At this point, the word "probiotic" is as much in the wellness zeitgeist as "organic" or "omega-3s".
You're probably well aware that these beneficial bugs are crucial for your gut health, and you may even be familiar with the wide array of probiotic foods (kombucha! kimchi! yogurt!) that help nourish your gut microbiome.*
And while a diet rich in these foods is certainly important for maintaining a healthy gut, sometimes our body needs a little extra support in the form of probiotic supplements.*
Now, that's where things get a little more complicated. Here's the thing: Not all probiotic supplements are created equal. "Probiotic" is an umbrella term, but the reality is there is a wide variety of different probiotic strains—each with varying benefits to consider. Not to mention, the quality of your probiotic is also crucial.
Since there are so many probiotic supplements out there to choose from, I tapped mindbodygreen's VP of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, to help cut through the noise. Check out her insights on exactly what to look for in a probiotic supplement, plus her favorite probiotic on the market right now.
- Best for gut health: mindbodygreen probiotic+
- Best for immune health: Metagenics UltraFlora® Immune Booster
- Best for mood: Garden of Life Probiotics Mood+
- Best for energy: Nature MD RevBiotics™
- Best for oral health: NOW OralBiotic® Lozenges
- Best for vaginal health/feminine care: BiomeMD® for Women
- Best prenatal probiotic: MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Probiotic + Prebiotic
- Best during perimenopause: MenoLabs MenoFit
- Best on a budget: Solgar Probi
- Best synbiotic bundle: mindbodygreen gut health bundle+
- Best powder: Designs for Health Probiotic Synergy™ Powder
- Best for kids: Klaire Labs Ther-biotic® Children's Chewable
- Best for teens: Avira Organics Probiotics – Teens Mood Support
- Best for baby: Culturelle Baby Calm and Comfort Probiotics
What to look for in a probiotic supplement
Here, Ferira shares her tried-and-true factors to consider when seeking an A+ probiotic supplement:
When it comes to your probiotic, the individual strains and their collective totality are what it's all about. Without the parts, there is no whole. A premium probiotic will be formulated in a way that considers the clinical science backing each strain, (i.e., which strain, at what dose, does the research recommend for each health support area?).
Turn over your probiotic and read the Supplement Facts panel. Do you see three pieces of info per probiotic: genus, strain, and species? Many products will only list the first two (genus and species). Ferira explains that listing only a strain without its species is like saying you live on planet Earth without mentioning which country or state you live in. That information is essential to ensure the probiotic is meeting your specific needs and goals.
Dose & clinical evidence
Although there are no recommended daily values for probiotics, supplements should include doses of each strain based on the published scientific evidence from clinical studies. For example, since clinical research has shown that a dose of 1.5 billion CFU of the strain Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 supports digestion and regularity, while reducing gas (translation: less bloat). So a gut health probiotic that features B. lactis HN019 should include at least 1.5 billion CFU, the clinically efficacious dose.*
Unfortunately, companies will often cut costs by including lower doses. This practice, called dusting, is common in the probiotic supplement world, and something to watch out for.
Another way certain products will skirt sharing the doses of each strain is by using "proprietary blends" with a total CFU count. If that's the case, we recommend you ask the company how many CFU of each strain are present in that blend and what studies back each strain.
We recommend probiotics from reputable brands that care about the quality of their supplements, from raw materials to the finished product. Whether or not a probiotic is shelf-stable or requires refrigeration is not a matter of quality. However, it is important to follow those usage recommendations, as those conditions indicate how the probiotic is designed to be utilized and how it will remain stable over time.
We look for supplements with a short list of "others." In other words, less unnecessary or synthetic fillers, dyes, flavors, sweeteners, etc. If the probiotic features other complementary active ingredients (e.g., prebiotic fiber or herbal extracts), they should be science-backed and also include effective levels.
Vegan capsules are some of the cleanest delivery formats for a probiotic, while gummies will have the longest list of ingredients (plus sugar).
What to avoid:
- Missing strain(s): No strain listed on label or strains with limited scientific support.
- Dusting: Clinically irrelevant levels of probiotic strains.
- Gummies: While gummies can be useful for delivering certain types of vitamins, minerals, and other actives, probiotics are much more efficiently and cleanly consumed (i.e., live strains in potent CFU doses) in capsules, softgels, tablets, and powders.
- Less-than-savory "others": Processed ingredients, artificial sweeteners, synthetic flavors and colors.
- Iffy claims: Irresponsible or bogus claims not rooted in science (again, per probiotic strain).
Best probiotics of 2022
With these criteria in mind, here are the best science-backed probiotic supplements on the market right now, vetted by Ferira.
At a glance:
Best for gut health: mindbodygreen probiotic+
At mindbodygreen, we have very particular criteria when it comes to high-quality supplements—so when we developed our own probiotic, we made sure it checked all the boxes. mindbodygreen probiotic+ features a unique combination of four clinically tested strains, which help ease bloating, aid digestion, and holistically support your gut microbiome.*
probiotic+, mindbodygreen ($69/month)
Best for immune health: Metagenics UltraFlora® Immune Booster
Best for mood: Garden of Life Probiotics Mood+
Yes, your gut health can have an influence on your mood, too. This supplement specifically contains clinically studied L. helveticus R0052 and B. longum R0175, demonstrated to support emotional well-being. What's more, it contains adaptogenic ashwagandha, which aids with stress management.*
Probiotics Mood+, Garden of Life ($47)
Best for energy: Nature MD RevBiotics™
Featuring a blend of probiotics, herbal prebiotics, and potent botanicals, this formula is designed to help support your energy levels and mental clarity throughout the day.*
RevBiotics™, Nature MD ($135/3 boxes)
Best for oral health: NOW OralBiotic® Lozenges
Best for vaginal health: BiomeMD® for Women
Best prenatal probiotic: MegaFood Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Probiotic + Prebiotic
Prenatal supplements are so helpful for nourishing mom and baby—and we love that this option features both probiotics and prebiotics. It contains an array of strains including Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, which studies suggest may help support baby's developing immune system, particularly during the last trimester & early breastfeeding.*
Baby & Me 2 Prenatal Probiotic + Prebiotic, MegaFood ($33)
Best during perimenopause: MenoLabs MenoFit
Another important stage of life to consider, women in perimenopause and menopause could benefit from a targeted probiotic supplement. This one in particular has a blend of 28 ingredients—probiotics, herbal botanicals (astaxanthin), vitamins (C, D3, K2, riboflavin, B6, folate, B12), and minerals. Consider this a probiotic plus multi-nutrient complex with ingredients to support what's happening in the body during this time.*
MenoFit, MenoLabs ($50)
Best on a budget: Solgar Probi® 30
For a slightly lower price point, this probiotic supplement is a solid choice. Just note that it's a single-strain option, albeit at a potent dose, featuring Lactobacillus plantarum 299v.
Probi® 30, Solgar ($31)
Best synbiotic bundle: mindbodygreen gut health bundle+
In order to support a healthy gut microbiome, it's important to include both probiotics and prebiotics (which feed the good probiotic bacteria) in your diet and lifestyle. One fantastic way to check both boxes? The mindbodygreen gut health bundle+, which includes probiotic+ along with our organic veggies+ greens powder. In addition to a wide array of powerhouse organic fruits and veggies, this superfood powder contains prebiotic fiber from inulin and flax.*
gut health bundle+, mindbodygreen ($118/month)
Best powder: Designs for Health Probiotic Synergy™ Powder
Best for teens: Avira Organics Probiotics – Teens' Mood Support
Support your teenager's overall health and well-being with this probiotic supplement, specifically designed to help manage mood. It contains a strategic blend of probiotics and prebiotics, along with organic herbs.*
Probiotics – Teens' Mood Support, Avira Organics ($22)
Best for kids: Klaire Labs Ther-biotic® Children's Chewable
Nourish your kiddos' gut with these easy-to-take chewables. They contain eight different Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species (although we'd really like to know the strain info too), which research suggests may help support gastrointestinal health and immune function in children.*
Ther-biotic® Children's Chewable, Klaire Labs ($50)
Best for baby: Culturelle Baby Calm and Comfort Probiotics
Baby's gut health is important, too! These soothing chamomile drops contain the specific probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to help support your infant's digestive health.*
Baby Calm and Comfort Probiotics, Culturelle ($26)
Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen. Kristine is a New York University graduate with a degree in journalism and psychology, and also a NASM-certified personal trainer. She has spent her editorial career focused on health and well-being, and formerly worked for Women’s Health and Health. Her byline has also appeared in Men’s Health, Greatist, Refinery29, HGTV, and more. In her current role she oversees, edits, and writes for the health, food, and movement sections of mindbodygreen.