5 Top Rated Probiotics That Will do Your Gut a Huge Favor

Today we’re taking a closer look at 5 top rated probiotics that are shelf stable and the important role they play in the gut, plus things that can contribute to deficiencies, and how to choose a supplement that is right for you.

5 Top Rated ProbioticsWe are finally starting to understand just how much of an important role the gut plays in overall health. The intestinal tract needs a healthy balance of good bacteria to function well and stay in shape.

Most people are in need of more of this type of bacteria and one way to get these healthy cultures in our bellies is by consuming live fermented foods and beverages, and whole fruits and vegetables – foods rich in prebiotics, which probiotics love and feed on. Another way is by supplementing with a probiotic.

Why are Probiotics so Important?

Most people can benefit from probiotics to protect and help replace the good bacteria in our guts that are being killed off by processed foods, elevated stress levels, chlorinated and fluoridated tap water, and soil depletion, and are difficult for our bodies to replace fast enough. Also infants born by C-section and fed formula only don’t get this beneficial bacteria and have to play “catch up” later.

A slew of bad bacteria can cause inflammation of the intestinal wall and even destroy it. It can also enter the bloodstream and trigger health issues by wreaking havoc on your immune system triggering things like irregularity or constipation, brain fogginess or depression, skin problems, bad breath, and autoimmune disease.

Probiotics support digestive health including healthy absorption of nutrients, reducing gas and bloating, and supporting regularity, and also support healthy immune system function, and clear skin. See more benefits here.

What Can Contribute to Depletion of Probiotics?

Whether good or bad, bacteria needs to be fed in order to flourish. In addition to the absence of probiotics in our soil, there are some things that can rob your intestinal tract of good bacteria and allow bad bacteria to increase including:

  • Excessive sugar consumption
  • Too many grains and gluten
  • Exposure to pesticides and toxins
  • GMO foods
  • Tap water, especially fluoridated and chlorinated
  • Prescription antibiotics, certain over-the-counter pain killers, and heartburn medication
  • Stress

By eliminating things that feed bad bacteria and increasing consumption of probiotic-rich foods, including live fermented foods and beverages, we can provide an environment for the good guys to thrive. A high-quality probiotic supplement can also do the trick.

How Can I Choose a High-Quality Shelf Stable Probiotic?

Choosing a high-quality probiotic can get confusing especially when there are different types of strains that target different issues. Some are formulated for everyday and maintenance use and others for intensive use. Generally, a safe bet is a product with a wide range of strains for broader coverage.

Below, the Fab 5 highlights top rated probiotic supplements that are shelf stable and have an ideal combination of bacteria strains for a variety of health benefits. But first, there is reliable criteria to consider when searching for a probiotic.

1. Multi-Strain Broad Spectrum Formula

According to experts, the gastrointestinal tract of a typical person contains hundreds of species of bacteria, and since this microbiota or flora is so varied, it’s a good idea to look for a multi-strain broad-spectrum probiotic to cover the diverse environment found in the gut.

Also check to make sure the species are listed on the label. And, soil-based organisms and Saccharomyces boulardii are strains that are of great benefit since they can survive the toughest digestive environments, undeterred by stomach and bile acids.

2. A High Number of Live Organisms

Since some die-off occurs between the time of manufacture and the time probiotics makes it to you, so a supplement with a higher count of live organisms or cultures stands a better chance of being effective by the time it hits your intestines. A probiotic with 1 billion organisms at the very least, is a good count for general use. Many products list these counts as CFUs (colony forming units).

Top Rated Probiotics-FloraOn the flip side, a really high count is best reserved for intensive use, for instance when your body has been wiped out of good bacteria like during a bad infection, or a severely compromised immune system, or your body doesn’t naturally produce them.

3. Viability of Strains

The viability or survivability of strains in the gut is an important one, especially when looking for a shelf stable probiotic.

There are a couple factors to consider here. You want as many organisms to be intact after transport from the manufacturer to the time you get your hands on them and they should be able to get to where they need to go to work their magic – the intestines.

Another factor to consider is that probiotics can spend a few hours in the stomach before making their way to the intestines, so it’s important that they are able to withstand the harsh environment of acids in the stomach. Strains such as Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus coagulans, and Bifidobacteria are hardy strains that can make it to the intestines.

Soil-based organisms can provide high viability in various temperatures, and things like blister packs, delayed-release caspsules, beads and pearls keep strains more intact and offer protection against stomach acids. Watch out for enteric coatings that use hydroxypropylmethycellulose (HPMCP) which is phthalate or plastic, and has been banned for use in other countries but not in the U.S.

4. Free of Binders, Fillers, and Synthetic Coating

High-quality probiotic supplements will be free of binders and fillers like magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide and free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and synthetic coatings.

And if you have allergies or sensitivities to dairy make sure it says dairy-free on the label since many probiotic supplements contain it. Many formulas are gluten-free but be sure to check the label as well.

Tips to Maximize Potency and Absorption

The recommended use on many probiotic labels is to take them with food, but some will say with or without food. Although, consuming food gets the gastric juices flowing to focus on digestion so my thought is that since probiotics need to be able to withstand stomach acids to get to the intestines, they are best taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before a meal or at least an hour and a half after.

Earlier I mentioned that consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and incorporating fermented foods and beverages into your diet gives your body those prebiotics that probiotics love so much, which can help to maximize absorption.

Lastly, one of the nice things about shelf stable probiotics is that refrigeration isn’t required, making them nice for forgetful folks, and also very handy for people who travel. However, if you can, it’s not a bad idea to store them in the fridge anyway, as it can help to keep culture counts hearty. Here are my top 5 probiotics…


Fab 5 Shelf Stable Probiotic Supplements


Garden of Life Primal Defense Ultra

Top Rated Probiotics-Garden of Life Primal Defense UltraHighlights

  • 15 billion cultures in 3 capsules
  • 13 species of probiotics
  • Contains Homeostatic Soil Organisms (HSOs)
  • Includes Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus subtilis strains which can survive the toughest digestive environments, undeterred by stomach and bile acids
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free
  • Shelf-stable, no refrigeration required

Nutrition Now PB8

Top Rated Probiotics-Nutrition-Now-PB8Highlights

  • 14 billion cultures in 2 capsules
  • 8 species of probiotics
  • Vegetarian, dairy, soy, and gluten-free
  • Shelf-stable, no refrigeration required

Garden of Life Probiotic Women’s Once Daily OR Men’s Once Daily

Top Rated Probiotics-Garden of Life Women's ProbioticsHighlights

  • 50 billion cultures per capsule
  • 16 (women) and 15 (men) species of probiotics
  • Formulated by David Perlmutter an expert in the human microbiome
  • Women’s and Men’s specific formulas
  • Free of dairy, gluten, soy, and vegetarian
  • Shelf-stable, no refrigeration required

Renew Life Everyday Ultimate Flora

Top Rated Probiotics-Renew Life Ultimate FloraHighlights 

  • 15 billion cultures per capsule
  • 10 species of probiotics
  • Delayed release capsules for maximum delivery to the intestine
  • Vegetarian, free of GMOs, wheat, gluten, soy, and dairy
  • Shelf stable, no refrigeration required

Enzymatic Therapy Probiotic Pearls Max Potency

Top Rated Probiotics-Enzymatic Therapy Probiotic PearlsHighlights

  • 5 billion cultures per capsule
  • 4 species of probiotics
  • Individually blister sealed to improve viability of strains
  • Triple layer soft gel for maximum delivery to the intestine
  • Small round easy to swallow “pearls”
  • Gluten-free
  • Shelf stable, no refrigeration required

Here’s to a happy belly =) I hope you found these probiotic highlights helpful! Leave your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

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