We spent 3 months taking different brands of probiotics and recording the results to come up with this top 5 list. We did deep research (including clinical studies and speaking to doctors and other experts) to narrow down the options to the 5 we thought we could try out ourselves. The criteria we used to rank the products include quality of ingredients, potential health benefits, number of strains in the product and number of cultures.
Probiotic for Women Buying Guide
What is Probiotics?
Most people forget or simply don’t know that there are ‘good’ bacteria in the body. That’s what probiotics are in a nutshell. These are bacteria that are already found in your body. So probiotics work very similar to supplements except the former introduces good bacteria into the body.
Probiotics help to prevent and improve a wide spectrum of conditions including digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal and urinary problems and even skin issues such as eczema.
What to Look For in Probiotics
The truth is there is more to probiotics than meets the eye. Remember that this is a hot market so there are plenty of sub-standard brands and company trying to cash in on the demand. There are a few guidelines that we recommend you use to choose your probiotics. We used these same criteria when compiling this list of top 5 probiotics for women.
Number of Cultures (CFU)
CFU or Colony Forming Units are the basic measure for probiotics. The number is typically displayed clearly on the label so you might want to think twice about any product that doesn’t make this information obvious.
You want to consider anywhere from 3 billion to 50 billion (or more) CFU. Note that 3 billion is on the lower side and only recommended for people taking probiotics for no other reason other than they want to maintain an already healthy body. If you have symptoms or want to prevent some, you might want to consider from 50 billion for the product to be effective.
Number of Strains
You want as many different strains in a bottle of probiotics as possible to gain any real benefit. The two most important ones are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacilli. These cater to both the large and small intestines and may be abbreviated on the bottle as B and L respectively.
Keep in mind that the more the strain doesn’t actually mean the better. There are only a limited number of strains that are useful either because they are good for you or will actually reach the gut. A number of about 20 strains make sense.
Quality of Ingredients
You need to be very careful about anything you put into your body including good bacteria. As you might have noted, we only opted for all natural products. Be mindful of GMOs, Gluten and dairies especially if you are committed to a healthy lifestyle. The options listed on this review are all safe in this regard.
The idea of shelf stable has a number of moving parts which you need to take into account. Firstly, some products lose their potency where CFU is concerned. For example, a probiotic bottle that boasts 50 billion CFU may have half that number a few months down the line. We took this factor into account when compiling our list so you should be ok in this regard.
Some probiotics also need to be refrigerated to remain effective over their life-span. Again, we chose products which don’t need refrigeration since it’s not always possible to keep them chilled. You still need to keep them away from direct sunlight and in a relatively cool, dry and dark place to maintain their potency.
Finally, pay close attention to the expiry date. Many probiotics have a relatively short shelf-life and you may find that yours expired by the time it was shipped to you. A guarantee certainly helps but all in all, cross check the expiry date before buying.
As you may have also noted, some probiotics have very specific issues that they address while others cover a broad spectrum. Which one to choose certainly depends on your preference although it does make sense to take probiotics that specifically address a condition you are dealing with. We limited this review to the best probiotics for women so you see a bias for women-related conditions such as UTI, vaginal dryness, constipation, mood swings and so on.
These products, however, cover a wide range of issues including inflammation, brain function, eczema and GI support. Probiotics are also available for all genders and ages.
This is a roundup of the 5 best probiotics for women based on very specific criteria. We must admit that you shouldn’t take this order from 1-5 at face value. Any of these products reviewed here could easily occupy the number one spot simply based on the fact that each has its own specific area it addresses. We must also take into account the personal differences. Probiotics do not work the same way for two individuals so this difference also likely played a role in the numbering.
As a word of caution, probiotics are not a replacement for your medication. If you are taking any medication for the aforementioned conditions, you need to consult with your doctor whether it is safe for you to take these products. Additionally, you should definitely check with your doctor should you choose to stop your medication.
Finally, we must mention that you need to manage your expectations. It is very unlikely that you will see any dramatic results within the first few days because it takes time for the gut to change its condition. You should be able to report these benefits in a few weeks of taking your probiotics as prescribed on the bottle.