In order to clear up some common questions, Donese Worden, NMD, who specializes in alternative and traditional medicine, weighed in on the matter. "Probiotics can help leaky gut by assisting in the maintenance of normal mucosa (gut wall lining) function and also protecting the lining from injurious factors such as toxins, infections, and allergens," says Dr. Worden. "One of the important effects of probiotics is to strengthen the epithelial tight junctions. These junctions must be tight so substances don’t leak in or leak out inappropriately."
That said, not all probiotics are created equal — according to Dr. Worden, "As a general rule, a probiotic supplement should provide a minimum of 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units, i.e., viable/live cells), with adult doses typically ranging between 1 billion and 100 billion CFUs."
Quantity isn't all that matters, either. "Strain diversity is important and formulas usually offer 10 to 12 different strains of good bacteria in every capsule," says Dr. Worden. "Each strain offers a host of different benefits and this can help our health from various angles. Research is showing us that even with the same CFU number and the same strains, the stability of the product and the lack of allergens and toxins must also be tested."
"Also, it’s important to keep in mind that different age groups require different strains and amounts," Dr. Worden says. "You would not give a toddler the same probiotic as an adult as they haven’t had enough time and exposure to accumulate the same bugs as an adult." The following probiotics are intended for adult use. An infant or child would need a probiotic specially tailored their needs.
Finally, Dr. Worden says, "As exciting as these new products are, don’t stop using the live culture foods ... The more diversity of bugs, the better." Using Dr. Worden's advice to narrow down the options, I've rounded up some of the best Amazon-available probiotics for leaky gut. However, please keep in mind that you should consult your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.