Taking probiotics on a regular basis is an essential part of our overall health. Stress, antibiotics, eating poorly, and excessive sugar intake all take a toll on the good bacteria in our gut. That’s why it’s necessary to supplement with probiotics. Click here to learn more about the 6 Amazing Things our Gut Flora Does.

While you can get probiotics from kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and fermented foods it can sometimes be difficult to eat enough of these foods to make a difference. If you don’t like fermented foods or have a picky child, you know what I’m talking about!

For many people, it may be easier to take a daily probiotic. But what kind should you take? And what brands are good? Read below to learn more about selecting the BEST probiotics to support healthy gut, immune, and brain function.

What to Look for in a Probiotic

 

#1 Multi-Strain

The best probiotics contain multiple strains of lactobacillus and bifidus species. In general, 10 to 14 (or more) different strains are ideal.

 

#2 Spore Form or Enteric Coated

One of the biggest obstacles for people taking probiotics is to remember to take it if it’s kept in the fridge. Once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. That’s why I recommend brands that are stable at room temperature.

Those that are stable at room temperature are either in “spore form” like MegaSporeBiotic or Energetix Florasynergy or “enteric coated” like OrthoBiotic. If your probiotic requires refrigeration, check with the seller to see how it was kept cool while it was in transit to ensure maximum potency.

If you live in a hot or humid climate, you may want to store your probiotics in the refrigerator to prolong their shelf life.

 

#3 Purity

Just like in food, you want to avoid probiotics that contain artificial colors, flavor, and fillers, like magnesium stearate.

 

# 4 Potency – Think BILLIONS!

The gut contains trillions of bacterial cells! When taking probiotics, whether for maintenance or health support, select a probiotic that contains billions of Colony Forming Units (CFU). Probiotics with millions of CFU are like adding a drop in the ocean. To have the biggest and most positive impact on the gut, choose a probiotic with billions of CFU.

 

Probiotic Dosage

Please check with your own health care provider to choose the right dosage for your particular circumstances.

 

Recommended Probiotic Brands

Below you’ll find the recommended brands of probiotics. This is a collection of recommendations from my own experience, from the practitioners in the Pediatric Acupuncture Community, and from the book A Definitive Guide to Gut Bacteria & Probiotics by Rick Gold:

  1. Therbiotic Complete Children’s Chewables or Capsules: 25 billion CFUs
  2. OrthoMolecular OrthoBiotic Powder or Capsules: Contains 25 billion CFU + S. Boolardii
  3. Ortho Molecular PRObiotic 225: Comes with a 15-day supply of 225 billion CFU in powder packets that  can be mixed with water.
  4. Garden of Life: They have a wide range of products from infant formulations to larger doses up to 400 billion CFU.
  5. Seeking Health ProBiota 12:   50+ billion CFUs, 12 species per serving
  6. Healthy Origins Probiotic:   8 strains and 30 billion CFUs.   No refrigeration required.
  7. Prescript-Assist Soil-Based Probiotic: Probiotic-prebiotic combination.
  8. Ultimate Flora Critical Care: 50 Billion cultures, high bifidus bacteria count, enteric coated capsules.
  9. MegaSporeBiotic: Spore form of probiotic that’s stable at room temperature and survives stomach acid.
  10. Energetix Florasynergy Chewables: This is a great spore probiotic for maintenance. It doesn’t have the variety species or billions of CFU, but it’s very tasty and even the pickiest kids will eat this one.
  11. VSL# 3 Sachets: VSL is a “medical food” but you don’t need a prescription to get it and it’s highly potent and well studied!
  12. BioCare: Has infant and adult probiotics and is available in the U.K.
  13. Bio-Kult: This is the brand recommended by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and comes in children and adult formulations.

 

IMPORTANT! Remember to Take it!

Probiotic supplements work best when you take them on a regular and consistent basis! Take the probiotics as directed on the bottle. Some recommend you take the probiotics with food and others away from food. How you take it depends on the type and brand you’ve selected.

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