If you're fed up with feeling backed up, adding a daily probiotic to your routine might be just what you need to feel more regular. While probiotics are known for promoting gut health, some are better than others at
easing digestive troubles specifically. The best probiotics for constipation contain bacteria strains found to be particularly good at keeping things moving through your digestive tract. Bustle reached out to certified dietician/nutritionist Ilyse Schapiro to learn more about which strains are most effective for constipation relief. The Expert
Registered dietitian and certified dietician/nutritionist
Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder of eponymously named Ilyse Schapiro Nutrition, with offices in Westchester County, New York and Greenwich, Connecticut. Schaprio earned a Master’s of Science in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University. She is the co-author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel? And 99 Other Answers to Your Everyday Diet and Nutrition Questions to Help You Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Live Healthy. What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Probiotics For Constipation
When it comes to alleviating constipation, Schapiro says to look specifically for these bacteria strains:
Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Saccharomyces boulardii. And WebMd reported that those same strains can help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that often involves a mix of constipation and diarrhea.
That said, finding a probiotic with all five of those strains can sometimes be a challenge. However, there’s one bacteria strain in particular —
, according to a study published in Bifidobacterium lactis — that was found to be the most effective at increasing stool frequency The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. So, when shopping for a probiotic to make you feel more regular, make sure that it includes a Bifidobacterium lactis strain at the very least, ideally with the other strains mentioned above too.
It's also worth noting that adding a
prebiotic to your routine will help make your probiotic even more effective. That's why several of the picks below include a probiotic/prebiotic blend.
"For constipation, it's also a good idea to make sure you are consuming enough fiber," adds Schapiro. With that in mind, I also included a soluble fiber powder in this roundup so that you can tackle your constipation completely.
1 The Overall Best Probiotic For Constipation Physician's Choice 60 Billion Probiotic supplement is something of a probiotic rockstar. It contains 10 bacteria strains, including several that are key for treating constipation: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium lactis. The doctor-approved, gluten-free formula comes in shelf-stable packaging, so you don't have to worry about refrigeration, and the acid-resistant capsules feature a delayed-release for maximum absorption. Plus, the potent formula includes an organic prebiotic fiber, made from organic Jerusalem artichoke root, acacia Senegal, and chicory root, to further support digestive health. Not surprisingly, it’s amassed a cult following on Amazon, with more than 129,000 ratings (and counting!) One reviewer wrote: "My husband and I recently started taking Physician's CHOICE Probiotics 60 Billion CFU every morning, and we are really happy with the results. Not only do we feel more regular and comfortable going to the bathroom, but our stomachs feel much better than before. It's amazing how much of a difference a good probiotic can make.” 2 The Runner Up: An Easy-To-Swallow Prebiotic & Probiotic Supplement
Earth’s Pearl Probiotic & Prebiotic supplement has amassed a loyal fanbase for its ability to ease constipation issues. At first glance, the price might seem similar to our #1 pick on this list, but with Earth's Pearls, you get twice as many capsules in one bottle — all for less than $24.
In addition to having the key bacteria strains of
Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium infantis, and Bifidobacterium lactis, the 4-billion CFU formula also includes a fiber-infused prebiotic that feeds the healthy bacteria already in the digestive system. These gluten-free, easy-to-swallow pearls even have a time-released formula for all-day relief. (And if you’re experiencing digestive issues after one pearl, you can take up to three pearls a day.) One reviewer wrote: "Since I have started taking these little gems, the constipation issues I have had for over two years have almost completely gone away. It took a couple of weeks to start working for me, but things are really “moving along“ now. I have tried other probiotics over the last few years, but none had the effect I was hoping for. In fact, some probiotics seemed to constipate me even more. So, you have to find the strains that work best for you. I found mine!” 3 A Probiotic Formulated With A Natural Laxative Jetson’s Feel Good Probiotics contain 10 billion CFU and seven probiotic strains including Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus to help relieve constipation symptoms. It’s also formulated with flaxseed, a fiber that works as a natural laxative. Furthermore, flaxseed also contains prebiotics to increase the effectiveness of the probiotics. Jetson’s Feel Good Probiotics are gluten- and dairy-free. One reviewer wrote: “I’ve been taking the Jetson Digest probiotic for a few weeks now and have really noticed a difference in how I feel throughout the day. Great product!” 4 An Affordable Probiotic With A Proven Ingredient
Boasting a 20 billion CFU formula that includes the all-important
Bifidobacterium lactis, as well as eight other strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus, this probiotic from NOW is a budget-friendly option that promises to deliver results. You get 60 gluten-free capsules in each shelf-stable bottle. In addition to promoting stool regularity, this formula is also clinically proven to deliver immune support for people over 50. One reviewer wrote: “I reluctantly bought NOW Clinical GI Probiotic, 50+ Formula. I almost gave up during the first 2 days: gas, bloating, burping. But after that short period, everything improved gradually and after 2 weeks, I can tell you that this product works, no doubt. I finally got a regular bowel movement. Btw, I only take one capsule in the morning. I have been constipated for more than 30 years! This is the only product that works for me.” 5 A 4-in-1 Probiotic For Comprehensive Digestive Relief
If you're dealing with more than a few of digestive woes,
Phillips' 4-in-1 Colon Health Daily Probiotic could be what you need to ease constipation, plus gas, bloating, and diarrhea. With 1.5 billion CFUs, the shelf-stable probiotic features a proprietary blend of Bifidobacterium Bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Lactobacillus Gasseri to replenish the good bacteria to restore gut health and regularity. It should be noted that these are different strains than what Schapiro recommends for constipation, but with a 4.6-star Amazon rating after more than 10,000 reviews, this probiotic has a track record of helping with multi-symptom digestive distress. Plus, you get 60 gluten-free capsules for under $30. One reviewer wrote: "This product is smooth and doesn't upset my stomach. I suffer from IBS and this is a great addition to my regiment that I take daily. No more constipation since I started taking.” 6 An Easy-To-Swallow, Shelf-Stable Probiotic
Because of their convenience,
Bio-Kult Advanced Probiotics are an excellent option for anyone who experiences traveler constipation. They are shelf-stable, meaning they don’t need to be refrigerated, and come in bite-sized capsules that are easy to swallow on the go. This probiotic contains four of the five strains recommended by Schapiro for relieving constipation, including Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus plantarum. One reviewer wrote: “Have tried some very pricy refrigerated probiotics without great results, but this one cut down on the belly bloat and promoted regularity when constipation was an issue. Keeping this in our rotated arsenal for helping heal the gut.” 7 A Probiotic With 13 Probiotic Strains
Bio Schwarts Extra Strength Probiotic contains 65 billion CFU and 13 strains of probiotics including Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus plantarum. As mentioned above, these specific strains can help alleviate constipation, while the other nine 9 strains are included to provide comprehensive digestive support. This probiotic also has a delayed release to help the strains of healthy bacteria survive in harsh stomach acid. One reviewer wrote: “I needed to start using a probiotic due to low dose ongoing antibiotic therapy. I think that it’s helping keep candida levels normal. It’s helping combat constipation I get from antibiotic use also. Thanks! I like that there are no fillers and the capsules are gelatin free” 8 A Splurge-Worthy Probiotic
Designs For Health ProbioMed probiotic comes with a higher price tag than other options on the list, but according to one reviewer, it’s a probiotic “worth every penny.” A closer look at the supplement label reveals that Bifidobacterium lactis is listed as the first strain with 17.8 billion CFU (colony forming unit), followed by Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus plantarum. Since these strains are considered some of the most effective at alieving constipation symptoms, this probiotic is certainly worth consideration. One reviewer wrote: “Have tried so many probiotics unsuccessfully. ProbioMed is one of my favorite probiotics that really works for me.” 9 Also Nice: An Organic Prebiotic Fiber Powder
Adding a soluble fiber powder to your routine is one way to increase your
stool frequency, and this USDA-certified organic fiber powder boasts three prebiotics in one to promote digestion and colon and gut health. The proprietary blend incudes inulin, acacia gum, and psyllium husk. Plus, unlike other fiber powders on the market, this soy- and gluten-free option contains no preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. Blend it into your favorite drink (even coffee!). One reviewer wrote: "I include the fiber every morning in my water. I’ve noticed feeling fuller longer and regular (healthier) bowel movements.” Studies referenced: Dimidi, E., Christodoulides, S., Fragkos, K. C., Scott, S. M., & Whelan, K. (2014, August 6). Effect of probiotics on functional constipation in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. OUP Academic. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/100/4/1075/4576460 Xu, J., Zhou, X., Chen, C. et al. (2012, March 9) Laxative effects of partially defatted flaxseed meal on normal and experimental constipated mice. BMC Complement Altern Med. Retrieved March 9, 2023, from https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-12-14 Expert: Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and certified dietician/nutritionist and founder of Ilyse Schapiro Nutrition.
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This article was originally published on
July 20, 2019