The science-backed evidence that shows which strain is the best probiotic for women--one that you should consider introducing to your diet Why do we use probiotic supplements to support our health, fitness and well-being? The obvious answer is because they give our bodies what they need for a strong and healthy life.
But have you ever considered how probiotics do this?
Have you ever thought about how supplements and their probiotic ingredients benefit your health? With this guide, we examine this more closely, giving you an in-depth insight into which probiotic supplements are the best for women. That's right; some probiotic strains work differently and have different effects, and so a careful selection process is vital if you are to find what you need. This guide is about helping you to learn exactly what these microorganisms do for you, and the role they play in your digestion.
Ultimately, you need to know precisely which strand of probiotic is going to help you hit your health and fitness targets. Our breakdown of the best probiotics for women -- and a thorough rundown of all their benefits -- is a great place to start.
Contents:Best Probiotic For Women: Lactobacillus Strains
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus Brevis
- Lactobacillus Casei
- Lactobacillus Fermentum
- Lactobacillus Helveticus
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Lactobacillus Salivarus
- Lactobacillus Gasseri
- Lactobacillus Paracasei
- Lactobacillus Delbrueckii
- Bifidobacterium Lactis
- Bifidobacterium Breve
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Bifidobacterium Longum
- Bifidobacterium Infantis
- Bifidobacterium Animalis
Best Probiotic for Women: Lactobacillus StrainsLactobacillus biota strains are one of the most common probiotic genera. Read on to find out more about these useful biota.
1. Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Best Probiotic For: Improving Iron Deficiencies, Combating Obesity, Anti-aging, Improving Vaginal Health Level of Scientific Research: Heavily Researched Rating for Women: 10/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Kefir, Miso, Tempeh, Probiotic supplements For many women, simply not getting enough iron can be a serious problem, leading to anaemia and other cardiovascular issues. So how do you augment the levels of iron in your body. One way is to take a supplement of Lactobacillus acidophilus, which has been shown to increase red blood cell status, promote absorption of iron minerals, and combat anaemia. Other benefits include better regulation of body fat and general weight, which could make the strain particularly useful for anyone looking to combat obesity or excess weight gain.
This is in addition to the anti-aging properties of this strain - L. acidophilus protects internal organs and maintains their health and function for longer. L. acdiophilius has also shown promising results in regards to the vaginal health of women. For instance, one study demonstrated that this strain lowers vaginal pH levels while another study provided evidence that L. acdiophilius reduces the likelihood of bacterial vaginosis.
Research into other benefits of L. acidophilus is ongoing, but increases in acetic, butyric, and propionic acids in the digestive tracts, as well as lowered ammonium levels, have both been observed during testing. Therefore, L. acidophilus seems to be related to the newly discovered postbiotic, meaning it may be one of the most important probiotics to get into your diet. Certainly, this is the best probiotic for women with an iron deficiency.
2. Lactobacillus Plantarum
Best Probiotic For: Reducing Inflammation, Promoting Healthy Skin, Mineral absorption, Vitamin production Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 10/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Kimchi, Saurkraut, Sourdough, Probiotic supplements You know all about the importance of getting the right vitamins and minerals in your diet, and you probably understand which foods provide the best sources of these vitamins and minerals.
However, you might not know that getting the right probiotic can really help you to get the most out of these healthy ingredients. L. plantarum has been found to increase the absorption of key minerals such as iron and calcium in women's bodies, as well as producing vital B-group vitamins such riboflavin -- also known as vitamin B2 -- and folate, B9. Other benefits include a reduction of cytotoxicity from cadmium and aluminium, leading to better liver, kidney, brain, and digestive health. L. plantarum has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the body. For example, one study has found that this strain is important in the prevention and management of IBD.
This could be because L. plantarum may suppress inflammatory responses in the gut. There is also evidence that this strain may decrease inflammation causing cytokines. Most importantly for women, L. plantarum has shown promising results in regards to promoting the health of your skin. One study has shown that when participants were given L. plantarum, the results demonstrated a reduction in wrinkles, improved skin water retention and improved skin elasticity within 12 weeks.
Another study also demonstrated that this strain increases the production of collagen. This is incredibly important given collagen production reduces with age. For women looking for flawless skin and to reduce inflammation, this is the best probiotic for women.
3. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
Best Probiotic For: Supporting Digestive Health, Combating IBS, Enhancing Immunity, Improving Mental Health Level of Scientific Research: Heavily Researched Rating for Women: 10/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Yoghurt, cheese, fermented milk, Probiotic supplements If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, you will know the misery these conditions can cause.
An important factor behind both conditions is gut permeability, which enables harmful bacteria to enter the gut, causing infection and inflammation. L. rhamnosus has been shown to reduce this permeability, shoring up your gut against the transit of harmful bacteria as well as reducing instances of IBS and IBD by actively alleviating existing symptoms. But it is not just IBS and IBD sufferers who can benefit from L. rhamnosus.
The probiotic supports healthy digestion and function, helping you get the nutrients you need without any pain or discomfort, making it a very welcome strain of biota indeed. L. rhamnosus has also been shown to have a number of immunity boosting qualities. For example numerous studies have shown this strains ability to fight and combat viruses, fungi, parasites, infections and bacteria.
This strain of probiotic has also been shown to assist in the recovery of those suffering from mental health issues. While research is still growing in this area, there is evidence demonstrating it may reduce anxiety, depression and interestingly was shown to ameliorate OCD in one study. For those with IBS, poor immune function of mental health problems, this is the best probiotic for women.
4. Lactobacillus Brevis
Best Probiotic For: Combating Lactose Intolerance, Managing Diabetes Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Fermented pickles, Suguki, Probiotic supplements Many women find it difficult to digest lactose products or experience uncomfortable side-effects when such products are ingested. L. brevis produces lactic acid within the stomach, which enables the stomach to prepare a response, rather than being overwhelmed by the substance. This can significantly reduce the effects of lactose intolerance.
This is far from the only benefit of the biota strain. Growing research shows that L. brevis can actively regulate levels of glucose, which in turn increases energy levels and makes it easier to manage weight gain. Some studies also suggest a link to delayed onset of diabetes in some cases. Immunity support and germicidal functions also contribute to the myriad benefits of L. brevis for women's health. If you are looking to get more diary into diet without experiencing the harmful effects of a lactose intolerance, this may be the best probiotic for you.
5. Lactobacillus Casei
Best Probiotic For: Alleviation of Digestive Disorders, Boosting Liver Function Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 9/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Yogurt-like fermented milk, certain cheeses, Probiotic supplements L. casei is among the most common of the lactobacillus strains found in probiotic health supplements. It is no surprise, then, that the strain is also one of the most widely researched, and that its health benefits are well documented.
Research has found that L. casei can help women to alleviate the symptoms of a range of digestive disorders. If you have been diagnosed with a digestive disorder, or if you experience bowel discomfort or other symptoms, L. casei may provide an answer. There is also evidence to suggest that L. casei may have a positive effect on a variety of physical ailments and conditions, including infectious diseases and excessive weight gain, as well as psychological disorders such as depression. Interestingly, studies have shown that this strain can help reduce the signs of liver damage and protect against dietary induced fatty liver.This is the best probiotic for women looking to reduce the symptoms of digestive disorders and boost liver function.
6. Lactobacillus Fermentum
Best Probiotic For: Nutrient Absorption, Anti-aging, Lower Cholesterol Level of Scientific Research: Limited research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Some dairy products, Probiotic supplements Research in to L. fermentum is still ongoing, and, while it is not one of the more established and widely recognised forms of lactobacillus biota, the early indicators are highly positive.
Studies have found significant links between the probiotic and antioxidative and antimicrobial functions in the body. Oxidation is a natural process, but one which can cause premature ageing to your internal organs, while microbes can cause similarly serious damage within the body. This means that taking lactobacillus fermentum supplements could help you to safeguard organ health for longer.
Research has also linked L. fermentum to increased absorption and bioavailability of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc, as well as possible link between the probiota and lowered cholesterol. This is a supplement with serious potential. This is the best probiotic for women looking to reduce their cholesterol levels and improve their nutrient deficiencies.
7. Lactobacillus Helveticus
Best Probiotic For: Enhancing Immunity, Optimising Nutrition Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Swiss and Italian cheeses, buttermilk, Probiotic supplements Your immune system is a vital part of who you are, giving you the protection and the peace of mind you need to be at your best. L. helveticus is a helpful probiotic which provides your immune system with the additional boost it needs to stay strong and to keep on resisting illness and infection. As well as helping your body to achieve its natural immunity, the probiota also helps to directly inhibit pathogens within the digestive system.
These pathogens are a major source of infectious diseases, so this attribute of L. helveticus provides an extra level of defence in the fight for bodily health. L. helveticus is also useful in assisting with the healthy digestion of food and with the absorption of nutrition in the gut. Poor digestion can lead to severe discomfort and illness, while proper nutrient absorption is vital for supporting a fit and healthy body and mind. For those with an immune system issue, L. helveticus is the best probiotic for women.
8. Lactobacillus Reuteri
Best Probiotic For: Anti-Microbial Functions, Combating IBS, Reducing Pain Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Milk & meat products, Probiotic supplements There are many different biota strains which assist with healthy digestion and alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
However, research suggests that L. reuteri is one of the best candidates in this department. Analysis has found that this strain helps to produce the molecules necessary for gut protection and amelioration of IBS symptoms. When L. reuteri is digested, levels of tryptophan are balanced and maintained within the digestive system, preventing much of the damage caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
There are other benefits to taking an L. reuteri supplement too. Reduced general gut pain has been linked to diets rich in L. reuteri, as has an increase in gut motility. Unfortunately, it is estimated that only 10 to 20% of humans have enough of this biota in their digestive tract, so a supplement may be the only option if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
9. Lactobacillus Salivarus
Best Probiotic For: Improving Digestive Health, Dental Health, Boosting Immunity Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 8/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Yoghurt, Probiotic supplements Your stomach is a benign, useful organ which helps you to get the nutrition you need from your food, but this does not tell the whole story. Inside your stomach is battleground, in which good bacteria must win out if your digestive system is to remain healthy.
That's why it is so important to have a hardy, good bacteria like L. salivarus on your side. This is one of the faster-growing and proliferating biotic strains, something which enables it to overwhelm the bad bacteria and win the battle. The result is a reduction in levels of candida growth and a far healthier digestive system, as well as increased immunity to illness. If you suffer from IBS, you may also find that your symptoms are alleviated with this probiotic's benefits. In addition to aiding digestive function, there is significant evidence linking L. silivarus to dental health and to the reduction of disease-causing bacteria in the throat.
10. Lactobacillus Gasseri
Best Probiotic For: Alleviation of Menstrual Pain, Reduction in Allergies, Reduced Cholesterol Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 8/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Lassi, miso, Natto, tempe, Probiotic supplements Menstrual pain is a serious concern for many women, particularly those suffering from endometriosis, and the agony and misery caused by the condition can be seriously disruptive to daily life.
L. gasseri provides a solution, after research found a strong link between taking the biota strain and a significant reduction in pain. If you suffer from allergies or are struggling with weight gain, the biota strain also offers a potential solution. There is growing evidence to link L. gasseri with the alleviation of allergic symptoms, while a study conducted in the UK in 2013 found that supplements containing this probiotic can seriously reduce levels of fat around the abdomen. If you have menstrual pain, allergies, or elevated cholesterol, L. gasseri may be the best probiotic for women.
11. Lactobacillus Paracasei
Best Probiotic For: Reduced Bowel Inflammation, Alleviation of symptoms of IBD Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Yoghurt, Probiotic supplements Your bowels harness the power of good bacteria to assist with nutrient absorption and healthy digestion. To achieve this, the bowel wall must act as a barrier, barring access to bad bacteria which can cause inflammation and infection.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and many women experience the pain and discomfort of inflammation of the digestive system. L. paracasei works to actively combat this by selectively degrading the chemokines which cause inflammation in the gut. Deployed together with other biota strains, L. paracasei represents a solid line of defence against the agony of inflammation. If you suffer from IBD, you may find L. paracasei to be even more effective in reducing the painful symptoms of the condition.
12. Lactobacillus Delbrueckii
Best Probiotic For: Boosting Immunity, Improving Arthritis Symptoms Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10, possibly up to 9/10 as research builds Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Yoghurt, Probiotic supplements As it stands, L delbrueckii is a very useful strain which can provide a great boost to your immunity and keep you safe from disease and infection.
However, with growing research, there is mounting evidence that its positive effects could go way beyond this. Let's start with immunity. The biota supports the production of cytokines which help to maintain a strong and robust immune system. In addition to this, L. delbrueckii has been found to increase the activity of cells which fight the common cold and other bacterial infections, particularly in the elderly.
Evidence also suggests that taking the supplement may help improve the symptoms of arthritis, reduce the effects of intestinal inflammations, and even fight cancer. Tests are still ongoing in these departments and could confirm L. delbrueckii's status as a kind of 'super' biota. This is the best probiotic for women looking to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and boost their immunity.
Best Probiotic for Women: Bifidobacterium StrainsAlongside lactobacillus biota strains, bifidobacteria are the key type of positive bacteria used in probiotics. Bifidobacteria are non-motile and produce acetate as well as the lactate acid produced by lactobacillus strains. Beyond this, many of the advantages these strains provide are similar to those provided by lactobacillus. Read on to discover more about some of the most important bifidobacterium biota to your health.
1. Bifidobacterium Lactis
Best Probiotic For: Combating Obesity, Boosting Immunity Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 9/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Cultured dairy products, Probiotic supplements As a subspecies of bifidobacterium animalis, B. lactis is one of the most heavily researched of the bifidobacterium biota strains, and its benefits to you and your body are as wide-ranging as they are effective.
Reductions in cholesterol, lipoproteins, and inflammation have been proven to be directly linked to B. lactis, making it a useful ally for anyone looking to fight obesity and support healthy digestion. Tests on healthy women and on women in pregnancy have also found that the strain increases immunity, both for you and your baby, combating infection and supporting ongoing health Links between the B. lactis strain and anaemia prevention in children, alleviation of colitis and IBS symptoms, and cancer prevention, are also being explored, with encouraging results. For people who struggle with obesity, B. lactis may be the best probiotic for women.
2. Bifidobacterium Breve
Best Probiotic For: Skin Care, Weight Loss, Improved Allergy Symptoms Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 8/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Kefir, Probiotic supplements Most probiotics, by their very nature, are good for digestive health, and of course bifidobacterium breve is no exception. B. breve is among the best probiota for supporting healthy skin in women from a variety of age groups.
Tests have demonstrated its efficacy in increasing skin hydration as well as the clarity of the epidermal layer. Skin which is damaged by UV light, such as from the sun or from excessive tanning bed use, may also be aided by the introduction of B. breve to your diet. While the strain is no substitute for a responsible and careful attitude to skin protection, its attributes are certainly useful in this regard. B. breve has been found to reduce symptoms of allergic reactions, particularly regarding lactose allergies, as well as lessening the risk of developing skin diseases such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
General anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory functions are also properties of B. breve. For those who are struggling with their weight, B. breve is particularly useful. Reduced levels of weight gain and lowered fat mass are both proven results of introducing the biota strain to your diet.
3. Bifidobacterium Bifidum
Best Probiotic For: Stress Relief, Fighting infection, GI Improvement Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 8/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Sour cream, buttermilk, kefir, Probiotic supplements Stress is something far too many women know all about in the modern age. Whether driven by your professional situation, your finances, your personal life, or by a range of other sources, pressure, stress, and strain can come at you from many directions.
B. bifidum actively works to combat stress, adopting a dual approach to this vital function. On the one hand, it has been shown to reduce the psychological symptoms of stress in women, while on the other, it has also been found to reduce physical, gastro-intestinal symptoms associated with the condition. It is not just stress-related GI disorders which are alleviated by the B. bifidum strain. Abdominal pains, diarrhoea, and dyspepsia may be caused by several different factors, but all can be treated using this versatile and effective probiota.
The anti-infection properties of B. bifidum are also well documented. One such property is supported by the fact that the strain works to regulate microbiota in the gut, keeping populations of bad bacteria to a minimum. It also enhances the anti-oxidation which takes place within the thymus and spleen, improving immunity and resistance. For those who deal with elevated stress levels, this is indeed the best probiotic for women.
4. Bifidobacterium Longum
Best Probiotic For: Boosted Immunity, Healthy Liver, Lowered Cholesterol Level of Scientific Research: Growing research, heavily researched for some properties Rating for Women: 8/10, rising to 9/10 as research grows Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Fermented daury products, Probiotic supplements B. longum is a probiota with a long, and yet still ongoing, history of research. Many of its benefits have been proven already in scientific study -- including its benefits to liver health, to immunity, and levels of cholesterol -- but we could be about to see proof of many more.
Let's begin with immunity. Several pieces of scientific research have found that B. longum -- and its subspecies, B. infantis, which we will discuss below -- promotes strong immune responses when introduced to the human diet. This is particularly effective in the elderly, whose immune systems may have been weakened by a variety of factors. Several different studies have highlighted the efficacy of B. longum in reducing total cholesterol in humans, particularly in cases of moderate hypercholesterolemia.
This reduction of cholesterol, coupled with a lessening of lipid deposition in the liver, has also been found to support healthy liver function. Research is ongoing in several other areas, including the use of B. longum to support healthy cognitive function, to treat psychological disorders such as anxiety, and to strengthen bones. As this research develops, we could see B. longum adding several other strings to its bow.
5. Bifidobacterium Infantis
Best Probiotic For: Improved Immunity and Gastro-intestinal Health Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Fermented milk products, Probiotic supplements B. infantis is a subspecies of B. longum, which has been discussed above. This bifidobacterium probiota strain is another useful addition to your health toolkit and has been proven to support positive immune responses across a range of different patients.
Everyone, from the very young to the very old and anyone in between, can benefit from the immuno-boosting properties of B. infantis. Research has also found proven links between a diet rich in B. infantis and effective modulation of positive biota in the gut, in turn leading to a reduction in potentially damaging endotoxins. These benefits are augmented by another feature of B. longum; its support for levels of butyric acid, succinic acid, and propionic in the stomach. There are a variety of other benefits too, including reduced intestinal inflammation and incidences of necrotising enterocolitis -- or NEC -- and a lessening of colitis symptoms via decreases in Th1 and Th17 responses.
6. Bifidobacterium Animalis
Best Probiotic For: Fighting Obesity, Boosting Immunity, Preventing infection Level of Scientific Research: Heavily researched Rating for Women: 9/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Fermented milk products, Probiotic supplements This is not the first appearance of B. animalis on this list. The biota family also includes subspecies B. lactis -- the health benefits of which we have discussed above -- and together these species of probiotic strain are highly useful additions to your health strategies.
Perhaps the best documented benefit of B. animalis is its ability to reduce BMI, weight gain and fat mass, making it a valuable asset in the struggle for healthy weight regulation and in combating obesity. Improved glucose tolerance is another significant benefit in this area. The lactis substrain of B. animalis is particularly useful in supporting a robust and healthy immune system. We have covered this for you above, but it is worth mentioning again here for your reference.
Mothers who are unable to breastfeed or who have had caesarean sections will also find the anti-rotavirus and anti-poliovirus function of B. animalis to be beneficial. Other bacterial and viral infections are also combated by introducing B. animalis to your diet.
Best Probiotic for Women: Other StrainsBifidobacterium and lactobacillus biota strains are certainly useful in the battle to secure healthy digestion and an array of other benefits, but they are not unique. There are other biota strains which can help you achieve excellent results for your health and well-being. We have covered some of these for you below.
1. Streptococcus Thermophilus
Best Probiotic For: Promoting Healthy skin, Improving Allergies Level of Scientific Research: Limited research Rating for Women: 6/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Lactic acid containing foods, Probiotic supplements Studies related to streptococcus thermophilus are not as abundantly available as those for other entries on this list are. However, there is growing research which suggests that S. thermophilus could have significant and wide ranging health benefits for women.
One of the proven benefits of the biota strain is an increase in skin ceramide levels following treatment, as well as increased general hydration of the skin among elderly patients. However, these benefits have been reported after cream including the biota is applied topically to the affected area, not simply digested. Introducing S. thermophilus to your diet does have its advantages, though. One such advantages is a reduction in allergic reactions to lactose in the digestive tract, lessening the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Research is still ongoing into several different properties and advantages of S. thermophilus, and these remain unproven. Links to reduced symptoms of gastritis, IBD, mucositis, and antibiotic associated diarrhoea are all currently being examined, with encouraging early results. For people who struggle with skin disorders, this may be the best probiotic for women.
2. Bacillus Coagulans
Best Probiotic For: Constipation Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Lactic acid containing foods, Probiotic supplements It is only recently that people -- including scientific community as well as patients -- have truly woken up to the potential benefits and advantages offered by probiota. As such, research and study are not yet complete in many cases, and new advantages are being discovered all the time.
This is the case for B. coagulans, which can boast a range of a range of solid, proven advantages, as well as several which are still in the pipeline. Among the proven advantages are reductions in constipation and abdominal pain, both of which combine to dramatically improve quality of life for many women around the world. Increased good cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes patients is another proven benefit of taking a B. coagulans supplement, while improved muscle recovery times makes this a vital strain for women with active lifestyles.
Benefits for which proof is perhaps on its way, but has not yet been arrived at, include reduced inflammation in the gastro-intestinal tract, boosted general immunity in the body, and improved feeding tolerance for infants. As it stands, we have rated B. coagulans at a respectable 7/10, but this number could rise as more studies are confirmed. For those with constipation, B. coagulans may be the best probiotic for women.
3. Bacillus Laterosporus
Best Probiotic For: Antibacterial Function in the Gut, and Support for Immunity Level of Scientific Research: Growing research Rating for Women: 7/10 Examples of Foods That Contain This Strain: Lactic acid containing foods, Probiotic supplements The immune system and the digestive system are not commonly associated with one another, but in fact healthy digestion is a critical component of your fight against disease.
Probiota in the gut are vital for healthy immunity, and B. laterosporus is one of the most important. The biota works with an antiseptic function, targeting harmful pathogens as they enter the digestive system and neutralising them, protecting you from disease and illness. These pathogens are a major cause of infection in the gastro-intestinal system, and so, if you are prone to such infections, B. laterosporus represents a seriously useful tool in your battle against the agony and discomfort of these conditions.
B. laterosporus has also been shown to effectively manage and modulate bacteria in the gut, which means that bad bacteria are diminished in number while positive strains can thrive. This helps to create the perfect conditions for probiotic function within the digestive system, and for effective digestion.