When my daughter first started daycare, she was constantly getting sick. This was to be expected as leaving the confines of home, she needed to build up her immature immune system. Desperate to speed up the process, I stocked up on vitamins and a probiotic.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are living organisms that have a variety of health benefits if you take them in adequate amounts https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/.
As women, we tend to look after everyone else’s welfare before ours. However, we need to take care of ourselves too! One of those ways may be by taking a probiotic.
What are the best probiotics for women?
Well read on, to find out! The table below is a summarised version of the probiotics reviewed.
Quick Post Guide
- 1 Some Benefits of Probiotics For Women
- 2 How Probiotics For Women Work
- 3 The Best Probiotics For Women We Reviewed
- 3.1 Garden of Life Raw Probiotics
- 3.2 Renew Life- Ultimate Flora Probiotic Women’s Care
- 3.3 PRO-Women: Probiotics for Women with Cranberry Extract and Naturally Occurring D-Mannose
- 3.4 Sedona Labs Iflora Probiotic for Women Capsules
- 3.5 NatureWise Women’s Probiotic with Cranberry & D-Mannose
- 3.6 Probiotics for Women Supplement from Natural Riches
Here is a quick video on the importance of gut health to get you started
Your gut contains good bacteria that play many important roles including making vitamins and amino acids (building blocks of proteins), preventing the build-up of bad bacteria, maturing and keep your immune system in balance, and helping with brain health. https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-016-0300-5.
When your good bacteria are over-run by bad bacteria, you may be more at risk of getting colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, and may even gain weight https://genomemedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13073-016-0300-5.
One way that you can get the good bacteria back in balance is by taking a probiotic.
Some Benefits of Probiotics For Women
Probiotics may improve the health of your gut
Probiotics are best known for gut-promoting health benefits.
They help heal diarrhea caused by infections, antibiotic-related diarrhea, and can even improve the breakdown of lactose in lactose-intolerant people like me. They may even helpful if you have inflammatory bowel disease (inflammation of the colon) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/.
One study found that children in daycare (do you see a common theme here with kids in daycare getting sick?) who took a yogurt product with probiotics had less severe diarrhea than those who didn’t https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10665128.
Probiotics may reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer
Aside from gut-promoting benefits, probiotics may reduce your risk of heart disease and even prevent cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/.
How can probiotics do this?
Research has shown that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium lower the number of cancer-causing enzymes produced in your gut by keeping the bad bacteria away. They also produce acids which kill cancer cells. Probiotics reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering your cholesterol and reducing your blood pressure https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/.
Probiotics may boost your immune system
In a laboratory study conducted by researchers to see whether Lactobacillus acidophilus could boost the immune system, researchers found that it helped improve the effectiveness of a vaccine.
This led researchers to conclude that probiotics “may be a safe way to increase the effectiveness of rotavirus (most common cause of severe dehydrating diarrhea in children) vaccine in humans”https://nccih.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/110508.htm.
Probiotics may also be helpful for other immune conditions such as allergies, eczema and viral infections https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4006993/.
Probiotics may heal your urinary tract and yeast infections
Probably of one of the common uses for probiotics for us women is to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections.
Women are more likely to get UTIs than men. As many as 50% of women get a UTI. If you are one of the unlucky ones, you will have recurring UTIs https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447, https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections#1.
If you tend to get UTIs, your doctor will probably put you on daily antibiotics to prevent your UTI from occurring again. However, some of the antibiotics may not work because the bacteria that cause UTIs may have built up resistance to them.
Also, antibiotics have various side effects including killing good bacteria in your body https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1479479/.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 (previously called L. fermentum RC-14) can help treat your UTIs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1479479/.
Do you get yeast infections? I got one with my first pregnancy. Yeast infections are another “woman’s issue” that probiotics can help with. Research has shown that L rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri (formerly fermentum) B-54 and RC-14 can help restore lactobacilli (good bacteria in the vagina) and reduce infections in more than 50% of women who use them on a daily basis https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1479479/.
How Probiotics For Women Work
Probiotics might work by keeping your good bacteria up, competing with bad bacteria, improving your immune response, producing substances such as acids that prevent yeast from growing, and helping restore the balance of good bacteria which have been destroyed because of disease or antibiotics https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm.
Things to look for when choosing the right probiotic for yourself
- The right probiotic for you will depend on what conditions you are looking to prevent or treat. Not all probiotics are the same. For instance, if one type of Lactobacillus helps lower your blood pressure, it does not mean another type of Lactobacillus will do the same https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm.The table below lists some strains of bacteria to look for when treating various conditions  https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm.
This table is a quick cheat sheet of various probiotics that are helpful for common health concerns. For more detailed information visit these links http://probiotics.org/strains/, https://www.naspghan.org/files/documents/pdfs/position-papers/probiotics.pdf.
- You also want to make sure that the number of bacteria, called colony forming units of CFUs is the same as the number shown in human studies to be effective for health benefitshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/ — Now, does this mean you have to track down every study to find out the number of CFUs you should look for? — No — The rule of thumb is that your probiotic should contain a minimum concentration of 106 CFU/mL or gram and you should consume 108 to 109 probiotic microorganisms a day to gain health benefits https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/ — When I was studying to be a dietitian, I remember my amazement at learning that I may have been wasting my money on various yogurts that contained certain probiotics. According to my lecturers, some of these yogurts did not contain enough probiotics for health benefits!
- According to an expert, another factor you want to consider when choosing a probiotic is the number of different strains that your probiotic supplement contains. Different strains of probiotic bacteria have varying functions providing more health benefits https://www.drdavidwilliams.com/how-to-choose-the-best-probiotic-supplement.
- How the probiotic is packaged and delivered is also important. If your probiotic need to be stored in a cool place but is packed in a heat-attracting package or delivered non-refrigerated, the bacteria may be dead by the time they reach your door.
- You also want to see an expiry date. The expiry date helps you know how long your probiotic will remain effective https://www.drdavidwilliams.com/how-to-choose-the-best-probiotic-supplement.
Best Way to Use Probiotics
It can be very confusing to know how to take probiotics.
Some manufacturers say to take the before meals, some during or after meals, and some say on an empty stomach.
What does the science say?..
A study found that non-enteric coated probiotic capsules (capsules that dissolves in the stomach) were best taken just before or during a meal, preferably a fat containing meal so that the bacteria would survive as they pass along the digestive tract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22146689.
What does this mean for you?
If your probiotic supplement comes in a non-enteric coated capsule form, take it just before or during a meal containing fat. One way you can ensure that you are taking the capsule with fat is to take it with 1% (not skim) milk.
Contraindications to Using Probiotics
Probiotics are quite safe to use if you are healthy.
If you do experience any side effects, it is usually gas or slight abdominal pain. However, very sick infants, children with short gut syndrome (missing functional small intestine), those who are critically ill, have had surgery, or have a weakened immune system may have serious side effects such as a dangerous infection http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1101/p1073.html, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm.
The Best Probiotics For Women We Reviewed
This product contains 85 billion CFU per serving and 32 strains of bacteria.
It also contains prebiotics, and strains of bacteria shown to be beneficial to improve lactose intolerance. In addition, there are added vitamins and minerals to further boost your health.
Serving size of 3 capsules.
This product contains 50 billion CFU per serving and 10 strains of bacteria.
It features a delayed release time capsule which protects the bacterial strains from the acid in your stomach.
Serving size of 1 capsule.
This product contains 5 billion CFU per serving and 6 strains of bacteria.
It features a delayed release time capsule which protects the bacterial strains from the acid in your stomach. Withstands extreme heat for up to 7 days or longer if seals are intact. Contains cranberry extract and D-mannose for urinary tract health.
Serving size of 1 capsule.
This product contains 30 billion CFU per serving and 6 strains of bacteria.
Contains short chain fructo-oligosaccharide prebiotics beneficial for magnesium absorption.
Serving size of 2 capsules.
This product contains 6 billion CFU per serving and 8 strains of bacteria.
It features a delayed release time capsule which protects the bacterial strains from the acid in your stomach. Contains cranberry extract and D-mannose for urinary tract health.
Serving size of 1 caplet.
This product contains 15 billion CFU per serving and 1 strain of bacteria.
It also contains a prebiotic and features dicalcium phosphate, which is beneficial for bone health.
Serving size of 1 tablet.
And the winner here is Garden of Life Raw Probiotics!Garden of Life - RAW Probiotics Women - Acidophilus Live Cultures - Probiotic-Created Vitamins, Minerals, Enzymes and Prebiotics - Gluten Free - 90 Vegetarian Capsules
It combines a range of benefits in one product. It has a great CFU count and has the widest variety of strains of bacteria, making it more suitable for overall health.
At the same time, it also provides the right type of bacteria that studies have shown to be beneficial for urinary tract and vaginal health.
It contains prebiotics, the right type of bacteria to relieve lactose intolerance, and has added vitamins and minerals.
Last update on 2018-08-16 / Affiliate links / Images & Stars from Amazon Product Advertising API
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