Best Probiotic Supplement: How to Choose in 2024

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    When choosing a probiotic supplement, there are some key features to look out for. Quality, potency, strain, and viability are just a few of the most important.

    Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help boost your gut and digestive health. But, with so many types of probiotic supplements on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are best for you. In this article, we'll explore what exactly probiotics do and the key features you should look out for when selecting a probiotic supplement.

    What are Probiotics?

    Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in various foods and supplements, and they are beneficial for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Our body is home to trillions of bacteria. The gut microbiome is made up of these bacteria that play an essential role in our digestive health. Probiotics have been shown to help promote optimal gut health by supporting the growth of friendly bacteria.

    The term "microbiome" refers to the community of microorganisms living in our bodies. Probiotics help support the growth of good bacteria within the microbiome and restore the proper balance that is needed to thrive. When the bacteria in our gut is out of whack, the foods we consume may not be be properly digested and absorbed.

    In addition to promoting optimal gut health, probiotics may also have other benefits, such as boosting immune function by helping to produce cells that support the immune system such as t cells, lymphocytes, and toll-like receptors.

    Types of Probiotic Strains

    There are hundreds of different species of bacteria that colonize our intestinal tract. The species that offer positive benefits to our health are the ones that are selected as probiotics. There are several strains of probiotics, each with its unique properties and benefits. Some of the most common probiotic strains are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and Saccharomyces. However, species that belong to Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria tend to offer the most researched benefits.

    Lactobacillus is a type of probiotic strain that is found naturally in the digestive tract. It helps to break down food and absorb nutrients more efficiently. Lactobacillus also promotes healthy digestion by producing lactic acid.. This strain is commonly found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.

    Bifidobacteria is another popular probiotic strain that plays an essential role in maintaining good gut health. This strain can help to support immunity by maintaining a healthy gut barrier function.

    Care/of uses the most studied strains in their multi-strain probiotic blend formula. It contains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species, specifically B. lactis, L rhamnosus, and L acidophilus. Most importantly, it is third-party tested, non-GMO, C.L.E.A.N certified, vegan, gluten-free, and contains no unnecessary fillers.

    What to Look for in a Probiotic

    When it comes to probiotics, there are a few important things to consider before making your purchase. Knowing what to look for in quality probiotics can help ensure you're getting the most out of this beneficial supplement. You'll want to pay close attention to the strain, potency, and types of probiotics that are included. Additionally, make sure any fillers or potential allergens are clearly identified on the label.


    Choosing a high-quality probiotic should be the top priority. A high-quality probiotic will contain live and active cultures. The main purpose of a probiotic is to introduce good bacteria into your gut microbiome. That’s why it’s important to choose a probiotic that contains live and active cultures. Also, selecting a probiotic that is third-party tested, free of GMOs, and C.L.E.A.N certified is key.

    Potency and number of CFUs

    The potency of probiotics is measured in colony-forming units (CFU). CFUs refer to the number of viable bacterial cells present in each dose of the supplement. CFUs typically range from 1-10 billion per dose, but some supplements may contain numbers even higher than that.

    Generally speaking, higher potency means more live cultures per dose. However, higher potency doesn't necessarily mean better; it's crucial to select a dosage that is appropriate for your individual needs.

    Multiple strains

    While many people focus on the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) in a supplement, it's equally important to consider the number and variety of strains present. Multiple strains offer unique benefits that single-strain supplements simply can't match.

    One reason why multiple strains are beneficial is that they work together to create a more diverse gut microbiome. In fact, studies have shown that probiotic supplements with multiple strains show greater efficacy than single strains. Additionally, a systematic review concluded that only trials that used multi-strain probiotics found clinically significant improvements in quality of life.

    Look out for fillers

    Some probiotics may contain unnecessary fillers that could potentially be harmful to your health. Fillers are ingredients that are added to products in order to bulk them up or enhance their texture, flavor, or appearance. While some fillers are harmless, others may be associated with negative side effects such as digestive issues and allergic reactions. It is important for consumers to carefully read the labels of probiotic supplements and look out for any potential fillers.

    Shelf life and packaging

    It's important to be aware of the shelf life and packaging of probiotic supplements in order to ensure that you're getting the most out of them.

    Firstly, the shelf life of probiotic supplements can vary depending on a number of factors such as how they are stored and transported. Some probiotic strains are sensitive to heat and moisture and incorrect conditions during transport can destroy any potential benefit. Secondly, it's important to check the expiration date on the packaging before purchasing and consuming any probiotics. If a supplement has expired, it may no longer contain enough live bacteria to provide any benefit.

    Lastly, the packaging is also an important consideration when it comes to probiotic supplements. Look for products that come in light-resistant containers, as exposure to light can sometimes damage live bacteria. Always check the label on the packaging to ensure you are storing the supplement in the correct condition.

    Capsule types

    Probiotic supplements come in various forms such as capsules, tablets, powders, and drinks.

    Yet, capsule-type probiotics have several advantages over other forms. Firstly, they protect the bacteria from harsh stomach acids which can kill off beneficial microorganisms before they reach the intestines. Secondly, capsules allow for a controlled release of bacteria throughout the digestive tract to ensure maximum absorption and effectiveness.

    Dairy-free and allergens

    Those with lactose intolerance or sensitivities to dairy should be aware that some probiotic supplements may contain dairy. Also, it is important to also look out for other allergens like soy, wheat, and nuts. These ingredients may cause adverse reactions in individuals who are sensitive or intolerant.

    To avoid any unpleasant side effects, it is crucial to read the labels carefully before purchasing a probiotic supplement. Fortunately, there are several dairy-free and allergen-free options available in the market today. For instance, Care/of’s probiotic blend is C.L.E.A.N. certified, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free.

    How to Choose the Right Dose

    When it comes to probiotics, less can be more. Starting at a low dose of CFUs and gradually increasing it can help your body adjust to the new bacteria introduced in your gut. This approach also helps avoid any digestive discomfort that may arise from taking high doses of probiotics.

    The Bottom Line

    Finding the right probiotic for your body can be a challenging task, as there are so many different types and brands available. With the knowledge of what to look for in a quality probiotic, you can ensure that you are getting the best available on the market. Paying attention to the strain, potency, added fillers, shelf-life, and allergens are key features to consider when choosing a probiotic supplement. Additionally, probiotic supplements that are in capsule form are typically better absorbed in the digestive system. So take your time, do your research, and find the one that is best suited to meet your needs!

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.