As research continues to support the importance of a healthy microbiome, people are rethinking sterilized diets and instead opting for foods and supplements, rich in beneficial bacteria. The best probiotic brands for leaky gut is a regularly searched topic — especially since the microbiome's inner workings are still largely a mystery. In short, it's not always easy to know how to find the best supplements.
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.
1. The Overall Best Probiotics For Leaky Gut
"Most higher quality probiotics start with 50 billion [CFUs] per dose," says Dr. Worden, and eight to 16 different strains "can offer you a wide range of benefits." Physician's Choice probiotics have 60 billion CFUs per capsule and 10 different probiotic strains — Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. According to Dr. Worden, these are the two most commonly used to treat leaky gut.
This probiotic is doctor-formulated, careful to avoid common digestive irritants, and shelf-stable. Made in the United States in an FDA-registered facility, this probiotic skips GMOs, binders, gluten, soy, shellfish, peanuts, and preservatives, and instead uses a prebiotic fiber blend that helps to feed the good bacteria. Plus, these capsules made from vegetables and is acid resistant to be sure that the probiotics get to where they need to go.
Finally, with a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, this pick is reasonably priced for a month's supply and backed by thousands of reviews.
2. The Best Affordable Probiotic
BioSchwartz probiotics offer 40 billion CFUs and four different strains. While that's slightly below the recommended amount, this is a great pick for those looking to try out a probiotic at an affordable price. A 60-capsule bottle costs just $19, which is about half the price of our first pick. Plus, the non-refrigerated formula is shelf-stable, free of dairy and gluten, and third-party-tested to ensure quality. With MAKtrek technology your strains are sure to survive stomach acid in order to reach the small intestine to improve gut health and even reach the large intestine.
As a number-one bestseller, over 5,000 reviewers have given it a 4.6-star rating.
3. The Best Delayed-Release Probiotics
Since a healthy microbiome stretches the entire length of your digestive system, delayed-release capsules are often beneficial in helping the healthy bacteria to reach the later stages. "The capsule, whether DR (delayed-release) or enteric-coated, must provide protection against the harsh effects of the stomach environment," says Dr. Worden. "Some ingredients need to be broken down by our stomach acid and [other] such probiotics need to survive past that point, so they are absorbed in the appropriate area of the gut (the intestines)."
LiveWell Labs Nutrition probiotics contain 45 billion CFUs and 11 probiotic strains per capsule — but they also prioritize the survival of the bacteria in the body. The delayed-release capsule keeps them alive long-term while the prebiotic fiber keeps them nourished. Vegan as well as dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free, these probiotic capsules are made in the United States and shelf-stable.
4. The Best Probiotics For Those With Food Sensitivities
The Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic complete probiotic is the original hypoallergenic probiotic, meaning that its vegetarian, hypoallergenic capsule skips all common allergens like gluten, soy, fish, peanuts, casein, eggs, and more while still protecting your probiotic against stomach acid. It's also dairy-, GMO-, and additive-free, ensured for quality using independent third-party testing by the batch. However, this probiotic does require refrigeration in order to preserve its 25 billion CFUs and 12 live species, so it ships complete with an ice pack.
To ensure a product is good for someone with food sensitivities, "You should ask for a Certificate of Analysis on any product you take on a daily basis." Luckily, this probiotic comes with a certificate analysis. Dr. Worden goes on to say, "This shows that testing for allergens, molds, heavy metals, etc. was completed."
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