The gut. It’s something that many of us don’t think about all too often, but is the cause of many issues the body presents. The phrase “all diseases begin in the gut” was said by the founding father of modern medicine Hippocrates, and the sentiment still rings true today.
Thousands of years after that medical hypothesis, the world is finally taking gastrointestinal issues seriously. Over the past decade, probiotics and what they can be used for – such as combatting imbalance in the gut microbiome and clearing acne – are gaining more and more traction, especially considering their positive effects.
In short, gut health is no longer something we should take lightly, but a way to cure common (and often everyday) conditions such as bloating, constipation and breakouts.
While the benefits of probiotics are endless, it’s important to understand that their use has become much more critical due to drastic changes in modern lifestyle and diet, particularly in Western culture.
Many facets of modern life, such as the use of pesticides and GMOs and the discovery of antibiotics, not to mention the incredibly stressful and high-paced lifestyle many in contemporary society live by, can all have negative effects on our gut barriers.
Probiotics for Women FAQ’s
Our top probiotic picks for women:
1. Flora Bloom Probiotics for Women (Best Overall)
2. Align Daily Immune Support Probiotic Supplement (Best for Immunity)
3. Culturelle Probiotics Digestive Health Daily Probiotic (Best for Skin)
Probiotics can assist women in the following areas:
– Boost the immune system
– Reduce the risk of UTI’s (urinary tract infections)
– Help restore the balance of good bacteria
– Improve fertility
– Clear up skin problems
There is some evidence to suggest that lactobacillus gasseri may assist with weight loss. We recommend the following supplement for weight loss: Complete Probiotics Platinum
Why Use Probiotics?
Research suggests that on top of supporting digestive health and immunity, probiotics can improve digestion of lactose, reduce eczema and colic conditions, improve resilience to infections and necrotise enterocolitis. There is also some evidence to suggest probiotics can manage weight and glycaemic control, as well as ease symptoms of depression and anxiety – although, you should always speak to a doctor about beginning on probiotics.
For all these reasons, introducing probiotics into your life is recommended. Especially for women, who are often affected by hormone fluctuations and report rising stress levels. Basically, every woman could benefit from adding a probiotic into their diet.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are simply live bacteria and yeasts that have beneficial effects, especially when it comes to the digestive system. The human gut – and body – is full of bacteria, both good and bad, and probiotics are often touted as the “good” or “helpful” bacteria. Probiotics support healthy body systems from the mouth to the gut, and can help keep harmful microorganisms like germs at bay. When at the right level, probiotics can improve nutrient absorption, aid digestion and leave skin clear and glowing.
What Are Probiotic Supplements?
While you can find a good amount of probiotics in fermented foods – such as kefir, sauerkraut and yoghurt – the best way to ensure a good balance of probiotics is through supplements. But, before you go grabbing anything of the shelf it’s important to know that not all probiotic supplements are the same. Many contain different strains of bacteria and often serve different needs.
Why Should You Be Taking Probiotic Supplements?
Trillions of bacteria live in your digestive system and overall body. One of the main areas of bacteria lives in the large intestine, where a colonic community of bacteria – known as the gut microbiota – aids digestion, levels immunity, among other functions.
When it comes to probiotic supplements, there are a myriad of products available that contain an even wider range of probiotic bacterial strains. To reap the benefits of said bacterial strains, you need to choose the right one to address your exact problem – whether that be digestion, immunity or skin health.
Like previously stated, an imbalance in the gut microbiota could contribute to a plethora of health issues, particularly gastrointestinal issues, as well as infections and immune dysfunction. The bacterial balance can be disrupted by other medical conditions such as physical and emotional stress and the use of antibiotics, with some destroying good bacteria, as well as the bad.
Probiotic supplements work to balance back your good bacteria. Best for people that experience ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome IBS. Probiotics can also fight inflammation, boost immunity and have beneficial impacts on cholesterol. Again though, it all comes down to choosing the right supplement for you.
Choosing The Right Probiotic Supplement For You
A product must contain active and live bacterial cultures to be a ‘true’ probiotic, which will be stated on all of its packaging. Many recommend choosing a probiotic product that contains at least 1 billion colony forming units, and that also contains Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus – some of the most well-regarded and studied probiotics. Each bacteria comes in numerous strains, which in turn, produce varying results.
As an example, yogurt contains a two ‘starter’ bacterial culture – Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus – which can often be destroyed by your stomach acid, therefore providing no real probiotic benefit.
What Does Each Strain Of Probiotic Help With
The two most common species of probiotics are:
This strain of probiotic bacteria is most commonly used in foods and supplements. It is thought to reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine, aid immune health and help break down lactose into nutrients helpful to the body.
This particular strain of bacteria produces lactase, an enzyme that breaks down sugar, milk and lactose products. This species of bacteria also produces lactic acid, which helps keep bad bacteria at bay. This bacteria is mostly found in the mouth, small intestine and vagina.
The two most common strains of probiotics are:
Probiotic strains are the genetic subtypes of probiotic species. Each strain will have a varying effect on the body, and is what you should look out for most on supplement packaging.
This probiotic strain aids digestion and fights food-borne bacteria. It also helps to boost the body’s immune system.
This particular strain lives in your vagina and digestive tract. In both areas, it will work to fight off infection-causing bacteria, or yeast. It also ferments sugars to help the body absorb nutrients.
Derived from raw milk, and is most commonly found in baby formula.
Found in your gastrointestinal tract, this strain helps break down carbohydrates and can be an antioxidant.
This probiotic strain, which helps digestion and fights off bacteria, is found in the vagina and small intestine.
This strain is found in the intestine and mouth and is thought to help the digestive system.
Below, five of the best probiotic supplements for women in 2019.
1. Flora Bloom Probiotics for Women
Best Probiotic for Women
The Flora Bloom delayed-release capsules offer women a blend of probiotics, as well as prebiotics. These include D-Mannose and cranberry that support the absorption of nutrients.
On top of promoting a healthy pH in the gut, the Flora Bloom Probiotic Supplements have been proven to boost immunity, optimise a healthy urine tract and control vaginal years. The capsules, which are vegan, are made to be acid-resistant for improve digestion.
On top of all these benefits, the Flora Bloom Probiotics for Women’s delayed-release design helps probiotics be absorbed by the whole body – not just the gut!
2. Align Daily Immune Support Probiotic Supplement
Best Probiotic for Immunity
This is for those who often find themselves feeling rundown or sick. The Align Daily Immune Support Probiotic Supplement is the best way to give your immunity system a boost, while protecting your gut bacteria.
Align is one of the most trusted and highly-regarded probiotic brands on the market, and is often recommended by nutritionists and doctors. This particular probiotic contains Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, a strain that is often touted as the most beneficial when it comes to benefiting immunity.
Align Daily Immune Support Probiotic Supplement is also a lactic acid bacteria that aids in lactose intolerance. Best taken once a day, this probiotic contains at least one billion CFUs, with each bottle containing 28 pills.
3. Culturelle Probiotics Digestive Health Daily Probiotic
Best Probiotic for Skin
For those after a successful probiotic that you can take every day that targets everything from skin health to gut health, the Culturelle Probiotics Digestive Health Daily Probiotic is a winner. Not only does each capsule contain over 10 billion active cultures of 100% Lactobacillus GG – a probiotic known to aid bloating, upset tummies and reduce gas symptoms.
It also is said to contain the equivalent of up to 10 cups of yoghurt (without the added dairy, of course). The capsules are also sugar-free and gluten-free. This particular product comes with thirty pills to be taken once daily at night.
Many reviewers have said Culturelle’s product helped clear up their irregular bowel issues, while also keeping breakouts and acne at bay. “I have been taking these for a few years! I believe it has boosted my immune system greatly!”, one reviewer wrote.
4. GoLive Probiotic And PreBiotic Supplement Blend
Perfect for the women on the go (or the forgetful ones). The GoLive Berry and Prebiotic Supplement Blend is great addition to your handbag or desk drawer for an easy pick-me-up. Each small packet contains 15 billion CFU’s and 15 varying probiotic strains.
The supplement also contains a soluble fibre prebiotic which promotes and aids the growth of good bacteria in your body – not just the gut. The best part is that each packet only contains thirty calories and is available in five different flavours.
These flavours include citrus blueberry, melon cucumber, pomegranate and flavourless. The GoLive Probiotic And PreBiotic Supplement Blend can also be mixed with either hot or cold beverages, depending on your preference.
5. Blackmores Probiotics+ Women’s Flora Balance
Best Probiotic for Vaginal Health
The Blackmores Probiotics+ Women’s Flora Balance contains two clinically trialled probiotic strains, which provides the body with 2.3 billion good bacteria. On top of these benefits, the probiotic supports healthy vaginal flora balance.
A healthy vagina contains a large amount of Lactobacilli, a type of ‘good bacteria’. For many women, hormonal fluctuations can also cause a fluctuation in flora balance – which is where these supplements come in.
Not only does Blackmores Probiotics+ Women’s Flora Balance help replenish good bacteria levels and maintain healthy vagina flora, it is suitable for women who are pregnant and comes in a small, easy-to-handle bottle.
“I have tried other Blackmores products and they have served me well and I am happy to say this product lived up to my expectations too,” one reviewer wrote. Another wrote, “This product is amazing! I was experiencing quite a gut imbalance and nothing else I tried worked!”
How Do You Start With Probiotics?
So, after doing the research you’ve decided to give probiotics a go in your diet. Here’s a few easy steps to get started with the process.
- Probiotics are, as a whole market, recognised as safe and standard practice. However, they are not advised for people with compromised immune systems. Always seek a doctor’s advice when not sure if starting on probiotics is right for you.
- Starting on probiotics may mean you take some months to trial and error a few options, so you find the right one for you. If you begin to notice no benefits from a particular strain of probiotic supplements, try finding a different strain of bacteria and monitoring the effects. For best results, try tracking with a journal.
- For some people, probiotics may cause side effects like gas and bloating, as well as having a change in your regular bowel movements. These are all indications that your probiotic supplements are working, and you shouldn’t be alarmed. If symptoms do persist, ask your local GP for advice.
- Foods rich in natural probiotics help your good bacteria in the long run. Adding foods like yogurt, beans onions, bananas, and other fibre sources – on top of your probiotic supplements – is also a good option.