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Updated: Dec' 12, 2018.
What are the best probiotics for women?
Sorry, wait, what the heck are probiotics to begin with?
Should you even take a probiotic supplement?
Can you get them naturally?
And are they safe?
These are just couple of the questions i'm going to address in this article.
Probiotic supplements are with us for quite some time now.
Some say they didn't feel any change after taking them, some say it changed their quality of life so much, they can't believe they didn't start taking them earlier.
I promise you, by the time you finish reading this article, you will know everything there's to know about probiotic supplements.
Garden Of Life - RAW Probiotics Women
Garden of Life - RAW Probiotics Women is the winner.
It has a massive amount of 85 billions CFU's, and 32 different strains.
If that's not enough for you, It also has a Prebiotic food blend, and vitamins. No worries about gluten, soy, or dairy, since this one is free of them.
Even with its cons, (and it has cons) its kinda hard to beat this
Yeah, you will have to store it properly, otherwise it will become
worthless, take it three times a day(!), and sure, its not very cheap.
But, with this one you get the most value for your buck, and to be frank, you can't beat 85 billion CFU's and 32 strains.
you are what you eat
The food you eat have a tremendous effect on your overall well being and health.
I can't stress this enough.
If you're not sick or ill per se, you do not suffer from any particular diseases, But, in the same time you don't feel the best you think you can feel.
Believe me, I hear thy, I've been there.
You get stomach aches, you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you always feel weak and tired, maybe you catch cold way too often, you suffer from constipation, or diarrhea, you have acne, your skin is not what it used to be, and it's not because you've aged 30 years in one week.
And of top of all, your doctors are telling you that there's nothing really wrong with you.
"Your charts are fine......" they'll say. Well, there something you out to know.
There is a war going on inside you, literally!
There's a chance the good guys inside your gut are loosing, and here's the irony, in most cases, its because of you and the things you eat!
And that's why you're feeling like crap!
You Are What You Eat. Fitnessfixedgear.com 3:16
What Are Probiotics?
"For Life"! That's actually the meaning of probiotic. Why and how they got their name?
Putting it simple, probiotics are a type of bacteria, a good bacteria.
They are living microorganism, that are supposed to contribute to your
general health. [Source: FOA]
A lot of people think of "bacteria" and "microorganism" as something bad and harmful.
But some of the bacteria's are actually good for us.
Sorry, erase that, not just good for us, but essential for us.
You see, bacteria's are most present in our gut, but they can also be found in our mouth, and on our skin.
Furthermore, bacteria's are outnumbering our body cell's by ratio of 10 to 1.
No need to call the police on em', since most bacteria's are harmful.
Well, as long as you remember to feed your good bacteria's with nutritional foods and/or supplements.
Probiotics are pretty much similar to the good bacteria's we already have in our body, especially to those in our gut.
Key Takeaways #1
- there are good bacteria's and bad bacteria's.
- Probiotics Are Similar To The Good Bacteria's We Already Have In Our Body.
- they are living Microorganisms, That are supposed to contribute to your general health.
- Bacteria's are outnumbering your body cells by ratio of 10 to 1.
what do probiotics do?
Your gut is the warm house for many, many bacteria's.
In the ideal state, the good bacteria's outnumbering the bad ones.
The problems start when the bad bacteria's in your gut, outnumbers the good bacteria's in your gut.
And this scenario can lead to all sorts of health problems.
Problems such as:
- bad skin condition
- gaining weight
- vaginal infections
- immune health related problems
And a good number of some chronic health conditions.
You always have good and bad bacteria's in your gut.
But with today's processed foods, junk foods, sugary drinks and the list goes on, the balance of good vs. bad bacteria's has been shaken.
Unfortunately, In favor of the bad bacteria's.
They are the "backup" that is called to help the good bacteria's in your gut in their "war" against the bad bacteria's.
They help the good bacteria's in your gut to absorb and destroy the toxins that are been released by the bad bacteria's.
Furthermore they also help your good bacteria's to prevent the bad bacteria's from attaching to your gut's wall and growing there.
In addition they also boost your immune system, and they help prevent yeast infections and inflammations.
Key Takeaways #2
- Our body, is a warm house to all sorts of bacteria's, good and bad.
- general health problems may begin to appear when the bad bacteria's
in your gut, outnumbers the good ones.
- one's diet, or unhealthy eating habits, is what causing the bad
bacteria's to outnumber the good bacteria's.
- Probiotics help restore the balance of good vs. bad bacteria's in favor of the good bacteria's.
are probiotics safe?
I think that the most important part to remember is, that probiotics supplements are not being sold as a drug, but as a dietary supplement.
As a result, the manufacturers do not need the FDA's approval before they starts selling their supplements.
It also means that the label on the supplement can make claims on how this supplement may affect the function of your body for the better, without the FDA's approval.
It cannot however, make claims for any health benefits that you may see if you take that supplement.
Like, "this supplement may reduce risk of X disease" without the FDA's approval. [Source]
In general, you should avoid taking probiotic supplement if you're after surgery, if your immune system is currently weak, if you're critically sick or unwell.
In addition, generally, elderly people should also avoid taking them.
It will be best for you to consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
On the other hand, if you don't have any specific illness or conditioning, you may take probiotic supplement and you should not be afraid of any side effects.
As record show's that side effects, if you'll experience any, will consist of bloating and gas.
Not the most pleasant side effects, but definitely not the worst.
And there's a good chance that once your body will adjust, these side effects will disappear.
In any way, personally, you will be wise to seek the advice of your personal
doctor, since he/she knows you best!
Key Takeaways #3
- probiotics supplements that are sold as dietary supplement do not need to get the fDA's approval.
- the manufacturer can claim that his supplement may affect the
function of your body, in a good way, without the FDA's approval.
- but, he cannot claim that his product may reduce risk of diseases without the fDA's approval.
- avoid taking probiotic supplement if your Critically sick, ill, after surgery, have a weak immune system, or senior.
- if your overall health is good, you can take a probiotc supplement.
- No Matter How Old You Are, Or What Is Your Health Status, in any way, consult with your personal doctor!!!
what foods have probiotics?
I said earlier that probiotics supplements are like the reinforcement that you send in, in order to help the good bacteria's in your gut fight the bad ones and restore the balance.
But you can fuel your good bacteria's with food too, not only supplements.
Foods high in fiber, Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, are a great source of Prebiotic food that will help the good bacteria's in your gut prosper.
So make sure you include prebiotics foods in your diet.
Probiotics foods are foods that actually have a live culture of bacteria's in them.
And it is ideal to look for Probiotic foods with bacteria's that can survive the journey down your gut.
One of the best sources for probiotics.
Just make sure you go for the yogurt with active cultures.
Tasty milk drink with origins from the Caucasus.
A fermented dairy, which is the result of combining milk and fermented kefir grains.
The grains are a mixture of good bacteria's and yeast. Which results in high in probiotics product.
Yep, one more reason to start eating chocolate.
Make sure you get the 70% and above of cacao content.
Go for cheeses like Gouda, Swiss, Parmesan and Cheddar.
These all are fermented cheese, and most likely are the only ones that can survive the trip down your stomach.
A form of bread that during its fermentation process, wild yeast and good bacteria's are added to break the gluten and the sugar in the wheat flour.
Its also packed with vitamins, proteins, and minerals.
These are just quick examples of which foods have probiotics.
why take probiotics?
Well, it depends.
There are lot of factors that can disrupt the delicate balance between good and bad bacteria's in your body.
When the balance in your body is in favor of the good bacteria's, your digestive system will easily filter out bad bacteria's, toxins, waste, etc.
This means your practicing healthy habits, and keeping your diet in tact.
However, if your "diet" is based on lots of sugar, processed food, junk food, snacks...
There's a good chance you might need to send in reinforcement to the good bacteria's in your body.
You can definitely help the good bacteria's in your gut by simply changing your eating habits, and starting eating more of the right stuff.
Start supplying the good bacteria's in your gut with the kind of foods that will make them stronger, and you're bound to feel a difference.
This does not mean you shouldn't take probiotic supplement.
Because the best probiotics supplements are packed with billions of CFU's (Colony Forming Units), and they pack several different types of good bacteria's in contrast to just one.
Hence, there's more chance the good bacteria's will do their job and survive the journey through your gut, which in turn means more health benefits for you.
In addition, there are few more factors that can hurt the balance of good to bad bacteria's.
Like, medications, antibiotics, antacids, birth control pills, and steroids.
In these cases I highly recommend consulting with your personal doctor before taking any supplement.
Key Takeaways #4
- When the balance in your body is in favor of the good bacteria's, your digestive system will work as it should.
- if your "diet" is based on lots of sugar, processed food, junk food,
and snacks, well, you're killing the good bacteria's!!!
- You can help the good bacteria's in your gut by simply changing your eating habits, start eating healthy.
- the more respected and popular probiotic supplements supply
- in any way, always consult with your personal doctor before starting to take any kind of supplement.
should i take probiotics?
A disrupted balance could mean you're more likely to suffer from allergies, you might get sick more often, you might be putting on extra weight.
As a result you may suffer from a weak immune system.
(70 to 80% of your body's immune system is located in your digestive tract. Source)
Furthermore, your skin might be in bad condition, and you might even suffer from depression.
The list can just go on and on and on.
Everything goes through the gut.
And if the food you eat in order to fuel yourself is killing the "good guys" who are supposed to take care of your gut, what do you expect to happen?
Fit Life is not just a slogan, its a way of life.
Providing your body with the right type of food, exercising enough, and sleeping well, are not just tips.
These are things you need implement in your life, Period.
Probiotic Supplement is just a way to help you achieve a healthier life, by helping the good bacteria's to grow and prosper.
But, It won't do magic by its own.
So make sure you practice all that is necessary in order to improve your health and overall feeling.
On a more "technical" note, probiotics can help:
- Improve the digestive system and digestive health.
- Boost your immune system and decrease inflammation.
- Promote more better looking and healthier skin.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Treat and perhaps even prevent diarrhea.
- Improve your mental health. A study from 2015 set out to check the connection between gut health to mood. The study showed that probiotic supplements can have a positive affect on our mood.
- Your heart to remain healthy. They do so by lowering your bad cholesterol level and your blood pressure.
In conclusion there are more then enough reasons to why you should take probiotic supplement.
how to choose a probiotic Supplement?
There are several things you need to consider when you're looking for a
- What type of probiotic strains/bacteria's is in the supplement.
- How many prociotics strains does the supplement offer.
- How is the supplement is packed and how it's been shipped to you.
(If you buy it online, and not from your local supplier)
The type of strains you want to find in your probiotic supplement are:
B. Longum - One of the more common strains, helps keeping your gut wall in tact and safe.
A recent study also found that men who were taking B. longum in their probiotic supplement, saw a decrees in their stress level and improvement in their memory. [Source}
B. Lactis - You must have this strain in your supplement.
The B. Lactis strain goes straight for the walls of your small intestine and colonizes it.
It helps boost your immune system, and also helps digest dairy foods.
In a study from 2009, researches found that it can even help with digestion in general. [Source]
B. Bifidum - Helps in breaking down fat, protein and complex carbs, which in turn helps your body use them more efficiently.
Also helps with digestion, may prevent diarrhea, and boosts your immune system.
One research results shows that it can also help by reducing irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, boosts overall health, and in some cases even relieve pain caused by ulcerative colitis. [Source]
The overall number of strains you need to look for
The thing is, it's not so much about quantity, as it is about diversity.
Since different strains have different effect on our body, it is best to look for a supplement that has a wide diversity of strains.
Supplements that offer high diversity of strains are supplements with effective probiotic.
And this is because most of the Strains work together as one unit to help our health, so make sure you go for a supplement that has high diversity in strains, and includes at least two of the strains I had listed above.
So if a supplement offer just one or two strains, keep looking.
Don't think that its a great supplement because it focuses on one or two strains, because it is not.
Diversity is the name of the game.
That being said, you should also look for a supplement that offers high
CFU's - "Colony Forming Units".
Something in the range of billions will do, anything less just won't cut it.
the packaging of the supplement and method of shipping
Tell me, when we buy a probiotic supplement, we buy it because we want the bacteria's in it will provide the benefits its supposed to provide.
Probiotics bacteria's are a living microorganism, I said that at the beginning, and in order to actually benefit from them you need the bacteria's to be ALIVE.
So the way the supplement is been made, and the way it is been shipped to your house, and yes, even the time it sits on the shelve until you buy it, all are important factors when wanting to purchase a probiotic supplement.
If you buy online, most respected sellers will point out their method of shipment.
Since this has become a "selling point".
The optimal shipment you should look for is with ice, or some kind of refrigeration.
Since heat can hurt and kill the bacteria's.
When searching for supplement, besides looking at the expiration date, look for a label that should specify how many bacteria's will actually survive by the time of the expiration date, rather how many bacteria's are available at the time of manufacture.
You should also check how the supplement is packaged.
Since you'll still be required to keep your supplement away from direct light, heat and moisture, look for a supplement that is packaged in thick dark opaque bottles.
And always, read carefully the marketing material of every supplement you are interested in.
Key Takeaways #5
- in order to actually benefit from your probiotic supplement, the bacteria's need to be ALIVE.
- check How many strains does the supplement has. if it only has one or tow strains of good bacteria's, keep looking.
- check with the Manufacturer to learn how the product was made, and how it was shipped to your local store.
- Look For A Label That States How Many Bacteria's Will Survive By The Time The Product Will Reach Its Expiration Date.
- when buying online, also check what is the method of shipment. go for the ice/Refrigeration shipment.
- check how the supplement is Packaged. go for thick, dark opaque bottles.
- in any way, always keep your supplement away from direct light,
exposure to heat and moisture.
when is the best time to take probiotics?
When to take your supplement is a great question.
And there are couple of answers to this question.
The first is that you can take your supplement in the morning, or at bedtime.
This will help you develop a routine, and minimize the chances of you forgetting to take your daily dose.
Though this might not be the most optimal time for you to take your probiotic shot.
The question we need to ask ourselves is "What may prevent the bacteria's we've just supplied our body to do their job?"
Well the answer is "Stomach Acid".
The acid will break down and kill even the good bacteria's.
This means that less of them or maybe even none of them will reach their final destination. The intestine,
The bacteria's have a long and hard way to go until they'll get to the intestine.
So the most optimal time to take your supplement is when there's less acid in your stomach.
When's that you ask?
Well according to this study, it's with a meal, or 30 minutes
In addition, the study also found that when you add some fats to your meal, it increases the survival rate of the bacteria's, and it helps more of them reaching your intestine.
Key Takeaways #6
- the best time to take your supplement is when the acid level in your stomach is low.
- you can take it in the morning or at bedtime in order to develop a routine.
- stomach acid will kill the good bacteria's.
- in order to fully benefit from the supplement, you should take it when the acid level in your stomach is low.
this way there's more chance the bacteria's will survive the journey from your stomach to your intestine.
- the optimal time to take your supplement is with your meal, or 30 minutes before it.
- after you eat, the gastric pH level in your stomach rises, which means the acid level is Decreasing.
5 best probiotics for women
I went out and checked some of the more popular probiotic supplements for women out there.
I used the same guidelines I mentioned above, in order to filter out the "non worthy" ones.
So I will be focusing on
- The number of CFU's the supplement has (CFU count).
- The number of bacterial strains it has.
- Number of servings.
- The packaging.
- Does the supplement provide any other benefits.
- If possible, even how it's being shipped.
1. Garden of Life - RAW Probiotics Women
Garden of Life - RAW Probiotics Women is definently my number one choice when it comes to the best probotic supplement for women.
It packs 85 billion CFU's, 32 different strains of probiotics, and other vitamins.
If that's not enough for you, RAW Probiotics for women also contains 764 mg of prebiotic food blend.
Prebiotic foods are foods that act as "fuel" source for the good bacteria's already in your gut.
It's also gluten free, vegetarian, and has no soy allergens.
The strains in this supplement can help with digestion, nutrients absorption, constipation, diarrhea, weak immune system and more.
On the downside, it's a bit pricey.
It comes in a 90 days servings bottle, and you have to take a pill three times a day.
Which means it will last you for 30 days.
Must be stored in cold dry place, since it doesn't use any delayed-release capsule method.
And you must make sure the seller ships it with an ice pack to keep the
Despite all of its cons, Garden Of Life - RAW probiotic supplement provide the best value for your money.
2. Garden of Life - Once Daily Women’s Probiotics
This one packs "only" 50 billion CFU's inside, and has 16 probiotics strains.
It doesn't have any additional benefits like vitamins, but it does what it supposed to do.
The strains in this supplement help to deal with digestive functions, constipation, vaginal health, weak immune system, and more.
It's also vegetarian, and gluten, soy and dairy free.
The good thing is, it doesn't need any refrigeration to stay potent.
It uses a moisture absorbent packaging.
The bottle has desiccant molded in it's lining which protects against moisture, assuring the 50 billion probiotics inside stay alive.
On the downside, this one is also a bit pricey.
Also, for some people it may cause bloating and stomach aches when they first start taking it.
3. Vitamin Bounty - Pro 50 Probiotic
With 50 billion CFU's and 13 different strains you pretty much can't go wrong with this probiotic supplement.
And like the previous one in this list, it does not need any refrigeration in order to stay potent.
This supplement uses a delayed-release capsules system, that assures
the majority of the bacteria's inside will stay alive by the time they will reach your intestine.
The strains here are known to deal and help with digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, inflammation issues, weak immune system, low energy levels and more.
What I didn't like, is that you have to take two pills a day, which is better than the 3 pills a day you need to take if you're using Garden Of Life's - Raw probiotic supplement.
But still, i wish they had packed all the CFU's and benefits of this supplement into one pill.
You should know though, that Pro 50 Probiotic also contains Alfalfa, which is considered dangerous for children, elders and pregnant women.
Its' also a bit pricey if you ask me, I guess that's because it has 60 pills in it.
4. BioGanix - BIOPRO-50 Ultimate Probiotic Supplement
With the BioGanix probiotic supplement we're still on the border of 50 billion CFU's, but we're down to 11 different strains.
Which is not bad.
because the strains in this supplement are still going to help you with digestive process, weak immune system, boost your energy levels, relief
irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and more.
The good thing is that the capsule is rather small, so if you're one of those who have trouble with swallowing large pills, you wont have that problem here.
You get 30 days serving, and, Its also vegetarian, gluten and dairy free.
Does not require refrigeration, which is definitely a pro for me.
On the downside, it may take a while for you to feel the change in your body and overall feeling.
Also you may get stomach aches when you just starting to take these.
5. Island's Miracle - ULTRA-30 Probiotics
Island's Miracle - ULTRA-30 Probiotics, is yet another very popular probiotic
And while it only has 30 billion CFU's, it packs no less then 18 different strains inside.
The strains will help deal with overall health and feeling, weak immune system, digestive issues, low energy levels, irritable bowel syndrome Symptoms, and the manufacture claims it can even help with weight loss.
Though I haven't actually seen any evidence for this.
This supplement also contains prebiotics in it, the label states that the prebiotics inside is FOS, which is a type of prebiotic that is supposed to encourage the growth of the good bacteria's in your gut.
Unfortunately, the label doesn't state how much FOS is actually present in this supplement.
ULTRA-30 Probiotic will last you for 30 days.
The bottle itself contains 60 capsules, which means you will have to take it twice a day.
Like many other probiotic supplements, there's a chance you'll get
stomach aches, and it might take some time for you to feel any difference.
On the upside, it uses the same delayed-release capsule system, ensuring the bacteria's will "get home" safe, even without refrigeration.
Wrapping it up on the best probiotics for women
Maintaining a healthy gut is essential if you want to live a healthier and better life.
Good and bad bacteria's have an enormous effect on our overall health and well being.
It's not very hard to maintain a healthy gut, all you have to do is to watch what you eat, what you drink, and exercise regularly, so that the good bacteria's in your gut won't lose the battle.
It's for your own good.
If, and only if, you find it hard to maintain a healthy diet in a manner that will ensure the good bacteria's in your gut will prosper and will do the job their supposed to do, you should consider taking a probioitc supplement.
In any way, always consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
I hope I helped you to better understand what probiotics are and why and if you should be taking one.