what is the best probiotic for women
Women are generally advised to look for a probiotic supplement that contains at least 20-50 billion colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria

While there are many probiotic-based supplements on the market, purchasing the right one for you can be particularly perplexing.

Women are generally advised to look for a probiotic supplement that contains at least 20-50 billion colony forming units (CFUs) of bacteria. However, in the early stages, a minimum of 1 billion CFUs may be consumed.

A wide range of women-specific formulations includes additional ingredients to promote overall health. Some of these supplements contain clinically proven ingredients that have been linked to protecting against painful urinary tract and bladder infections (D-mannose and cranberry extracts).

Which probiotic strains do I need?

The strain is an important factor to consider because certain strains have been shown to address various health concerns. Every probiotic contains a variety of bacteria strains that each serve a specific purpose. It is critical to remember this when selecting probiotics for a specific condition. 

A combination containing strains from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families is a good place to start because these strains are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract.

Vaginal infections

For women looking to maintain healthy vaginal flora, the following are well-researched for their role in preventing vaginal infections:

Digestive issues

The following have been shown to help with digestive issues, such as constipation and bloating:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Bifidobacterium animalis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium longum

Weight loss

Growing clinical evidence suggests the balance of bacteria in the gut flora can affect body weight when it comes to weight loss. Several probiotic strains that appear to be effective for fat loss have been identified in studies on body weight management:

  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis

Skin health

In terms of skin health, studies have found significant clinical improvement in acne vulgaris patients who were given probiotics containing:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Bifidobacterium longum

Psychiatric disorders

Probiotics have been shown in studies to improve psychiatric disorder symptoms:

  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus helveticus
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum

QUESTION

Next to red peppers, you can get the most vitamin C from ________________. See Answer

What are the benefits of probiotics?

Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to the “good” bacterial colonies that live in the digestive tract. They keep the gut healthy and aid in the resolution or prevention of a wide range of health issues. 

The digestive tract or gut contains trillions of live bacteria, which are collectively called gut flora. Some of these bacteria are good, while others are bad. As a result, the number and composition of gut bacteria can have a significant impact on your physical and even mental health

Probiotics are not all the same, nor do they all have the same effect on the body. The right types and amounts of probiotics can help health in a variety of ways:

There are other benefits to taking a probiotic.

  • Help improve some mental health issues
  • Promote heart health
  • Help lessen the severity of many allergy symptoms

What are healthy food sources of probiotics?

Because probiotics are becoming increasingly popular, they have been included as an ingredient in some foods. Food sources of probiotics that can be incorporated into the diet include:

  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Cheeses (gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese)
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickles
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Natto

What are prebiotics?

Prebiotics typically promote the growth of beneficial bacteria by providing them with a food source. Prebiotics are fibrous, nondigestible substances (mostly fermentable carbohydrates). Because humans are unable to digest these carbohydrates, they pass into the lower digestive tract and act as a food source for healthy bacteria, aiding in their growth. 

So, by having the right amount of prebiotics, you can optimize the work of the good bacteria that promotes gut health. The following are some examples of commonly used prebiotics:

  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
  • Resistant starches
  • Pectic oligosaccharide (POS)
  • Inulin
  • Noncarbohydrate oligosaccharides
  • Polyphenols
  • Some fatty acids

The combination of probiotics and prebiotics work synergistically to improve gut health. Adding prebiotics to probiotics, according to some research, can also boost their survivability. 

In addition to probiotics, try to consume prebiotic, fiber-rich meals. This helps maintain the variety of your gut microbiota at an optimum level.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/27/2021
References
Image Source: Anna Galkovskaya / Getty Images

Cleveland Clinic. How to Pick the Best Probiotic for You. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-pick-the-best-probiotic-for-you/

Aloysius S. 10 Best Probiotics for Women for Urinary and Digestive Support. Life Hack. https://www.lifehack.org/885171/best-probiotics-for-women

BodyNutrition. Ranking the best probiotics for women of 2021. https://bodynutrition.org/probiotics-for-women/

Klemm S. Prebiotics and Probiotics: Creating a Healthier You. EatRight. https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you