[Review] The Most Effective Probiotic Supplements?

We’ll show you what to look for and reveal the 3 biggest mistakes shoppers make when choosing a probiotic.

Probiotics have been all over the news lately, especially now that both researchers and celebrity doctors alike are confirming the major connections our microbiome has to our overall health.

Despite its newfound popularity, many of us are still unclear about what exactly our microbiome is, why we need probiotics to help us keep it balanced, or which supplements are best to take.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled years of research about the microbiome and its effect on our health. This quick guide will help you discover everything you need to know to make the most informed decision about your probiotic supplement needs.

Why Is Our Microbiome Important, Anyway?

Right now, 90% of the cells in your body are microbial. These microbes –– a general term for bacteria, archaea, protists, and other molecular organisms –– are present throughout the body.

The human microbiome is the collection of all of these microbes. This means –– you guessed it –– 90% of your body is actually your microbiome. Keeping it balanced can have huge benefits not only for your digestion, but your brain, skin, immune system, and a host of other functions.

In fact, researchers are only scratching the surface of the potential of probiotic supplements, and why they’re essential for our overall wellbeing.

Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize that, even though our digestion feels normal, we may still need a quality probiotic supplement to keep us healthy.

Our modern western society has adopted unhealthy activities and lifestyles that affect our microbes in a variety of ways. Most are difficult –– if not impossible –– to avoid, but it’s critical to spread awareness if we want to protect our microbiome.


Probiotic Supplements

If any of these apply to you, it may be time to look for a high quality probiotic. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start, and many of our Smarter Shoppers reported regretting their first probiotic purchase. With this in mind, we included a section to help you skip their mistakes:

What Not To Do When Buying A Probiotic

Forget The Research

Many shoppers believe that it doesn’t matter which probiotic they choose. This is not the case. Many supplements contain ineffective and potentially harmful additives, such as artificial fillers and colors. Binders, including magnesium stearate, chromium, gelatin, and silicon dioxide, are other infamous additives to avoid.

Prioritize Price Over Quality

We found that many lower-priced and generic probiotic supplements only contain one strain, and even worse, don’t list substrains. Many of these companies also offer confusing guarantees that seem like a good deal at the time, but ultimately only hurt your wallet. Try to find a probiotic with the qualities listed below, even if that means they cost a little more than your local grocery store’s generic brand.

What You Should Look For In A Good Probiotic

Based on our research and feedback from our Smarter Shoppers, these are the things to look for in an exceptional probiotic supplement:

Formulated By A Doctor

It takes specific expertise to form an effective probiotic formulation. More is not necessarily better. The exact combination of strain type, quantity and prebiotics determines the product’s quality. Look for real doctors specializing in gut health backing the product.

High CFU Count

Since our microbiome is composed of about 100-trillion good and bad bacteria, a high number of CFUs will have greater impact on the growth of beneficial bacteria within your gut flora. Look for a formula with a minimum of 40 billion CFUs

Multiple Strains

Taking a probiotic with a variety of good bacteria strains can help balance your microbiome. Unfortunately, most probiotic supplements only provide one type of strain.  That’s why it’s crucial to find probiotics that use a comprehensive approach to promoting balance in your gut bacteria.

Try to find a supplement with at least 9 individual strains.

Focusing on the qualities above is a good start, but to find the best probiotics on the market, we suggest adding these little-known secrets to your research regimen.

The 3 Secrets of A High Quality Probiotic

It Lists its Substrains

The substrains listed next to each strain indicates that a specific probiotic strain has undergone clinical studies. Many probiotic formulations do not list their specific substrains. This is a huge red flag that suggests they may be using generic (and cheaper) substrains that have not been clinically studied.

It Contains Prebiotics

The latest research shows using fiber-based prebiotics (such as NutraFlora Fiber) will help the probiotics populate and flourish in your gut. This will significantly increase the overall effectiveness of the probiotic.

It Doesn’t Require Refrigeration

Refrigerated products can be damaged during shipping. Another note: you’re not always going to have access to a refrigerator, so we suggest choosing a probiotic that is well-formulated to withstand room temperature and does not require being refrigerated during periods of non-use.

We’ve compiled a list of what we’ve found to be the top five products in this category, on the market today.


  • Contains 51 billion live cultures in each capsule
  • 11 diverse strains
  • Endorsed by an MD 
  • Each capsule is acid-resistant
  • 100% Vegan
  • NutraFlora Prebiotic Fiber is included
  • Only one capsule per day is needed
  • Has no synthetic fillers or binders
  • Each substrain is listed and has been clinically studied.


  • Due to popularity, sometimes it’s on backorder/sold out
The Bottom Line

It is one of the best formulas on the market, due to its 51 billion live cultures, 11 robust and clinically studied strains, NutraFlora prebiotic fiber, vegan capsule composition, and no synthetic fillers or additives.

This was the only product we could find that has been endorsed by an MD, specifically a Gastroenterologist (gut and digestive health physician). It was also the only one that listed each of its clinically studied substrains. Our Smarter Shoppers absolutely loved this probiotic blend.



  • Provides 45 billion live cultures
  • 11 clinically proven strains
  • No fillers or additives
  • 365-day return policy
  • NutraFlora Prebiotic Fiber included
  • Dairy and gluten free, vegetable capsules


  • Not endorsed by an MD
The Bottom Line

LiveWell Nutrition came in at a respectable #2 on our list, with a potent 45 billion CFUs and 11 strains.

Pro45 offers vegetarian delayed release capsules and pure ingredients. We confirmed that there are no unhealthy fillers or additives. We also checked its 365-day return policy and were impressed by how easy and straightforward it was. Our Smarter Shoppers gave this product high marks in the categories of customer service, returns, and overall effectiveness.

Unfortunately, it’s not endorsed by an MD, but easy to order through their Amazon store. Though the reviews were stellar and ingredients are pure, the lack of medical endorsement led this product to come in a close second place on our top picks.

–> Learn more and buy products HERE

critical care 50 billion


  • Provides 50 billion organisms per serving
  • Dairy and gluten-free, vegetable capsules


  • Reports of less capsules in bottle than on label
  • No money-back guarantee
  • Refrigeration recommended for best quality and efficacy
The Bottom Line

Some Smarter Shoppers stated that the storage guidelines of this product was inconvenient. Although the product contains over 50 billion live cultures, many reviewers believed the product lost its potency due to poor refrigeration by delivery.

–> Learn more and buy products HERE



  • Can be found in retail stores
  • Dairy and gluten-free, vegetable capsules


  • Contains unhealthy synthetic fillers
  • Only offers 10 billion CFUs per serving
  • Contains unhealthy, synthetic fillers
  • Only contains one probiotic strain, Lactobacillus GG
The Bottom Line

This product only offers one probiotic strain, Lactobacillus GG. In addition, this product only contains 10 billion live cultures. Smarter Shoppers noticed fairly short expiration dates. This product contains undesirable fillers and added colors such as gelatin, sucrose, maltodextrin, magnesium stearate, and titanium dioxide.

–> Learn more and buy products HERE



  • Can be found in retail stores
  • Is a very well-known brand name*
  • Comes in two package sizes: 30 and 45


  • Only offers 1.5 billion live cultures per capsule
  • Only includes 2 strains
  • Includes fillers such as magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide
  • Does not contain prebiotics
The Bottom Line

TruBiotics is a very popular brand overall since they have the popular One-A-Day vitamins. However, 1.5 billion live cultures per serving is concerning as a limited provided quantity, and nowhere near the most live cultures we’ve seen offered among the best brands of probiotic products.* The additives of magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide are also unwanted fillers that do more harm than good.

–> Learn more and buy products HERE


  1. “How Alcohol Affects The Gut Microbiome.” Dr. Edward Group.  08/09/2016. The Global Healing Center.http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/how-alcohol-affects-the-gut-microbiome/
  2. “17 Ways to Protect Your Microbiome and Keep Your Belly Blissful. Dr. Frank Lipman. 04/20/2015. The Be Well Blog. https://www.bewell.com/blog/17-ways-to-protect-your-microbiome/
  3. “How Pollution Affects the Gut Microbiome. Dr. Edward Group. 07/12/2015. The Global Healing Center. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/how-pollution-affects-the-gut-microbiome/
  4. “Lifestyle Habits That Damage Gut Bacteria.” Dr. David Williams. http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/lifestyle-habits-that-damage-gut-bacteria/
  5. Laberge, M. http://www.diet.com/g/digestive-diseases (accessed 18, August 2015).
  6. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb;67(2):161-7.
  7. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2013;358:273-89.
  8. Br J Nutr. 2013 May 28;109(10):1866-72.
  9. Nutr Hosp. 2011 Jan-Feb;26(1):228-35.
  10. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2013 Jan;22(1):46-51.
  11. Pediatr Int. 2012 Oct;54(5):682-7.
  12. Anaerobe. 2012 Aug;18(4):405-13.

Originally posted 2019-09-09 17:58:20.

About Amy

Yogi is a passionate advocate for liver health and an esteemed expert in the field of fatty liver disease. With years of experience working in clinical settings and a deep understanding of the complexities of liver-related conditions, she brings a compassionate and evidence-based approach to her work. Her expertise lies in providing practical advice, educational resources, and empowering individuals with the knowledge to take control of their liver health.

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