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Fun fact: Human beings have trillions of microorganisms, mostly bacteria. Supplemental probiotics can help support the bacteria that live within us, especially when our innate bacteria is challenged, for example, by antibiotics, poor diet, or traveling. While probiotics can be consumed naturally in foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi, they can also be taken in supplement form, the latter of which has soared in recent years.
Probiotics have been shown to help immune function, digestion, and nutrition absorption. They have also been examined in how they help manage digestive discomforts, reduce colic symptoms and eczema in infants, and decrease the risk or duration of common infections, including those of the respiratory tract and gut.
When looking for a probiotic, it is important to make sure that the levels of live probiotics are provided through the ‘best by’ date (not time of manufacture). Though probiotics are safe for most people, consumers should always discuss new supplements with their healthcare provider. Of course, there's more to consider, but more on that below.
Meet the Expert
Sydney Greene is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist focusing on integrative, customized nutrition counseling and coaching for individuals in recovery from substance use. She also works with individuals who are looking to change their relationship to food and body image.
What to Look For in Probiotics for Women
Levels of Live Probiotics
As explained above, it's important to look into the level of live probiotics a supplement contains before you purchase it. This indicates the number of live bacteria in the formula. However, you'll also want to make sure this information is provided through the ‘best by’ date noted on the product.
Consider Your Particular Needs
It's equally important to choose the right kind of probiotic supplement to best fit your health goals. Generally speaking, the bacterial strains that will benefit vaginal health are different from those that will be good for gut health, so look for a product that’s targeted for your exact needs.
The Amount of CFUs
When it comes to CFUs (or colony forming units), more isn’t always better, as the amount of bacteria needed to be effective depends on the particular strain, says clinical pharmacist Dragana Skokovic-Sunjic, author of the Clinical Guide to Probiotics. “Some strains would work at a dose as low as 0.5B CFU per day, and others might require up to 450B CFU per day,” she explains. Your best bet? Discuss your particular goals and needs with your doctor so you can find the right probiotic supplement for you.
Ready to add probiotics to your daily routine? Discover the best probiotics for women on the market, ahead.
Best Overall: Garden of Life Once Daily Women’s Probiotics
Contains 16 diverse probiotic strains
Includes a blend of prebiotic fiber to boost results
May cause gas or bloating for some
Beloved by myself and fellow dietician nutritionists alike, these probiotics for women are one of the best out there. They contain 50 billion Colony Forming Units with 16 diverse, specially-selected probiotic strains. Among them are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria—two strains that are resistant to stomach acid and bile—to help boost immune, digestive, and vaginal health. There is also a prebiotic fiber blend of organic potato and organic acacia fiber to help boost the results. The capsules are non-GMO, gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free, as well as vegetarian.
As an added benefit, they are also shelf-stable, meaning you don't have to keep them refrigerated between uses. This is an ideal perk for women on the go—all you have to do is stash it into your purse, gym bag, or carry-on.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 50 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegetarian
Best Budget: Culturelle Daily Probiotic
Contains evidence-backed strain shown to improve gut health
Includes prebiotic fiber to boost results
Not as strong as others on the market
Probiotic supplements that are super affordable are hard to come by. One 30 day supply of Culturelle won't break the bank and contains a potent, evidence-backed strain of good bacteria. Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG) has been used in multiple clinical trials focusing on abdominal pain, infection-induced diarrhea, and allergic reactions such as eczema.
Culturelle contains ten billion Colony Forming Units of this evidence-backed bacteria strain per serving. In addition to these beneficial bacteria, Culturelle combines 200 mg of inulin, a naturally occurring prebiotic fiber to feed the probiotic. Independent product testing company, Consumer Labs, confirmed that it contains the listed amount of probiotic organisms and is free of contamination as well as yeast, milk, dairy, wheat, gluten, and lactose which makes this a great option for anyone who may be following a gut-healing specific diet looking for an extra gut health boost.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 10 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, non-GMO
Editor's Choice: Seed Daily Synbiotic
Blend contains both a prebiotic and probiotic
Uses only probiotic strains researched in human-based studies
Patented microalgae capsule ensures survival in stomach acid
The research on various probiotic strains has been booming. With more research comes more knowledge on specific probiotic strains to help support various bodily mechanisms. Seed focuses on using specific probiotic strains that have been researched in human-based studies.
Seed’s Daily Synbiotic extends beyond a focus solely on gut health. If you are wondering what a ‘synbiotic’ is and how it differs from a probiotic, it is a scientific way of naming a product that contains both a prebiotic and a probiotic in one capsule. Think of prebiotics as the food that the probiotics live on. To ensure that their pre and probiotics survive the stomach’s acidity, the potent combination of bacteria strains specific for dermatological and cardiovascular health (in addition to gut health) are protected in a patented capsule made from microalgae.
Seed Daily Synbiotic does not have to be refrigerated and they meticulously test their product to make sure they are free of gluten, dairy, corn soy, binders, fillers, and excipients.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 53.6 billion AFU | Dosage: 2 daily | Certified: Vegan, allergen-friendly
What Our Editors Say
"The label on Seed's probiotics says it'll help with digestion and metabolic and immune health. I've been taking the supplements for almost a month now, and I've never been less bloated—before, during, or after my period." —Hallie Gould, Associate Editorial Director
Best Combination: Lovebug Probiotics Yeast & Vaginal pH Support Probiotics
Designed to support vaginal health in addition to digestive and immune
Helps prevent and treat urinary tract infections
Patented capsule ensures survival in stomach acid
Large pill size
Offering slightly more Colony Forming Units of specific, clinically studied probiotic strains than the above product, Love Bug’s Yeast Is A Beast probiotic is designed with women's health in mind. Featuring five different strains of Lactobacillus, this product may help support optimal vaginal flora as well as digestive and immune function.
In addition to probiotics, this Love Bug includes 250 milligrams of D-Mannose from cranberry extract. D-Mannose has been researched for its ability to help prevent or treat urinary tract infections. All of Love Bug’s probiotics use BIO-tract®, a patented delivery technology scientifically developed to protect the tablets against stomach acids and other rigors of digestion. These probiotics are non-GMO, gluten and artificial flavor, and color-free.
Type: Capsule | Colony Forming Units: 50 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: Non-GMO, allergen-friendly
Best for Vaginal Health: Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus for Women
Contains four clinically-studied probiotic strains
Patented strains lower vaginal pH to keep undesirable bacteria at bay
Food-grade, pH-sensitive coating ensures survival in stomach acid
Pills may oxidize quickly
Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus for women is one of Consumer Labs' top picks of probiotics for women. Featuring five billion CFU of four clinically studied probiotic strains to support vaginal health, this product is an excellent choice for women looking for additional support to prevent and fight against vaginal inflammation.
According to Jarrow Formulas’ website, the patented strains used in this product lower the vaginal pH, creating a mildly acidic environment that is not optimal for the growth of undesirable bacteria. Coated with EnteroGuard®, a proprietary food-grade, pH-sensitive enteric coating, these capsules resist stomach acid, optimizing the delivery of bacteria to the lower GI tract.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 5 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: Vegan, allergen-friendly, vegan, vegetarian
Best Gummies: Olly Probiotic Gummy
Contains both probiotics and prebiotics
Independently tested and evaluated for quality and safety requirements
Tasty with no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or color
Contains a lower amount of probiotics than most others
Supplements in a gummy form are normally packed with added sugars and artificial colorings. Artificial coloring and sweeteners (in any form) are known triggers to gastrointestinal distress. Good news: Olly does not use artificial colorings, flavors, or sweeteners in its products.
Providing one billion Colony Forming Units of Bacillus Coagulans and 1.5 grams of a prebiotic blend in one gummy, this product is an excellent choice for consumers looking for options that are not in pill/capsule form. Olly features NSF certification, a symbol to show that products have been independently tested and evaluated against a rigorous set of quality and material safety requirements. Third-party testing is ideal when purchasing supplements as the supplement industry is not regulated.
Type: Gummies | Colony Forming Units: 1 billion | Dosage: 2 daily | Certified: Gluten-free, B Corporation, NSF
Best On the Go: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotic Extra Care Go-Pack
Contains 12 probiotic strains that improve digestive balance
Delayed-release design ensures contents survive stomach acid
No refrigeration necessary
Effects may be subtle
A major obstacle when it comes to staying consistent with taking probiotics is that many of them need to be refrigerated. Refrigeration keeps bacteria viable and supports overall efficacy. Finding a probiotic that ensures potency not just at the time of manufacture, but at the time of purchase is difficult.
Renew Life’s On The Go Probiotic takes away the stress of refrigeration. Renew Life’s Extra Care probiotics provide 50 billion live cultures from 12 different probiotic strains, designed to re-establish digestive balance. Ensuring quality and potency through expiration, Renew Life’s capsules are designed to be delayed-release, making sure the contents make it past the acidic environment of the stomach. As a bonus, these probiotics do not need to be refrigerated, a plus when shipments might be delayed, routines are disrupted by travel or emergency times without refrigeration.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 50 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: Non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free
Best Powder: Garden of Life 5-Day Max Care Probiotic
Contains 34 probiotic strains studied for improvements in digestive health
Also contains a prebiotic blend, fiber, and enzymes for optimal digestive health
Can be added to your smoothies or shake
Only five servings per package
Looking for a powerful probiotic solution without adding a new daily supplement to your routine? If so, Garden of Life’s 5 Day Max Restore is a potent, fast solution.
This probiotic blend in powder form is rich in different Bifidobacterium strains which have been studied extensively for their effect on the gastrointestinal tract. One daily serving contains 400 Billion CFU of 34 different probiotic strains, 100 milligrams of digestive enzymes, and a rich prebiotic blend from Jerusalem artichoke and banana powder. This powder alone contains 10 grams of fiber per serving, a bonus for anyone seeking to increase their fiber consumption.
Certified organic, non-GMO, and featuring an NSF certificate, this supplement has been independently tested and evaluated against a rigorous set of quality and material safety requirements.
Type: Powder | Colony Forming Units: 400 billion | Dosage: 2 tbs. daily | Certified: Organic, gluten-free, NSF
Best Vegan: Innate Response Flora 20-14 Capsules
Contains 14 probiotic strains to support digestive and immune health
Tested for 125 different pesticides and herbicides that may disrupt microbiome
Contains no animal-derived ingredients
Must be kept refrigerated
Innate Response is one of the first supplement companies to guarantee that their products are glyphosate residue-free which increases the efficacy of their potent Flora 20-14, Probiotic by limiting interference from a known microbiome disrupter.
Glyphosate, a key ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, has been making headlines recently due to its negative effects on hormones, gastrointestinal health, respiratory health, and immune functioning, among other concerns. In addition to glyphosate, each batch of incoming ingredients is tested for over 125 different pesticides and herbicides.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 20 billion | Dosage: 1 daily | Certified: B corporation, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free
Best Prebiotic + Probiotic: Happy V Prebiotic + Probiotic
Effectively fights bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, and yeast infections
Restores gut health and decreases bloating
No refrigeration necessary
A bit pricey
Happy V’s Prebiotic + Probiotic Vaginal Health Supplements can effectively fight against bacterial vaginosis, UTIs, and yeast infections thanks to its lineup of powerhouse ingredients. The formula's probiotics optimize your vagina’s pH for wellness, prevent pathogenic activity, and improve your lactic acid production. You can also rely on the supplement's probiotics to help restore your gut health, increase gut comfort, and even decrease bloating. The capsules are made with a patented prebiotic that destroys bad bacteria, improves the probiotics' efficacy, and maintains urinary tract and vaginal health. To round things out, the ingredient list also boasts lactobacillus, which is the most common beneficial bacteria found in the vaginal flora.
Happy V’s Prebiotic + Probiotic Vaginal Health Supplements are also physician-formulated, clinically proven, 100% natural, drug-free, and allergen-free. So, you know you can trust them.
Type: Capsules | Colony Forming Units: 20 billion | Dosage: 2 daily | Certified: Vegetarian, allergen-friendly
The best probiotic for women, according to registered dietician nutritionist Sydney Greene, is Garden of Life's Probiotics Supplements for Women (see at Amazon) with its 50 billion Colony Forming Units and 16 diverse probiotic strains. The capsules are easy to swallow and digest, but if you prefer gummy vitamins and supplements, reach for Olly Probiotic Gummies (see at Amazon). They contain one billion Colony Forming Units of Bacillus Coagulans and 1.5 grams of a prebiotic blend in one serving, as well as NSF certification to show that they've been tested and evaluated to meet safety requirements.
What do probiotics do?
As nutrition consultant Lauren Minchen explains, probiotics populate the gut lining and other areas of the body (like the skin) to protect against harmful bacteria and viruses, keep tissue intact, and boost the absorption of nutrients. Probiotic supplements can ensure your body is further optimized by improving gut function, improving skin conditions like rosacea and dermatitis, improving immunity, boosting mental health, and promoting heart health.
Are probiotics safe for pregnancy?
Though you should always consult your doctor before, probiotics are generally considered safe for pregnancy and are even sometimes recommended for this time. Taking them can improve the gut health of both you and your baby, reducing the risk of developing food allergies, infections, and illness.
How long does it take for probiotics to work?
Probiotics begin their work within your gut immediately, but consistency is key for the best results. According to celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, if you’re taking them for skin health, you might expect to notice a difference in about four weeks, but results may vary as there’s no one-size-fits-all experience.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any probiotics from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at email@example.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.