Top 5 Probiotics of 2018

Updated August 15, 2018

Within the past few years, the probiotics market has been EXPLODING. Doctors may have been prescribing them for a long time, but only recently have people started including these extraordinary supplements in their daily diets. Those who have started regularly taking probiotics have reported many improvements in their overall health. Here are some examples of the benefits thousands of daily users report:

  • improved digestive function
  • weight loss
  • lowered cholesterol
  • normalized blood pressure
  • less sick days

With so many brands of probiotics on the market, how can you find the right one? Because every product claims to be the “most effective“, it can be hard to find the probiotic that best suits your particular needs. Luckily, that’s what we’re here for.

This list ONLY includes probiotics which are manufactured in accordance with cGMP guidelines.

If a probiotic was NOT manufactured in clean, regulated conditions, as per cGMP guidelines then in all likelihood it will not only be ineffective but it could be POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS!

There are 5 factors which impact our grade of each probiotic. They are listed and explained below.

  1. Price – this one is pretty self-explanatory.
  2. Potency – WAY too many companies leave their probiotics sitting around gathering dust, over 50% of the brands that we tested had ZERO live cultures left! Potency is the % of live cultures we discovered upon testing the brand, you’d be surprised at how many companies store their probiotics for way too long.
  3. CFU (Colony-Forming Units) – this is the total count of all of the bacteria in the probiotic, VERY important because probiotics are ONLY EFFECTIVE IN ADEQUATE AMOUNTS.
  4. Strains – total number of different types of bacteria in each probiotic, varies greatly and, along with strain diversity, affects the types and levels of benefits that you will notice.
  5. Strain Purity – a combination of the effective concentration of the strains within the probiotic and the functional quality of the active cultures (the ability of the bacteria to perform its specific job).


          #1     BlueBiotics Ultimate Care                                                                                           2018 TOP PICK

Our Rating:          4.7/5ucbottle_small-fw

User Rating:        4.8/5  (1509)

Here’s Why:

  • 61 Billion live probiotics per serving (CFU)
  • 11 proven strains, only top proven strains are included
  • Endorsed by many doctors and health professionals
  • Contains S. Boulardii – possibly the most effective, but most expensive, probiotic strain. Many companies do not include S. Boulardii because of the cost
  • Small Capsules Designed to resist stomach acid – a must for any probiotic to be effective
  • Vegetarian capsules + free of potentially hazardous binders and fillers
  • Highest % of living cultures among top brands tested – by far

From Lactobacillus acidophilus to Bacillus Coagulans, the BlueBiotics blend is a veritable list of the most researched and proven probiotic bacteria known to science. And recent advances on the blend have made it the only full-spectrum probiotic supplement on the market, as it contains strains which are typically not available to the general public (Bacillus Coagulans and S. boulardii). The CFU count alone is remarkable enough, leaving most comparable spectrums in the dust… HOWEVER even more surprisingly our tests showed that a whopping 98% of the probiotic colonies in BlueBiotics were still alive, making this BY FAR the most effective probiotic supplement that we have ever reviewed. Also, because of the diverse pool of strains in BlueBiotics, users have reported a wide variety of benefits from weight loss, to increased energy, improved digestive health and cognitive function. Many of our staff switched to these probiotics, as well as myself and my family.

BlueBiotics capsules are also free from unnatural additives, contain a resistant-starch which serves as a food and fuel for the probiotic strains, and are enteric-coated to protect the strains which aren’t acid-resistant from being destroyed by your stomach acids.

At a Glance: BlueBiotics Ultimate Care

Product FeaturesConsumer's Health Report Rating
Price: $40.954.5
Potency5.0
CFU: 61 Billion4.6
Strains: 114.7
Living Cultures4.9
Overall Score4.7
Read Full Review >>
Order BlueBiotics >>

          #2     Ultimate Flora Critical Care

Our Rating:          4.4/5                      User Rating:           4.3/5  (1288)
ultimateflora

Here’s Why:

  • 50 Billion live probiotics per serving (CFU)
  • 10 top strains, many proven strains are included
  • Capsules Designed to resist stomach acid
  • Vegetarian capsules + free of potentially hazardous binders and fillers
  • High % of living cultures

Ultimate Flora tested significantly higher than the majority of general probiotic blends. Critical Care is composed of very well-documented probiotic strains and is an effective addition to any lifestyle, capable of conferring a wide variety of health benefits. The probiotic strains are not only diverse, they were also resilient to outside influences and, in many cases, were successful in establishing colonies within the digestive tracts of study participants.

Despite the hefty CFU advertised by Ultimate Flora, a large portion of the probiotic colonies were no longer alive upon analysis. This resulted in the effective CFU being much lower than what was claimed by the product.

At a Glance: Ultimate Flora Critical Care

Product FeaturesConsumer's Health Report Rating
Price: $39.994.1
Potency4.4
CFU: 50 Billion4.5
Strains: 104.2
Living Cultures4.2
Overall Score4.3
Read Full Review >>
Order UltimateFlora >>

          #3      Garden of Life RAW Probiotics

Our Rating:          4.3/5                      User Rating:           4.1/5  (845)

Here’s Why:

  • produced by a trusted, well known brand
  • 100 Billion CFU
  • 34 Strains
  • Vegetarian capsules + free of potentially hazardous binders and fillers
  • Reasonably high % of living cultures

Topping the probiotic market numbers at 100 Billion CFU divided between 34 probiotic strains, Garden of Life’s Ultimate Care probiotic was definitely a contender for our Best Probiotic of 2018. Free from preservatives and additives, RAW scored impressive marks across the board. Although this shortens the lifespan of the probiotics strains somewhat, buying in small quantities can easily solve this problem and – honestly – at CHR we always prefer purity to additives.

We were a little disappointed to see that this product was not enteric-coated. Although enteric-coating is not necessary for roughly 70% of the cultures in this probiotic, the remaining 30% (probiotics such as Streptococcus Thermophilus) will be devastated by your stomach acids. That is the only real drawback for an otherwise exemplary probiotic.

At a Glance: Garden of Life RAW Probiotics

Product FeaturesConsumer's Health Report Rating
Price: $38.494.2
Potency3.9
CFU: 100 Billion4.7
Strains: 344.7
Living Cultures4.1
Overall Score4.3
Read Full Review >>
Order Garden of Life RAW >>

          #4      InnovixLabs Multi-Strain Probiotic

Our Rating:          4.1/5                      User Rating:           4.2/5  (912)

Here’s Why:

    • 31 Strains
    • 50 Billion CFU
    • Capsules Designed to resist stomach acid
  • High % of living cultures

The 13 strains in this probiotic include complete lactobacillus and bifidobacterium complexes, as well as two variants of the Streptococcus Thermophilus bacterium. Additionally, this supplement features enteric-coated capsules ensuring that your stomach acids won’t eat up the probiotics before they get to your intestines.

The only reason InnovixLabs didn’t outrank a couple other probiotics on this list was due to its worrying amounts of additives, including: Microcrystalline Cellulose, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, and Silicon Dioxide.

At a Glance: InnovixLabs Multi-Strain Probiotic

Product FeaturesConsumer's Health Report Rating
Price: $21.994.8
Potency3.9
CFU: 50 Billion4.2
Strains: 314.5
Living Cultures3.8
Overall Score4.2
Read Full Review >>
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          #5      Vitamin Bounty Pro 25

Our Rating:          4.0/5                      User Rating:           4.2/5  (947)

Here’s Why:

    • Produced by a trusted, well known brand
    • 25 Billion CFU
    • 13 Proven Strains
    • Designed to resist stomach acid
  • Very high % of living cultures

Vitamin Bounty’s probiotic contains a variety of well-studied strains and a competitive 25 Billion CFU. It also contains a natural prebiotic resistant starch, rice flour, to fuel the strains this probiotic supplies. Over 95% of Pro 25’s strains were still active and viable, the second highest observed strain viability out of all probiotics reviewed-to-date!

This product does contain the magnesium stearate additive, and the CFU/Strain count is a little under the recommended levels, however those are only a couple negative marks on an otherwise incredible product!

At a Glance: Vitamin Bounty Pro 25

Product FeaturesConsumer's Health Report Rating
Price: $23.704.7
Potency3.9
CFU: 25 Billion3.0
Strains: 314.4
Living Cultures4.7
Overall Score4.1
Read Full Review >>
Order Vitamin Bounty >>

Want to learn more about probiotics? Take a look at our guide to understanding probiotics here.

138 thoughts on “Top 5 Probiotics of 2018

  1. I just ordered 3 bottles of probiotic from Probiotic America called Perfect Biotics. Is this a good company or a scam? Thanks

    • You can find a list of probiotics we reviewed under probiotics > reviewed brands at the top of this page.

      Many brands did not make the cut to the top 5, and we’re not included on this page.

  2. Hello
    Since I have been using this product I have lost 35 pounds,so that now I believe it has really helped me in my quest to lose weight this product works.It does what they promised,helps with the stomach and water weight,blood pressure…I love it!!!

      • Each of these supplements has their own merits depending on your health condition but we recommend BlueBiotics, as it contains the most strains, meaning it addresses a wider variety of health issues.

  3. I would like to know which probiotic is best for IBS and fibromyalgia. Is important to use a product with with one or two cultures with the fibromyalgia?
    Thank you,

    SG

  4. Many users report that Probiotics help with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

    I would start with the top of the list with a probiotic that contains saccharomyces boulardii – BlueBiotics.

    There is some research that suggests probiotics could help with fibromyalgia, I would recommend a probiotic with more that just 1-2 strains. Find one with top proven strains (5+) and a high CFU!

    • Do you have any conflicts of interest in this article? Did any of these companies pay for any or all of this review? Great review, just want to know before I purchase. Thanks!

      • We don’t have any direct affiliation with any of these companies, but we may receive a small commission if you click a link to a product and purchase.

  5. My biggest problem is with constipation. I don’t like having to take laxatives that cause cramping and bloating. Which one is best?

    • Hi Joan, it’s possible, but not ideal because most pill form probiotic supplements are designed to be protected from stomach acid until the capsule reaches the intestines. It’s impossible to say how many probiotic microorganisms would survive by taking them this way, but certainly less than if you swallow the pills. I would recommend trying a probiotic gummy product or some other probiotic that comes in something other than pill form rather than opening up the capsules.

    • We generally recommend starting out with BlueBiotics as it is a very versatile probiotic. If it doesn’t improve things then try the other supplements here on our list.

  6. Hi Julia. I am 71 (male) and have had digestive issues for most of my life and no specific diagnosis. I eat fairly well, am not overweight, get gassy from many different foods and beverages. I have been using Culturelle for 9 months and feel the benefit from taking it is small. Your review leads me to believe there may be better choices. They certainly are not cheap but I will gladly pay for them if they give me results. I am probably going to try BlueBiotics unless you have other suggestions. My main question is since I live in Minnesota I will receive shipments in the summer with temps of up to + 100F and winters down to – 15F. Will this cause a decrease in product viability for this or other brands you recommended? Thank you for your help.

    • BlueBiotics is a good product to start with and then evaluate from there. The cold is actually good for probiotics as freezing them extends the life of the cultures. Companies who freeze dry their probiotics (which if I’m not mistaken, each of these companies do), but having them shipped in very high temperatures can and does kill probiotic microorganisms so it’s definitely a concern. Ideally, it’s better to stock up during the winter so that you don’t have your product stuck in the back of a hot truck before it gets to you.

  7. Any suggestions who makes the best product for Kids? I have a 6 yr old son with many health issues, including severe food allergies – so I need a very clean product.

    • I would recommend starting with BlueBiotics Ultimate Care and if that doesn’t work for you try one of the other products on this list.

    • Yogurt such as Activia can be beneficial, but unfortunately, they’re not transparent about the number of probiotics you’re getting.

  8. I really like your article as it contains a lot of valuable information. the only thing id like to hear more about is the how your rating stacks up to the probiotics geared towards women specifically. I read the listing in, “what to look for” as you suggested but again it doesn’t discuss any findings along the lines of womens specific strands or brands that highlight aiding women more than another. Id love to hear your opinion on the matter or if you might be able to shed any light on the subject at hand. Thanks Julia!

  9. I’m 65 years of age. I have been taking acid reflux medication daily for at least 15 years and recently my doctor said my kidneys were declining. I’ve read that acid reflux medications taken over a long period of time, can cause kidney damage. By taking a probiotic, will it help reduce stomach acid, where I may be able to stop taking my acid reflux medication altogether?

    • Gerald Longhibler, I recommend you look at adjusting your diet as well as probiotics to heal your gut. Look at Body Ecology and or LifeSpa.com and SuzyCohen.com. you can heal it.

    • Gerald, was taking Omeprazole, and my chiropractor put me on Gastrazyme. You can get it at quality health food stores, or online also. It has taken care of my acid reflux.

  10. Hello Julia,

    How can I give the probiotics to kids, when they refuse to swallow the capsules? I used to open it and add the powder to some juice, but know I’m concern that I’ve been damaging the probiotic.

    Thanks!

  11. Hello Julia,
    Just listened to a long infomercial on 1MD’s Complete Probiotics Platinum. It claims to be the best. Do you plan to review it? Thanks.
    Dr. Tom Kuhn

    • Thanks for the feedback,

      I believe this is a relatively new product from them, we will definitely check it out.

      • I’ve been taking probiotics for past couple of months. I must say I feel so much better like it’s been years since I felt this good. My head isn’t in a fog–my brain feels crisp & clear and less depression. My skin isn’t dry its actually getting soft & shiny again. Even my face looks younger. My hair also. I actually have energy. I’m 53 female with a few illnesses. I can feel my insides like alive again. I’ve had a bad rash from taking too many antibiotics for the past 8 yrs FINALLY it is clearing up all from probiotics. It’s amazing what a difference the probiotics are making in my life. I am truly amazed. They are life changing for me. I know it might sound crazy but I can’t believe the difference. I hope this helps someone out there like me who thought there’s no hope to feel better.

    • That would depend on why you want to take one. I would definitely recommend bringing probiotics up with your doctor, just to gain their input for your specific situation.

    • Hello Liz,

      Many of these products are available online via Amazon, though they may not all be available in the UK.

      Thanks for the feedback, we will look into this!

    • Hi Christine, there are some prebiotic+probiotic combinations on the market, but we haven’t reviewed them yet. Stay tuned though!

  12. Probiotics really help a lot. It will not only serve as a vitamin for the body but also as a way to make your body fit.

  13. Are there any chewable versions of these? I do not like to swallow pills. I currently have a chewable probiotic that I like very much but just wondering if these highly rated ones do as well?

    • Hi Alyssa, I have the same issue but have found that I can stomach vegetable capsules but tablet pills can wreak havoc on my stomach. I don’t believe any of these products have chewable versions, but I do know there are several gummy probiotics on the market.

  14. I am taking a probiotic and very pleased with the results. I take only one a day instead of 2 a day. It was recommended by a pharmacist while I was traveling out of the country and it worked well and I continued taking it since 2016.

  15. Hi! I really enjoyed this article, I have been wondering if prebiotics are necessary for probiotics to be effective?

    • Hi Lexi—prebiotics are essentially the food that probiotics feed on, so yes, ideally you should aim to get a healthy amount of prebiotics through your diet from fruits and vegetables. A prebiotic supplement can help as well.

  16. You have stated that probiotics have a definite shelf life. How long, for example, is the shelf life for BluBiotics Ultimate Care? Is it worth the price of purchasing a three-month supply if the product doesn’t last, even if stored precisely as recommended by the manufacturer?

    • The last we checked, each of these products has a shelf life of a year, but regardless of the brand, it’s always good to refrigerate probiotics because it will extend the life of the living microorganisms.

  17. How important is refrigeration? I notice at Whole Foods, all the probiotics are refrigerated, but if I’m ordering online, who knows how long it’s been sitting in a warehouse. Thanks.

    • It depends on the particular product, but refrigeration can extend the life of the cultures. Choosing a brand that freeze-dries their product helps.

  18. Do u have a recommendation for a probiotic for someone who is high oxalates and histamine? Thank you, I am not sure what probiotics to avoid and neither are my doctors. They only know what medications to prescribe. Thank you so much for your help. Your reviews are great.

  19. I’m mainly interested in cutting down weight.we eat very healthy at home 80% fruits and veggies and I’d like to add a probiotic to get rid of extra fat. Which of these is best for that? Thank you! We are healthy & have no medical issues.

  20. Julia, I saw this article and decided to try the Blue Biotics for my IBS symptoms. I’m 62 still working, and the bathroom issue could really prove trying. I’m happy to report this product has helped tremendously! I now have both my daughter’s taking it also.

  21. Very useful info here Julia. Appreciate your work!!

    For those who has perturbed gut microbiata (due to antibiotics in general but also chemo drugs etc) what is the best probiotic in market?
    if there is not an ideal probiotic manufactured yet what microbes or which cocktail of microbes would be considered as best/ideal/must ?
    What would be the ideal time to regain gut microbiata balance with the use of these products(ie. how long do patients use?)
    Do you recommend to go for microbiome analyses to see the microbial profiles? (before or some time? after probiotic use)

    • Out of the products we’ve analyzed, the probiotics listed here were the best we found on the market. They’re all quality products, each with their pros and cons.

      We chose BlueBiotics Ultimate Care as the top probiotic on the market because of its variety of strains and thus versatility in addressing various health issues.

      As far as getting a microbiome analysis, it would be extremely useful if you can get an accurate analysis done. With that said, I’ve heard reports of inaccuracies in the current technology we have to carry out this type of testing: https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/gory-details/here%E2%80%99s-poop-getting-your-gut-microbiome-analyzed

  22. Concerned about viability of the probiotics after being shipped. Packages & Products arrived extremely warm do to the 90 degree temperatures. My understanding is the bacteria dies in over 77 degrees.

    • Hi Merry, it’s definitely a concern. For this reason, I recommend a) choosing a probiotic with a relatively high CFU count because some will invariably die on the journey; there’s just no way around it. And b) choose a brand that freeze-dries their probiotics.

  23. My doctor told me to get antibiotic enteric coated 10 billion CFU 10 strain and we cannot find that combination anywhere, thanks.

    • All of these products listed here are designed to resist stomach acid, have multiple strains, and have more than 10 billion CFU of probiotics so you can’t really go wrong with any of these options. We did choose BlueBiology BlueBiotics as our number one choice for a reason though, so I would start there.

  24. Can you tell me what the best probiotic for a child in primary school would be? My 7 year old cannot yet swallow capsules and J am uh nsure that anything powder thg would make it to his gut through stomach acids.

    • Hi Angelique, you could try probiotic foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, etc.), or probiotic gummies (but it’s unclear as to whether the probiotics reach the intestines via this mode of delivery) and reevaluate from there. It’s probably best to consult your physician about the matter as well. Best of luck.

  25. have you ever compared Xyngular products ? I use some and really like them but wonder how they rate against products out there.

  26. What is the best Probiotic for: Diarrhea, Flatulence, Gas, Cramp & Stomach Pain please…
    I would like to buy for my stomach problem.
    Where can I buy & What is the cost?..
    Thanks very much!..
    HO
    Perth – Australia.

    • For those symptoms I would go with the number one rated product based on our analysis, BlueBiotics Ultimate Care. It has multiple strains that are proven to address those issues.

  27. Julia;
    What is your thought on the product NUCIFIC Bio X-4? Is NUCIFIC a trusted company? Do know anyone or have any feedback from people who have dealt with this company and have tried Bio X-4?

  28. Hello Julia, I would like to know if you know of any product that contains all the ingredients that bio-x4 claims such as EGCG,Caralluma Fimbrata root, Lipse, mylase, bromelain (digestive enzymes).

    • Hi Colleen, there’s nothing wrong with Align’s probiotic itself per se, but it only has one strain of bifidobacterium and is quite expensive. There are cheaper probiotics on the market that have more probiotic strains, which means a wider range of health benefits.

  29. Thank you so much for this actually rational review, I feel like all the other sites were just paid to mention the store brands. I went for the top 1 of course, arriving tomorrow and can’t wait to start it. Also thank you for educating on what actually matters, again, not the paid reviews.

    • Hi Angel, I would check both the manufacturer’s website and ecommerce stores such as Amazon. If one doesn’t ship to where you live, there’s a chance the other option does. Hope that helps.

    • Hi Linda, it depends on how well your current probiotic is working for you, but I’m always open to trying new products to see if I can find something more effective.

  30. My husband is battling lung cancer and Sarcoma and has a lot of gut issues such as nausea and vomiting which have caused him to lose a significant amount of weight. To help with the N/V a probiotic was recommend. I’d like to try him on the BlueBiotics Ultimate Care but am concerned that by doing so it will cause him to lose even more weight which he has no extra weight to spare. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi CJ, sorry to hear about your situation. I would consult with your doctor to see if it’s ok to add probiotics to his diet.

  31. Hi, will these probiotics make you diarrhea or any uncomfortable? I try some over the counter probiotic, and it makes me feel need to go, but can not. It feels very uncomfortable.

    • Hi Monica, probiotics have been known to cause bloating/gas in some individuals, but it usually subsides after your body adjusts. The only real way is to try it out and see for yourself because they affect everyone’s body differently.

  32. The list you provided was exactly what information I needed. Unbeknownst to me the probiotic I was using needed to be refrigerated and I had ordered online. So going to go with freeze-dried and the number one on your list.

    This is why I read Consumer’s Health Report.

    Muchly appreciated and keep up the good work.

    • All the products here are capable of helping with constipation. The product with the best variety of strains is BlueBiotics Ultimate Care.

  33. I’ve been taking a Jamieson Probiotic for weeks now for my IBS. I’m not really getting results. It has 10 billion cells and about 14 strains. I tried taking it every day but then I was crampy, bloated and almost constipated. A friend suggested taking every other day so I did that and it was just the opposite. I’ve been trying to eat a low fodmaps diet as well. Can you tell me how long its supposed to take to work and also if I should possibly try something else? This probiotic was inexpensive so I’m wondering if you get what you pay for.

    • Hi Lori, sorry to hear about your experience with that brand. 10 billion CFU is a pretty low dosage so yes, I would recommend trying a different probiotic.

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