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Rankings: best probiotics for women in 2019

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probiotics for women

Back in high school, my health teacher made us read a book that made a startling claim…

“All disease starts in the gut.”

It seemed a revolutionary idea, but it stuck with me. And today, more and more research is backing it up.

But now, after a year of studying gut health and how it impacts total health, I’m even more amazed.

You see, most health issues take work. You have to change the way you cook, do difficult exercises, or take medication and supplements with harsh side effects.

But a healthy gut is as simple as taking one probiotic a day.

And it’s especially important for women!

Which is why, in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about probiotics for women, from the top 10 probiotics designed specifically for women, to how they work and why you should consider them as part of your daily health regimen.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Top 10 probiotics for women

1. Garden of Life RAW Probiotics for Women

Garden of Life RAW probiotics

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Hands-down, the best women’s probiotic is Garden of Life RAW Probiotics for Women.

Delivering a whopping 85 billion live cultures from 32 probiotic strains, this formula also gives you your daily vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and prebiotics—so just one pill a day keeps your body working the way it should.

The RAW Whole Food Probiotic Blend includes a Bulgarian yogurt concentrate and an Eastern European wild kefir culture, including probiotic strains you won’t see in other formulas.

Once in your system, those bacteria need to eat too, so RAW Probiotics includes 207mg of a Fruit & Veggie Blend that provides the fiber and prebiotics they need to give you a healthy gut…

PLUS 56mg of a Dairy-Digesting Enzyme Blend to help break down lactose and casein.

Seriously, you’re not going to find a more complete probiotic supplement anywhere.

“These are the best probiotic I’ve ever taken and I’ve been trying different types for 21 years.”

“These are the best probiotics I have taken. I felt better after taking them for just one day. My stomach troubles went away quickly and I notice that if I run out or forget to take them my stomach is upset again.”

It promotes bowel regularity, digestive functions, and nutrient absorption. It supports colon health, vaginal health, immune system, and thyroid.

It’s also vegetarian, RAW, gluten free, soy free with no binders, fillers, carriers, or allergens.

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2. Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Once Daily Women’s

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated probiotics

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Formulated by Dr. David Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain and Brain Maker, who is a huge advocate for taking care of your health by taking care of your gut. He’s such a believer, in fact, he created his own line of women’s probiotics.

That’s why we like Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Once Daily. Since it was developed by a doctor who specializes in gut health, you can be sure you’re getting what you need.

This formula delivers 50 billion CFU with 16 raw probiotic strains designed to support vaginal, digestive, and immune system health. Seriously, you don’t usually see a more complete lineup of probiotics:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus paracasel
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Plus a Prebiotic Fiber Blend

And it works!

“The probiotics from Garden of Life really have made my life a lot less stressful due to stomach issues. No more cramping, long term bloating, rushing to the bathroom, being in there forever. I mean with hormones in women it can send things out of whack. This is also great to take with antibiotics about 2 hours after.”

Non-GMO Project verified. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Soy-free.

3. Nature’s Way Fortify Women’s Probiotic

Natures Way fortify probiotic

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For everyday wellness, Nature’s Way Fortify is a good choice. This formula is optimized to support your vaginal and urinary tract, immunities, and gut health.

One thing we like in particular is Fortify’s capsules, which are designed to resist stomach acid, so your probiotics make it all the way to your gut, where they can do the most good.

With this probiotic, you get 50 billion live probiotic cultures per capsule—an entire day’s serving in just one pill. Plus, you get 50% more Lactobacilli than Bifidobacteria:

  • 30 billion CFU of Lactobacilli to support vaginal health (La-14, NCFM, and Lg-36)
  • 20 billion CFU of Bifidobacteria to support your colon (Bi-04, Bi-07, Bi-26, and Bb-92)

Take it any time, with or without food. No gluten. No preservatives. No artificial colors or flavors.

4. RenewLife Women’s Care Ultimate Flora

Renew Life ultimate flora

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Winner of Vitamin Retailer’s 2016 Vity Awards, RenewLife is a trustworthy source of supplements. Their Women’s Care Ultimate Flora has 25 billion live cultures from 10 probiotic strains.

These capsules are designed for delayed release, so all the gut-friendly bacteria make it to your intestinal tract. You get:

  • 5 billion CFU of Lacto Probiotic Blend
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
    • Lactobacillus plantarum
    • Lactobacillus gasseri
    • Lactobacillus casei
    • Lactobacillus salivarius
    • Lactobacillus paracasei
    • Lactobacillus brevis
  • 5 billion CFU of Bifido Probiotic Blend
    • Bifidobacterium lactis
    • Bifidobacterium longum

Just one pill a day is all you need to take care of your digestive health, immune health, and vaginal health.

“For years, I had occasional digestive problems. Since I started taking Ultimate Flora Women’s Care Probiotic 25 billion, I’ve seen improvements. I am not as bloated and I’ve had better bowel movements. Thank you for inventing such a great product.”

Soy-free. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Live cultures guaranteed.

5. NatureWise Women’s Care Time Release Probiotic

NatureWise time release probiotics

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Probiotics are living cultures. To be effective, those cultures need to make it to your gut alive. That’s what makes NatureWise Women’s Care Time Release Probiotic stand out.

Their Wisebiotics advanced caplet technology delivers 15x more live, active cultures safely to your gut… making their 6 billion CFU formula as effective as a 90 billion CFU standard probiotic.

This formula gives you 8 strains of probiotics that target women’s needs, including vaginal health and urinary tract health. Here’s what you get:

  • 6 billion CFU of lactis, B1-04; acidophilus, La-14; L. fermentum; L. plantarum; L. reuteri; B. bifidum; B. breve; S. thermophilus.
  • Cranberry extract and D-Mannose for urinary tract health
  • Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides

And it works:

“I haven’t had any infections since I started taking them and I just feel better in general. When I took generic multi-vitamins I never felt any different, I was basically using them because I don’t eat well. But I really do notice a difference with this supplement.”

“I have been on a 2 year health journey that has resulted in a 110lb weight loss and healing from many digestive and systemic issues. Taking probiotics has played a big part in getting me off 10 prescription medications and being pain free for the first time in 30 years. When I switched to taking this probiotics, I felt the difference within days.”

Women’s Care Time Release is natural, non-GMO, vegetarian and gluten-free. It contains no artificial additives, fillers or binders.

6. Culturelle Women’s Healthy Balance

Culturelle Women's probiotics

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For targeted support for digestive health, feminine health, and overall wellness, Culturelle Women’s Healthy Balance is a good option.

Each capsule gives you 15 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus, including:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
  • Lactobacillus crispatus LBV 88
  • Latobacillus rhamnosus LBV 96
  • Lactobacillus gasseri LBV 150N
  • Lactobacillus jensenii LBV 116

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) is the most clinically proven effective probiotic strain–and may be the only support you need for healthy digestion and immunities. But with this formula, you get 4 other strains as well.

“I am being treated with an extremely heavy and prolonged dose of antibiotics — I’ve been using this daily and after 5 weeks of antibiotics I have had no GI upsets or other secondary infections often associated with antibiotics. I’m so glad a friend recommended this!”

“I used to get sick often and catch every crud-kootie going around the office. Since I started taking this a couple years ago I rarely ever, ever get sick anymore. Forget the flu shot. This keeps me well.”

#1 pharmacists recommended probiotic brand, Dairy-free. Gluten-free. Sugar-free.

7. Vitamin Bounty Women’s Pro Daily

Vitamin Bounty women's pro daily

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We like Vitamin Bounty Women’s Pro Daily because it isn’t just a probiotic. With 10 billion CFU of probiotics from 5 strains of bacteria, you’re getting solid support for gut health.

But you’re also getting 50mg of Fructooligosaccharides to keep your probiotics happy. And you’re getting 450mg of a proprietary women’s health blend that includes:

  • Ashwagandha root powder
  • Cranberry fruit powder
  • Black cohosh root powder

The probiotics you get include:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

Be aware, these numbers are for 2 capsules, not one. You may take up to 4 capsules, but you lose the convenience of a 1-capsule dose.

Still, it works, as you can see from these reviews:

“I’ve been using this for two months and I really love it! I take my two pills right after breakfast each morning, and the rest of my day is so much better because of it! It’s seriously helped with my bloating and overall mood.”

“All I can say is THANK YOU Vitamin Bounty for giving me my life back, a life free of yeast infections.” 

8. Hyperbiotics PRO-Women

Hyperbiotics pro-women

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This formula relies on a patented delivery method to make sure you get the best deliverability possible. With Hyperbiotics PRO-Women formula, 60% of the probiotics entering the stomach make it to your gut—as opposed to 4% in most other probiotic products.

Remarkably, it does that with a veggie capsule. Hyperbiotics’ BIO-tract capsules deliver live bacteria in your gut without the synthetic chemicals used in most time-release capsules.

For solid digestive, urinary, and immune support, PRO-Women gives you 5 billion CFU of probiotics, with cranberry extract and D-Mannose. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but because of their BIO-tract tablets, it’s the equivalent of 75 billion CFU probiotics.

Here’s what you get:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum

Just 1 pill is all you need each day.

Vegetarian. Non-GMO. Free of lactose, gluten, and yeast. No soy, sugar, iron, nuts, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or preservatives.

9. Enzymatic Probiotic Pearls Women’s

Enzymatic Probiotic Pearls

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For a small boost to your gut health, get Probiotic Pearls Women’s. It contain 1 Billion cultures in a convenient, once-daily softgel that’s small and easy to swallow.

So you get daily probiotics to support your vaginal and digestive health without a lot of extras. With this formula, you get:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum LP-115

These bacteria help maintain yeast balance and vaginal health, support digestive balance, and immune health. They also protect against occasional gas, bloating, and constipation.

Probiotic Pearls Women’s uses an advanced triple-layer softgel that protects probiotics from heat, air, moisture, and stomach acid—so you get maximize survival and delivery to the intestine.

“For the price these are awesome! They really did balance my vaginal flora, and my ph. I also felt light and energetic. They really do help! Great, affordable product!”

Gluten-free. Contains no sugar, salt, wheat, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

10. vH Probiotics with Prebiotics and Cranberry

vH probiotics

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Our final recommendation is VH Probiotics with Prebiotics and Cranberry. Probiotics with prebiotics work together to give you broader microbial support and a healthy feminine tract.

Cranberry extract is added for a healthy urinary tract. All this, plus Vitamin C, you get complete feminine care.

Here’s what you get:

  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Inulin prebiotic, Fructooligosaccharides

vH’s aim with this formula is to tackle the root cause of common, personal, and emotionally significant feminine issues like vaginal odor and PMS. Two pills a day should be all you need.

What are probiotics for women?

Probiotics are ling microorganisms that live in your gut, helping you digest your food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins (NCCIH).

While we usually want to get rid of bacteria, probiotics are good bacteria that you need to function properly (NCCIH).

Also known as “flora,” there are more than 500 different species of microorganisms living in every normal, healthy bowel. Not just a few, either. There are an estimated 100 trillion of them camping out in your gut even now (Harvard Health).

Two common strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

lactobacillus bacteria

Lactobacillus (Source: NCCIH/SciMAT/Photo Researchers, Inc.)

Lactobacillus is the most common type of probiotic—found naturally in yogurt and most fermented foods. Bifidobacterium can be found in some dairy products.

Another strain, Saccharomyces boulardii, is a yeast that’s found in probiotics. This one is particularly useful in fighting diarrhea and other digestive problems.

Who should buy probiotics for women?

Anyone wanting to improve their gut health or boost their immunities would do well to take probiotics.

You should NOT take probiotics if you are a critically ill patient, have had surgery, or have a weakened immune system. If there’s any doubt about whether you should take them, consult your healthcare professional.

How we ranked probiotics for women

We scoured the internet looking for the best sources of probiotics for women that provide the most benefits. When ranking them, we look at:

  • The source of probiotics
  • The amount of and strains of probiotics
  • The purity of the product
  • The presence of additional ingredients that make them more effective
  • The presence of additional ingredients that water down the effectiveness
  • The reputation of the manufacturer
  • And more

According to our research, the products we’ve included in this article should be good sources for probiotics that can boost women’s health.

Benefits of probiotics for women

Experts agree that health begins in the gut, and many now argue that healing your gut can help heal other health problems. That’s why researchers are studying probiotics to learn more about how they impact a wide range of health issues (NCCIH):

  • Digestive disorders such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Allergic disorders, including hay fever and eczema
  • Tooth decay and other oral health problems
  • Colic in infants
  • Liver disease
  • Colds
  • Skin conditions such as eczema and acne

Already, probiotics are believed to help treat or prevent (Harvard Health):

  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Vaginal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Recurring bladder cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Brain issues such as brain fog

Treating diarrhea

This is where probiotics have been most helpful. Controlled trials have found that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children—but not adults (Harvard Health). We see this as evidence it supports a healthy gut, but simply isn’t strong enough to use as “medicine.”

Treating constipation

Studies have found that probiotics slowed “gut transit time” by 12.4 hours, increased the number of bowel movements by 1.3, and softened stools, making them easier to pass (Harvard Health).

Helping irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease

It’s believed that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent a relapse of Chrohn’s disease (Harvard Health). This isn’t confirmed, of course, and researchers aren’t sure which strains are making a difference. But overall, there seems to be evidence that probiotics are making a difference.

Supporting vaginal health

Probiotics are about balancing your internal ecosystem. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want it too acidic or too alkaline. It needs to be just right.

But as it turns out, probiotics can do their balancing act in the urogenital system as well as the digestive system. Whenever antibiotics, spermicides, or birth control pills throw off the delicate balance that’s needed for good health, Lactobacilli strains can make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive (Harvard Health).

Side effects of probiotics for women

Side effects are mild and usually involve nothing more than mild digestive discomfort. But there have been reports of severe side effects for people with serious underlying medical problems (NCCIH).

A National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)-funded study showed that a particular kind of Lactobacillus appears safe in healthy adults age 65 and older. But even the NCCIH isn’t willing to say all probiotics are safe for all people in this age group. If there’s any doubt about whether probiotics would be safe for you, consult a healthcare professional.

Recommended dose of probiotics for women

The Consumer Lab recommends finding a probiotic that gives you at least 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units), and as many as 10 billion CFUs daily.

That’s not to say you can’t take more. In some situations, doses as high as 100 billion CFUs are called for. If you believe you need a high dose of probiotics, consult your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you.

Be aware, probiotic supplements all contain different strains of microorganisms and in different quantities. In most cases, a mix of strains gives the best results, but single-strain products can be effective if the microorganism in the supplement is the one that’s most likely to treat your health issue.

Probiotics for women FAQ

Need more information? Here are answers to common questions about probiotics.

Which probiotics are best for me?

Women need a blend of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for optimal health. Depending on your health issue, though, you may need one strain more than the others.

So what are the best probiotics for your condition? Here are common health issues and the best probiotic to take for it:

Vaginal health – Lactobacillus acidophilus

Digestive health – Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium breve, Streptococcus thermophilus

Diarrhea – Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei

Constipation – Bifidobacterium longum

Skin support – Streptococcus thermophilus

Acne – Lactobacillus acidophilus

Eczema – Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Immunities – Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum

Inflammation – Lactobacillus plantarum

Brain function – Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium longum

Anti-aging support – Bifidobacterium breve

best probiotics for different health issues

Do probiotics affect women’s pH balance?

Yes. All bacteria in the gut are sensitive to pH levels. Probiotics lower the pH levels in a cultured environment, which inhibits some “bad” bacteria from thriving (Newsmax).

How do probiotics prevent yeast infections?

The human vagina hosts more than 50 strains of microbes, the most common being Lactobacilli (NCBI). While we don’t know why, we do know that they can get out of balance quickly. The result? Infection.

When the lactobacilli population is depleted and gram-negative anaerobes, gram-positive cocci, and aerobic pathogens are allowed to thrive, bacterial vaginosis (BV) sets in (NCBI).

But in vitro studies have found that Lactobacillus strains can disrupt BV and yeast infections by repopulating the vagina with lactobacilli (NCBI).

Which probiotic strains are best for treating bladder and yeast infections?

After studying 10 strains of lactobacilli (PubMed abstract), researchers found that  Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus gasseri 335, and Lactobacillus salivarius FV2 can combine with the “bad” bacteria G. vaginalis, cutting its adhesion by approximately 60% (PubMed abstract).

In plain English, that means these 3 strains may offer protection against infections:

  • acidophilus
  • gasseri 335
  • salivarius FV2

Do you need probiotics after menopause?

Yes. After menopause, decreased estrogen levels are associated with lower lactobacilli in the vaginal tract. As a result, postmenopausal women are more susceptible to urogenital infections.

Probiotics can help restore lactobacilli levels, making it harder for pathogens to take over and reducing the risk of infections (NCBI).

This was confirmed in 2001, when researchers verified that taking lactobacilli orally could repopulate the vagina (NCBI)

Do you need to take probiotics every day?

You don’t need to take probiotics every day, but it can be beneficial to do so.

The bacterial balance in the intestines can change so easily, you need to constantly replenish the “good” bacteria that keep your gut healthy. By taking a daily dose of probiotics, you can easily maintain a healthy gut—and enjoy all the benefits that go with it.

Do probiotics help women’s weight loss?

Possibly. Researchers haven’t found solid evidence, but they believe unhealthy intestinal microflora could make women more susceptible to weight gain and diabetes (CSPI).

Are probiotics natural?

Yes. At birth, the human GI tract doesn’t have bacteria in it, but bacteria begin colonizing it right away. According to Tiffany Weir, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Colorado State University, by the time we reach our 3rd birthday, the flora in our guts has stabilized (CSPI).

Trouble is, illnesses, medications, and poor diets can throw the balance of these “good” bacteria off. By adding live bacteria through probiotic supplements, you can restore a healthy balance.

Probiotic capsules contain the same microbacteria that live naturally in the gut. They replace any bacteria that may have grown weak or been killed off, restoring balance, so your natural defenses remain strong.

What are the best probiotics for women over 50?

Women over 50 have lower levels of lactobacilli in their gut. When selecting a probiotic for this age group, choose one with at least 1 billion CFU of lactobacilli.

Related resources

1MD Complete Probiotics Review

ProbioSlim Review

Perfect Biotics Review

Summary

For total health, you need to protect your gut. Maintaining a healthy flora can help women avoid embarrassing yeast and bladder infections, digestive trouble, discharge, and more.

Doctors are also recommending probiotics to prevent and heal leaky gut syndrome, which has been tied to many of the diseases of old age—including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, brain fog; and autoimmune issues like arthritis.

With probiotics for women, you can worry less about your health—and just enjoy life. So many health issues require complicated strategies and weird diets. But from our research, it appears you only need to get your daily probiotics to protect your health and boost vitality.

For such an easy fix, why wouldn’t you add probiotics to your daily regimen?

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