat foods that you couldn’t previously. This doesn’t just mean that you won’t get gassy or crampy after eating a greasy cheeseburger. The effects may be more subtle, like a decrease in brain fog or headaches.
When should you take probiotics for women?
Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. Some people will claim taking probiotics at night is best, but others will claim to take them in the morning is most effective. No studies have shown a difference based on when you take the probiotics.
You just want to take probiotics about 20 minutes after you eat. This is to help the bacteria reach your intestines, where they will set up. However, it may also reduce some of the adverse side effects associated with probiotics, such as gassiness.
Probiotics for women are particularly suitable for those with gastrointestinal problems like IBS, mental health disorders, or obesity. However, they can also be a substantial part of any health routine. They’re incredibly safe to use, and almost everyone is likely to see an improvement in their overall wellbeing.
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