After years of adverts for enhanced yoghurts and breakfast shots (that’s what Actimel is, right?) we’re all pretty well-acquainted with the concept of good versus bad bacteria, but when it comes to finding the best probiotic for you, there can still be some confusion.
First things first: if you’re unsure whether probiotics could benefit you, you might want to read this advice from the NHS, which offers information on the use of probiotics for symptoms of IBS, lactose intolerance and some other digestive niggles. Generally, if you have normal immune function, you can be assured that probiotics won’t cause you any harm, but if you suffer with an immune deficiency or are otherwise unsure, always check with your GP first.
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Overall, the Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula (opens in new tab) presents the most diverse range of cultures (fourteen, to be exact) to cover more bases than most competitors, and is suitable for babies, toddlers, children and pregnant women, making it our top pick. However, if you’re after something a little different, keep reading below for our other gut-friendly choices.
Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula contains fourteen live bacterial cultures including well-known good bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, which has shown effectiveness against symptoms of lactose intolerance in some studies, and its diverse portfolio of microorganisms is hailed by reviewers as the secret to its success. That each one is proven to reach the gut intact is crucial, and its suitability for babies, toddlers, children, pregnant women and anyone on antibiotics speaks of its all-round friendliness.
This everyday supplement from OptiBac contains six different strains of live bacteria proven to survive gut acidity and promote a more harmonious environment in your digestive tract. FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharide) fibres are included in a ‘prebiotic’ capacity, acting as a sort of fertiliser for friendly bacteria, however as it’s a form of insoluble fibre, IBS sufferers might want to proceed with caution. Nonetheless, reviewers have raved about it, with some hailing it as a wonder tonic for chronic bloating, gas and other tummy troubles.
With Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, which is often called in as a re-populating response to illness or antibiotic use that sees the numbers of good intestinal bacteria diminished, this probiotic powder comes highly recommended by reviewers for bouts of tummy upset. What makes this one unique is its powder formulation, which means it can be taken by children or adults who find it difficult to swallow capsules, either sprinkled over breakfast or added to drinks for easy intake.
With its lack of common allergens (some probiotics are cultivated on soy or dairy samples, although, according to the experts, this isn’t typically enough to set off an intolerance) this dairy-free, gluten-free and water-based probiotic drink is designed to be extra-gentle on the stomach, ideal for anyone on an exclusion diet or recovering from a bout of digestive illness. Like the Higher Nature Probiotic Powder, this Symprove Bacteria’s drinkable formulation makes it great for those who struggle taking tablets, and the fact that it tastes like mango and passion fruit is an undeniable bonus.
Encompassing 10 billion colony-forming units across five different helpful strains, these capsules sure pack a probiotic punch. While they might not go down quite as easily as a drink, they come in the form of easy-to-swallow capsules for quick, no-fuss everyday administering, and one reviewer particularly recommended them for fortifying the digestive tract against unfamiliar bacteria while travelling. Others found it a great ally in the fight against IBS symptoms, and the fact that these capsules come in a great value six-month supply means it’s easy to keep track of your progress.
Second only to our top pick for CFU diversity, these Physis Advanced Probiotics boast ten active strains of bacteria for full-coverage defence of a poorly digestive tract. With no egg or egg derivatives, no dairy, no peanuts or nut-derived oils, and no gluten, it’s free of the most common allergens, making it accessible for most, and the delayed release means you can pop them before or after meals, making for more flexibility, and no worries if you suddenly remember you’ve missed one while you’re already into second helpings.
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