What Are The Best Probiotics?

What Are The Best Probiotics?

What Are The Best Probiotics?

In this blog I highlight evidence-based recommendations for specific probiotics that have been shown to be helpful in specific health conditions.

Do Probiotics Work?

To answer this requires a little more context as there are SO many variables that will influence whether a study shows benefit in supplementing a probiotic for a specific condition. Easy examples include:

  • The dose of the probiotic given.
  • The strain of the probiotic given.
  • The duration the probiotic is taken for.
  • The severity of the condition (we can’t expect miracles, and in my experience, probiotics can work one time, and not at another time, in the same person).

Having said that here are numerous examples, including systemic reviews and meta-analyses, clearly showing probiotics do work.

But, you need to understand the science of probiotics to increase your chance of gaining benefit from supplementing one – you can’t just take any old product off the shop shelf! In fact research has shown us that you don’t even truly know what’s in some brands products as one study showed that there are bacteria on the label that weren’t found in the product, and bacteria in the product that weren’t on the label. How concerning is that?!

So here are some examples showing probiotics work:

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2021 investigated strain-specific and outcome-specific efficacy of probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. The authors concluded:

Four probiotics demonstrated significant reduction in abdominal pain relief: B. coagulans MTCC5260, L. plantarum 299v, S. boulardii CNCM I-745 and S. cerevisiae CNCM I-3856″ (source).

As already mentioned above, in a review published in 2022 the authors mentioned that “the treatment length, as a confounder, can significantly influence the efficacy of probiotics in ameliorating abdominal pain” (source). We simply can’t take evidence at face value without digging deeper in to the methodology of the study.

The Best Probiotic For Constipation

Recommend Product: Everyday Max and/or Biogaia

Both these products can be really helpful if you have intestinal methanogen overgrowth.

The Best Probiotic For Diarrhoea

High-dose Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG therapy reduces the duration of diarrhea and the stool number per day. (source) (source)

Recommend Product: Rhamnosus GG

The Best Probiotic For Antibiotic Induced Diarrhoea in Children

“If the use of probiotics for preventing Antibiotic Induced Diarrhoea is considered because of the existence of risk factors such as class of antibiotic(s), duration of antibiotic treatment, age, need for hospitalisation, co-morbidities, or previous episodes of AAD diarrhoea, the Working Group recommends using Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, or, Saccharomyces boulardii” (source)

Recommend Product: Rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces Boulardii

The Best Probiotic For Bloating

A 4-wk treatment with L. plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) provided effective symptom relief, particularly of abdominal pain and bloating, in IBS patients fulfilling the Rome III criteria. (source)

Recommend Product: Plantarum 299v

The Best Probiotic For Flatulence

Recommend Product: Plantarum 299v

The Best Probiotic For Abdominal Pain

Recommend Product: Plantarum 299v and Saccharomyces Boulardii

The Best Probiotic For Infant Colic

In a systematic review the authors concluded that “there is no clear evidence that probiotics are more effective than placebo at preventing infantile colic; however, daily crying time appeared to reduce with probiotic use compared to placebo.” (source)

I would like to add that having had to children with colic myself that probiotics absolutely helped both of them and countless parents will testify to the same effect. While they will, obviously, not work for all infants it is absolutely worth the money to find out if they do.

Recommend Product: Biogaia and Baby Drops

The Best Probiotic For Crohn’s

A systematic review in 2020 concluded that “the available evidence is very uncertain about the efficacy or safety of probiotics, when compared with placebo, for induction of remission in Crohn’s disease. There is a lack of well-designed RCTs in this area and further research is needed.” (source)

The Best Probiotic For Ulcerative Colitis

A systematic review concluded that there is “low-certainty evidence suggests that probiotics may induce clinical remission in active ulcerative colitis when compared to placebo.” (source)

The Best Probiotic For GERD

A systematic review concluded that “probiotic use can be beneficial for GERD symptoms, such as regurgitation and heartburn.” (source)

Recommended Product: Bio.Me Barrier

The Best Probiotic For Anxiety And Depression

A systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials published in 2019 that “there is general support for antidepressant and anxiolytic effects of probiotics”. (source)

Recommend Product: Plantarum 299v

The Best Probiotic For Acne

We now are aware of the gut–skin axis, the gut microbiome basically modulates the functionality and composition of the innate and adaptive immune system, and vice versa. This fact explains why some skin diseases have intestinal comorbidities, and suggests that there is a link between the presence of intestinal dysbiosis and the imbalance of skin homeostasis, with a special role of the intestinal microbiota in the pathogenesis of several inflammatory skin diseases. (source)

A systematic review published in 2023 concluded that “studies of fair or good quality showed the potential benefit of…probiotics…in the treatment of acne. These interventions were most frequently associated with decreased lesion counts or improved investigator global assessment scores.” (source)

Recommend Product: Biome Soother and Biome Derma by Activated Probiotics

The Best Probiotic For Women

Probiotics have been widely used in the treatment of intestinal diseases, but the effect of probiotics on female reproductive tract health is still controversial. Lactobacillus is the most abundant microorganism in the vagina, which is related to the vaginal mucosal barrier. Lactobacillus adheres to the vaginal epithelium and can competitively antagonize the colonization of pathogens. The factors produced by Lactobacillus, such as bacteriocin and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), can inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms and maintain the low pH environment of the vagina. Probiotics play an important role in maintaining the stability of vaginal microenvironment, improving immune defense and blocking the progression of cervical cancer. (source)

Recommend Product: Optibac For Women

The Best Probiotic For Fibromyalgia

It has recently been found that microbes in the gut may regulate brain processes through the gut microbiota-brain axis, which modulates affection, motivation and higher cognitive functions. According to this finding, the use of probiotics may be a potential treatment to improve physical, psychological and cognitive status in clinical populations with altered microbiota balance such as those with fibromyalgia.

In one study “Probiotic supplementation significantly improved sleep quality, depression, anxiety, and pain scores compared to those at baseline in FMS patients, while prebiotic supplementation significantly improved pain scores and sleep quality” (source)

Recommend Product: Ergyphilus Plus (which contains among other strains Rhamnosus GG (source)) or Gasteel Plus (which contains FOS) (source)

The prebiotic in the above study was inulin.

The Best Probiotic For Chronic Fatigue

Certain therapeutic microbes, including Bifidobacteria infantis (B. infantis) 35624 exert beneficial immuno-regulatory effects by mimicking commensal-immune interactions. In this study, the authors assessed the impact of oral administration of B. infantis 35624, for 6‒8 weeks on inflammatory biomarker and plasma cytokine levels in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and psoriasis in three separate randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled interventions. Additionally, the effect of B. infantis 35624 on immunological biomarkers in healthy subjects (n = 22) was assessed.

At baseline, both gastrointestinal (UC) and non-gastrointestinal (CFS and psoriasis) patients had significantly increased plasma levels of C-reactive protein and the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) compared with healthy volunteers. B. infantis 35624 feeding resulted in reduced plasma C-reactive protein levels in all three inflammatory disorders compared with placebo. Interestingly, plasma TNF-α was reduced in CFS and psoriasis while IL-6 was reduced in UC and CFS.

Furthermore, in healthy subjects, LPS-stimulated TNF-α and IL-6 secretion by peripheral blood mononuclear cells was significantly reduced in the B. infantis 35624-treated groups compared with placebo following eight weeks of feeding. These results demonstrate the ability of this microbe to reduce systemic pro-inflammatory biomarkers in both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal conditions.(source)

Recommend Product: Alforex

Best Probiotic For Oral Health

Recommend Product: Bio.Me Oral

Best Probiotic For Allergies

Recommend Product: Aller Aid L-92

Is Actimel A Probiotic?

Yes, Actimel is a cultured yogurt shot packed with the probiotic Lactobacillus casei cultures and vitamins D and B6 which help support the immune system

Probiotic Foods

It may also be helpful to consider eating more probiotic foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi. A paper published recently concluded that “this review clearly shows that fermented foods can affect the gut microbiome in both the short and long term, and should be considered an important element of the human diet.” (source)

Alex Manos Profile 2015 AM Logo scaled

Alex is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner (IFMCP) and has a MSc in Personalised Nutrition. He is also a breathwork facilitator with a background in personal training and massage therapy. He also runs The Resiliency Program - a 24 week program aimed at building physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience.

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