Smarter Review: Most Trusted Probiotic Supplement Awards 2017

Top Probiotic Supplements Voted by Smarter Shoppers Like You

At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products, by looking at the ingredients, safety, projected effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. This method is known as the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.

In addition to ranking products, we also collect research from the latest studies and clinical trials. Choosing the best product is easy with Smarter Reviews. We offer a clear-cut system that covers the most important criteria, and takes into account the experienced personal reviews of our valued Smarter Shoppers. We've taken the guesswork out of the process, so you can shop smart, and save on time and money.

Probiotics 101: How Probiotics Can Help You

Probiotics are being called the future of medicine. Each week new studies come out showing how probiotics are changing the healthcare industry. Compelling new evidence has shown they have a wide spectrum of health benefits.*  2-7

Finding a good probiotic is key, but how do you know what kind of probiotics are best? You might think that you can just eat a little Greek yogurt to get your probiotics, but the truth is that your body needs so much more than that.

Smarter Reviews has spent months compiling extensive research in this extremely competitive category.

top 3 Biggest Myths About Probiotics

We've read a lot of inaccurate information about probiotics and how you should re-balance your gut bacteria. Below are the three biggest myths we've come across:

  • Yogurt is the best probiotic. Yogurt does contain probiotics, especially Greek yogurt. However, you would have to eat roughly 50 Greek yogurts a day to get the daily recommended amount of probiotics. This can become extremely costly, plus a lot of yogurts contain hidden sugars and syrups.
  • All probiotics are the same. Not all probiotics are created equally. As we have stated before, many have cheap fillers, or just a handful of good bacteria strains. Be sure to read the label of any probiotic you buy.
  • Probiotics will be destroyed in the stomach. The best probiotic supplements have capsules specifically designed to resist stomach acid so this is not an issue. Look for probiotics with capsules that mention stomach acid resistance to ensure the probiotics make it safely to the intestinal tract.

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:

High CFU Count

  • The number of Colony-Forming Units has seen a gradual increase in serving sizes over the past several years. This is because of the improvements in the development of probiotics. Since our microbiome is composed of about 100-trillion good and bad bacteria, a high quantity of probiotics, (or a high number of CFUs), will have a 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

  • While most probiotic supplements provide only one type of bacteria, taking a probiotic with a variety of good bacteria strains can help to stop bad bacteria better8*. You want probiotics that use a comprehensive approach to promoting balance in your gut bacteria. This will leave you with a very healthy gut. You're going to want to look for supplements with at least 9 individual strains. A few brands have more. We listed the top strains and their main functions below.

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, which can be a red flag. It means that they could be using generic forms of the strain (which are cheaper) that have not been clinically studied, proven, or adequately researched.
  • Here is an example of a probiotic strain listed with its substrain to the right: Lactobacillus Casei Lc-11TM
  • It's important to find a probiotic supplement that lists its substrains to ensure its credibility. Avoid generic strains and stick with clinically studied, trademarked strains that have been evidenced to be effective.

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.

Non-Refrigeration

  • These products could be damaged during shipping. Also, you're not always going to have access to a refrigerator, so you'll want to choose a probiotic that is well-formulated to withstand room temperature and does not require being refrigerated during periods of non-use.

Top 5 Probiotic Supplements of 2017

Based on our own extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of what we've found to be the top five products in 
this category, on the market today.

Review

Complete Probiotics
Platinum

Total Ranking

647 votes

9.6/10

A+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 9.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 9.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Value
  • 9.6/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 9.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Contains 50 billion live cultures in each capsule (only one per day).
  • 11 robust strains, selected specifically to assist with acid and bile resistance
  • Endorsed by an MD specializing in digestive health
  • Each vegetarian capsule is specially designed to resist stomach acid, which securely delivers the probiotics to the intestinal tract*
  • NutraFlora Fiber is included to aid in the growth of the Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli strains
  • Only one capsule per day is needed to reach daily serving
  • Has no synthetic fillers or binders making it completely all-natural
  • Each substrain is listed and has been clinically studied.

CONS

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

Our Smarter Shoppers have voted 1MD's Complete Probiotics Platinum the most popular daily probiotic they tried. It is one of the best formulas on the market, due to its 50 billion live cultures, 11 robust and clinically studied strains, NutraFlora prebiotic fiber, veggie capsule composition, and no synthetic fillers or additives whatsoever.

This was the only product we could find that is actually 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.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

I Want the Smarter Choice

Review

Renew Life Ultimate Flora
Critical Care 50 Billion

Total Ranking

310 votes

8.9/10

B+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 9.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.8/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Value
  • 9.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

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

CONS

  • 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.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

Review

Culturelle Digestive Health
Probiotic Capsules

Total Ranking

328 votes

8.6/10

B+

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 8.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 8.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Value
  • 8.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 9.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

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

CONS

  • Contains unhealthy synthetic fillers
  • Only offers 10 billion CFUs per serving
  • 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.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

Review

Align Probiotic Supplement

Total Ranking

581 votes

7.3/10

C

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 7.7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 7/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Value
  • 7.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.2/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 6.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

  • Does not require refrigeration
  • Found in retail stores
  • Contains Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, a clinically studied strain

CONS

  • Only offers one probiotic strain
  • Contains only 1 billion CFU's
  • Contains unhealthy, synthetic fillers
  • Limited money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

Smarter Shoppers discovered that this product had a lower CFU than all other products on the list and only offers one probiotic strain. The application of such a product meant a very limited range of health benefits when used. This product also contains some undesirable fillers like magnesium stearate, sodium caseinate, and titanium dioxide (for color).

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

Review

TruBiotics Daily
Probiotic Supplement

Total Ranking

576 votes

7.1/10

C-

Overall Grade

  • Ingredient Safety
  • 7.1/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.4/10

  • Projected Effectiveness
  • 6.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.1/10

  • Value
  • 6.5/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.2/10

  • Return Policy
  • 8.3/10

  • Category Average
  • 8.8/10

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • 7.4/10

  • Category Average
  • 8/10

Vote and Review

5/10

PROS

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

CONS

  • 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.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

Citations

  1. Laberge, M. http://www.diet.com/g/digestive-diseases (accessed 18, August 2015).
  2. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Feb;67(2):161-7.
  3. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2013;358:273-89.
  4. Br J Nutr. 2013 May 28;109(10):1866-72.
  5. Nutr Hosp. 2011 Jan-Feb;26(1):228-35.
  6. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2013 Jan;22(1):46-51.
  7. Pediatr Int. 2012 Oct;54(5):682-7.
  8. Anaerobe. 2012 Aug;18(4):405-13.

Back to the Smarter Choice

Author

Tom

Tom is a retired Navy veteran who loves a good backyard barbecue, days on his boat fishing and spending time with his grandkids.

Tom at tom@smarter-reviews.com

Click to see the list of probiotics we evaluated >>

Learn More