Probiotic supplements are capsules or tablets that contain living bacteria. These specifically consist of ‘good’ bacteria that form a vital link in the chain of processes that break down and absorb the food we eat. These supplements have exponentially increased in popularity in recent years, with innumerable providers proliferating a vast number of distinct probiotics for myriad purposes. As humans, we can rarely identify what processes are occurring within our digestive systems. However, if everything operates sufficiently, our different organs and systems operate together to subsume energy and nutrient from food to support the body’s multiple functions and overall well-being.
The first step in the process is eating. We manually break down our food by chewing, whilst our saliva softens the consistency. Subsequently, stomach acids break down food components that are further degraded and oxidised during the digestion phases. Finally, ‘good’ probiotic bacteria in the intestines finalise the process. However, the natural probiotic bacteria that live in the digestive tract can be harmed when we are ill, take medication, or make poor lifestyle choices. When this occurs, we can experience several detrimental symptoms, such as flatulence, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain or discomfort. In these cases, it is highly recommended to adopt a probiotic supplement to boost bodily processes, promote optimal digestion, and replace bad bacteria with good bacteria. This article will review the most popular probiotic supplements and evaluate their benefits.
Probiotic supplements are typically available in capsule form, containing several distinct types of live probiotic bacteria. In addition, they can contain vitamins, minerals, or other beneficial nutrients.
Before adopting a course of any supplement, it is recommended to consult your doctor for dietary advice. Many supplements also contain prebiotics (plant-based fibres that enhance good gut bacteria).
Prebiotics refer to the organic fibres that probiotics in your digestive system consume for nourishment; fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are superlative sources of prebiotic fibre. Due to their tough, substantial consistency, fibres in foods are rarely fully digested immediately - they pass through the digestive system without being absorbed, ‘bulking out’ and improving the texture of food material.
Unfortunately, modern diets tend to contain higher levels of processed food and not enough natural foods that are high in fibre. If you are an individual who consumes a low-fibre diet, taking prebiotic supplements can greatly benefit your digestive health.
1. 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum
This all-natural product contains no artificial colours or flavours and no genetically modified ingredients. Instead, 1MD provides 11 different probiotic strains, including Nutraflora prebiotic fibre.
- Price: $43.99 for 30 caps
- Special offers: Substantial savings for subscribers buying a three- or six-month supply.
2. BioTRUST Pro-X10
Developed by healthcare professionals, BioTRUST Pro-X10 provides excellent all-round digestive support. Painstaking research has underpinned the selection of multiple beneficial ingredients in this supplement.
- Price: $49
- Special offers: Six bottles average out at $39 per bottle.
3. VitaPost Probiotic 40-Billion
In addition to four strains of probiotics, one dose of Probiotic 40-Billion contains over 40 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) of probiotic bacteria and also contains proven ingredients for immune support.
- Price: $29.99 to $44.99
- Special offers: $29.99 for 60 caps
4. Hyperbiotics PRO-15
Hyperbiotics PRO-15 capsules only contain five billion CFUs, but have fifteen different probiotic strains. This unique capsule releases probiotics over an extended (8-10 hour) period, which means there is less risk of them being destroyed by stomach acids released after eating.
- Price: $19.99 for 30 caps
- Special offers: $30.99 for 60 caps
5. Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic
Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic assists the body to create a stomach ecosystem that promotes auspicious gut flora, can effectively regulate acute diarrhoea, and supports gastrointestinal health. Culturelle is third-party tested and offers one of the optimal overall probiotic supplements with a high CFU count that does not require refrigeration.
- Price: $34.83 for 50 caps
- Special offers: $33.09 if you subscribe to a monthly delivery
Ultimately, if you consume a healthy and balanced diet, many of the superfoods integrated into your diet will naturally provide the probiotics your body requires. However, in reality it is challenging to ensure that the food sold in supermarkets and restaurants is inherently high in quality – the beneficial nutrients in many foods are partially or entirely destroyed when food is refrigerated, cooked, or stored for long periods.
Therefore, similar to any other supplement for health (such as cod liver oil or A-Z multivitamins), some nutrients are more difficult to source and maintain in your body. Probiotic supplements contain the precise balance of components the body requires in one compact capsule. It is therefore critical to thoroughly research available options before committing to a course of gut health supplements and consider consulting your physician or healthcare provider to identify which ingredients will benefit you most.