Researchers are increasingly learning that probiotics can be one of the most important things you supplement with. Our gut health is linked to everything from our digestive health to mental health. If your gut doesn’t have enough good bacteria, it can have far-reaching consequences.
There are many options on the market, making it overwhelming if you’re looking for the best probiotic for men or women, or have specific health concerns you hope to target.
Below is a list of the top 10 probiotic supplements worth considering. We don’t focus on particular brands, but instead, our focus is on the best strains of bacteria and what they’re good for.
1. Best Probiotic for Vaginal Infections—Lactobacillus acidophilus
If you’re a woman dealing with vaginal health and infections, lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most studied strains. This strain of good bacteria can help maintain vaginal balance by sticking to the surface of the vagina, making it harder for harmful bacteria to grow.
This bacteria strain can also attach directly to harmful bacteria to prevent it from spreading.
2. Best Probiotic for IBS (Constipation)—Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus
If you have IBS and constipation is your predominant symptom, you might consider a type of probiotic supplement with bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. These two species of bacteria make up most of what’s in your large intestine. These are generally considered the most beneficial to help with constipation.
These strains may be helpful because they promote the production of short-chain fatty acids, and they can increase bile salt metabolism, which can stimulate colonic movement.
3. Best Probiotic for Prostate Health—Lactobacillus rhamnosus
This strain of good bacteria has been linked with better prostate health and reduced inflammation in some research. This strain of bacteria seems to also help promote male reproductive health.
Some research is looking at the potential for this strain and Bifidobacterium longum to help improve sperm quality and motility and for therapeutic use for male sub-fertility or infertility.
4. Best Probiotic for Respiratory Health—Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most studied strains of probiotics. There are enormous benefits of this strain for gut health and GI disorders, and it’s also been proven beneficial to help with upper respiratory infections and general respiratory health.
Another strain, L. casei, might help with respiratory health. In one study, a group of participants supplementing with L.casei was found to have fewer respiratory infections by a significant amount than a placebo group.
5. Best Probiotic for Mental Health—Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
The strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium seem to be most helpful in mental health. Research shows that probiotics for depression and other mental health issues show significant promise, although currently, the studies are somewhat small.
In one 2017 review, taking a daily probiotic supplement helped with anxiety and depression.
6. Best Probiotic for Mood Enhancement—Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is supported by clinical evidence in that it may help boost your mood, even if you don’t necessarily have a diagnosable mental health condition like depression or anxiety. This strain may also help with relieving stress.
7. Best Probiotic For Immune System Health—Lactobacillus acidophilus
Around 70-80% of our immune system is in our gut. An overgrowth of bad bacteria, known as dysbiosis, can negatively affect your immune system. That’s why having probiotics may improve your immune health.
There are other strains good for the immune system, such as Bifidobacterium strains.
8. Best Probiotic for Diarrhea—Saccharomyces boulardii
S. Boulardii is a strain of yeast that is often in probiotic supplements, and it can help with diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use and infectious diarrhea. Lactobacillus casei or L. casei is also a probiotic strain that is believed to have anti-diarrheal benefits.
9. Best Probiotic for Weight Loss—Lactobacillus acidophilus
L. acidophilus is one of the most studied strains of good bacteria for weight loss. In a 2019 meta-analysis, this strain was effective alone or as part of a probiotic with multiple strains to help weight reduction and reduce fat mass, BMI, and waist circumference.
L. gasseri might also help with weight loss, and it’s been shown after taking it for 12 weeks to help with abdominal fat and BMI.
10. Best Probiotics for Inflammation—Lactobacillus paracasei and Bifidobacterium breve
In general, there is promising evidence that probiotics may be able to reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body.
Currently, researchers are looking at the gut as a target for inflammatory conditions, including insulin resistance. In people with pro-inflammatory conditions, the gut microbiome is often altered.
Taking probiotics for a month in some studies significantly improved markers of inflammation and reduced cytokine secretion.
For most people, the best option when choosing a probiotic is to look for one with multiple strains. Most commercial products do have a variety of strains, so you can get multiple benefits by taking a single probiotic.