We updated this article in April 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive research done by our team.
Your gut plays host to a vibrant community of microorganisms that are essential to your health. These bacteria play a key role in digestion,immune system regulation, and the treatment of conditions like allergies and gum disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). And we’ve got good news: You may be able to boost your gut microbiome with the best probiotic supplements.
Whether you’re dealing with GI issues or just finished taking antibiotics, you’ve probably thought about adding probiotics to your diet. And even if you try to get your fill by eating yogurt or kimchi, you can still reap the benefits of the supplements.
Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure diseases. Be cautious about taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, be careful about giving supplements to a child, unless recommended by their healthcare provider.
What are probiotics?
Probiotic bacteria work to keep the community of microorganisms in your gut—and throughout the rest of your body—in a healthy, balanced state. We get them primarily from eating fiber-rich foods, which promote the growth of friendly bacteria, as well as from fermented foods like kefir, tempeh, and sauerkraut. Supplements can also deliver them in concentrated form. As with other dietary supplements, probiotics don’t need to be tested or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before hitting shelves.
“The last several years have seen an explosion of research on the importance of the microbiome and the many health benefits associated with a balanced one. Probiotic supplements offer a way to help maintain this balance,” says Roshini Rajapaksa, M.D., a gastroenterologist with NYU Langone Health. They might serve as a sort of insurance supporting your overall health, particularly if you don’t eat a lot of fiber or fermented foods.
But you should manage your expectations: More research is necessary to make a call on probiotics for weight loss, and the NIH hasn’t found conclusive evidence that they help conditions like asthma, acne, or urinary tract infections. “The research is evolving, so looking to probiotics as a ‘cure’ for a disease is probably premature,” Dr. Rajapaksa says. “If you’re looking to treat a medical condition it’s best to use probiotics under the guidance of your doctor.”
How we chose the best probiotics
We consulted Dr. Rajapaksa, Frances Largeman-Roth, R.D.N., a New York City-based nutrition expert, as well as research studies and customer reviews to narrow down the best probiotics you can buy online.
Our top probiotics
- Best Subscription: nurish by Nature Made Multi Strain Probiotics
- Best Overall: Align Probiotic 24/7 Digestive Support
- Best Value: NewRhythm 20 Strain Probiotics
- Best for Skin Health: Tula Daily Dose Advanced Daily Probiotic & Skin Health Complex
- Best for Immunity: Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement
- One Dose Per Day
- 100% Vegetarian
- No Color Added
- Price Adds Up
This subscription-based supplement offers 12 Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria probiotic strains shown to support healthy gut flora. Best of all? The daily dose is just one capsule. “I like ones that you just need to take once per day,” says Largeman-Roth, who takes these probiotics herself. “It’s too much to expect people to take a supplement several times a day.”
- #1 Doctor and Gastroenterologist Recommended
- Some Users Noticed no Gut Difference
This ever-popular probiotic supplement is a favorite among gastroenterologists thanks to strains like Bifidobacterium 35624, which supports healthy digestion and can help with occasional cramping, bloating, and gas. It’s a well-studied probiotic for gut health, Dr. Rajapaksa says, and Amazon reviewers are big fans. “I no longer bloat, and my bathroom problems totally disappeared,” one raves.
- Targeted Release Technology
- Some Users Noticed No Gut Differences
With a unit price of just about a quarter per capsule, NewRhythm’s top-rated probiotic is one of the most affordable options on the market. But the brand doesn’t compromise on quality; each dose delivers 50 Billion CFU of 20 shelf-stable Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains. “This product really changed my life,” explains one reviewer who experienced chronic diarrhea. “I don’t normally believe in a magic pill for ailments, but this has been just that for me.”
- Can Take on an Empty Stomach
- Refrigeration Required After Opening
This option has 10 strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which have well-documented benefits. One is Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a bacteria that research suggests can be beneficial for diarrhea, mood support, and even weight loss. And unlike some probiotics, you can take it on an empty stomach. “I [live with] IBS/C and this product is truly a godsend,” one Amazon reviewer reports.
- Offers Immune, Digestive, and Vaginal Support
- Soy-Free and Vegetarian
- Users Dislike the Plastic Packaging
This once-daily, no-refrigeration-needed probiotic packs in 16 strains of friendly bacteria to support good digestion, boost your immune health, and support a healthy environment for vaginal flora—the total package for women. Better yet, it’s among the most popular (and highest-rated) probiotic supplements on Amazon. One reviewer even credits it with helping her resolve her lingering bacterial vaginosis.
“I struggled with recurring yeast infections, odor, bacteria, and recurring UTIs. Regardless of my good hygiene habits, I struggled everyday for the past 3 years,” one shopper writes. “I have been using this product for over a week (ONLY A WEEK!) and it has the quickest and the most effective results.”
- High Potency
- No Binders or Fillers
- Refrigeration Required
Men, meanwhile, can benefit from another Garden of Life probiotic supplement; this one promotes good digestion, ideal immunity, and proper bowel movements with 85 billion CFU of 31 probiotic strains. Just be sure to refrigerate them when they arrive. “I am happy with the results so far,” one Amazon reviewer writes. “I felt super charged with energy and felt in a great mood.”
- Gluten, Dairy, and Soy-Free
- Users Say Results Vary
As we age, the amount of Bifidobacterium species in our gut decreases, per a 2017 study—but this supplement is designed to fight back. Formulated with 30 billion CFU of Bifidobacteria strains (plus a healthy dose of key Lactobacilli strains, too), it’s especially helpful for older adults. “My body is stronger, I am more focused on things I do during the day, and I am in a better mood,” one reviewer reports.
- 100 Capsules
- Not Antibiotic-Resistant
- Expire Semi-Quickly
Another favorite of Dr. Rajapaksa’s, this supplement contains a unique probiotic blend that includes Saccharomyces boulardii to balance digestion and support immune health. Bonus: They don’t need to be refrigerated. And although the price tag seems high, the package contains 100 supplements, meaning it’s actually a steal. “I feel like the old me!” one Amazon reviewer raves. “No more bloat, no more GI issues, digestion is exactly how it was before I got sick.”
- Provides Boost of Antioxidants
The combo of Lactobacillus strains, Bifidobacterium strains, vitamin C, and ceramides in this probiotic supplement work to balance your gut—and help your skin look its best. “They’re clinically proven to help improve skin smoothness, firmness, and hydration,” says Dr. Rajapaksa, who formulated the probiotics herself. “Now, starting my fourth month of these supplements, I can definitely recommend them to anyone,” one Amazon reviewer writes.
- Contains Adaptogenic Herbs
- Two Daily Doses Recommended
With 50 billion CFU of Saccharomyces bouldardii and three strains of Bacillus microorganisms, this probiotic’s ingredients list stands out from the competition. Another big bonus is its fermented botanical blend, which includes black pepper, ginger root, and turmeric root to further support digestion. “My entire digestion works better taking these,” says one Amazon reviewer who used these supplements to treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
Probiotic supplements can “restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut” after taking antibiotics, says Largeman-Roth. Plus, a growing body of evidence suggests they play a role in improving digestion, promoting immune function, optimizing healthy blood sugar, and even fighting disorders like depression.
Seek out the right bacteria. General-use supplements should contain well-researched strains; Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii have been studied the most, Dr. Rajapaksa says. If you’re trying to address a specific health concern, seek out a probiotic that’s been studied for that issue. Ask your doctor about strains that have been shown to be particularly helpful. Plus, be sure you’re getting enough: There’s no official recommendation for how many CFUs, or colony-forming units, you need, but most supplements contain between five and 10 billion per dose.
Look for a few key extras. A good supplement has time-release technology and delivers a dose of prebiotics—fibers that act as food for probiotic bacteria. “The time-release technology ensures the probiotic reaches your intestine and the prebiotic component aids in absorption,” says Dr. Rajapaksa. Another important extra is third-party certification; seek out a seal of approval from groups like Consumer Lab, NSF International, or the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), which ensures the product has been tested for quality, purity, potency, and ingredients.
Make sure it’s been stored correctly. A supplement doesn’t necessarily have to be refrigerated in order to be legit. “If the product was freeze-fried, it’s heat stable and can be stored at room temperature,” Largeman-Roth says. But if you’re buying a probiotic that’s labeled as heat-dried, it definitely needs to be kept cold. “Make sure that it was stored properly at the store,” she notes. Finally, take a look at the use-by date to confirm that you’ll be able to use up the bottle before it expires.Now that you’re an expert on the best probiotic supplements, here are a few that come recommended by experts and reviewers alike.