Recent studies have reported that an imbalance of gut flora has been linked by researchers to several chronic diseases including eczema, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel or irritable bowel diseases. In fact, gut health and how to influence the operation of the gut are now major health trends that are sweeping the UK market, and many manufacturers are scrambling to provide supplements that are beneficial to overall gut health.
The reason experts are researching gut health is quite simple. The microflora that lines the gut acts like a separate organ and plays a vital role in maintaining the health of its host. Some researchers suggest that upwards of 80 per cent of your immune system is located in your gut, so if your gut is suffering, there is a very strong chance it is going to affect your general health. And this is where probiotics come into play, and specifically probiotic supplements.
Probiotics have been shown to be effective in treating gut flora imbalance. When ingested, these living micro-organisms replenish the microflora in your intestinal tract.
The replenishment of microflora in your intestinal tract results in the promotion of several health-enhancing functions, including enhanced digestive support. So if these microflora are so beneficial for you health, why are we all scrambling to take some so that our overall health is improved. Well, the problem for consumers is that there is also growing evidence that only particular strains of probiotics are effective for certain conditions.
Not all probiotics are suitable for all conditions, and some experts even suggest that some of the probiotic products for sale on the market today may have some great marketing and PR, but actually will have little to no health benefits.
There are some things in a probiotic or probiotic supplement that you definitely need to look for:
- Gastric acid and bile-salt stability
- An ability to adhere to intestinal mucus
- An ability to colonise in the gastrointestinal tract
For most of the commercially available probiotic supplements and yogurts on the market today, the products themselves actually do exhibit some or all of these characteristics, but some of the products don’t, and that is why our intrepid team have reviewed some of the best probiotic supplements on the UK market today, to ensure you are getting the best product that will assist with your health needs.
If a probiotic strain does not exhibit these characteristics, then it will be nowhere near as effective as those that do
Probiotic bacteria has been shown to help restore healthy stomach bacteria and is recommended by doctors and naturopaths to help in the treatment and prevention of eczema, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other conditions.
Because there are many helpful bacterial strains, you need to choose the best probiotic strains to suit your health. We all know probiotics are good for us, and this is even now backed up by some scientific research that show that while everyone benefits from a varied diet that contains probiotic foods (including sauerkraut and yoghurt), a probiotic supplement is best used for a specific health issue. But many of us don’t know what the best probiotic supplement for each condition is, and it imperative that you are very clear as to why you’re supplementing and whether you are supplementing with the right strain.
Another important factor to consider is your age, as our gut microbiome changes from infancy to old age. So you need to ensure that you are supplementing with the products that include bacterial strains that support a specific life-stage related function. Here’s our general tips on wha to look for related to some overall life stages:
Babies and Kids
For digestion: Bifidobacterium lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus help reduce the incidence of diarrhoea and the severity of colic in babies. Recent studies have found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii are both helpful in preventing AAD. These strains are also good for reducing the duration of stomach viruses.
For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 has the most research behind it, showing it improves abdominal pain and bloating in sufferers of IBS.
Vaginal health: Studies indicate that certain strains of Lactobacillus (acidophilus, rhamnosus GR-1 and reuteri RC-14) may help treat bacterial vaginosis (an infection).
After antibiotics: The same probiotics that help prevent AAD in kids – Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii – help adults repatriate their gut flora.
For constipation and bowel health: Bifidobacterium lactis and Bifidobacterium longum strains can improve bowel movements and soften stools. Bifidobacterium levels decline in older populations.
There is a heap of new research emerging revealing that probiotics — the so called “good” bacteria in the human gut — are packing a serious punch in the fight against illness and some diseases. Each person carries about in their gut trillions of beneficial bacteria every day, making up what is commonly called the body’s “gut flora”. It is the good bacteria’s job to fight off “bad” bacteria in the form of illness and other hazards to the body. But when the gut flora is compromised by sickness, antibiotic medicines or poor eating habits, for example, a person’s health may be compromised.
So research is now taking place at a rapid rate to identify which bacteria and what quantities are needed to help prevent and treat disease. Chat to any nutritionist and they will advise you that taking a probiotic each day will not only replenish the levels of good bacteria in the human body but will also rally the gut flora into attack mode when bad bacteria enters the body.
In fact, probiotics are known around the world as bacteria with benefits. Recent studies have shown that probiotics can:
Help reduce the incidence of eczema in babies
Probiotics could help reduce the incidence of eczema in babies whose mothers took probiotics during pregnancy or during breastfeeding
Resolve cases of diarrhoea
Helps resolve or reduce cases of diarrhoea in both children and adults, and improve bowel movements
Reduce the risk of allergies and asthma.
Restore gut health
Help to restore gut health after a course of antibiotics
Improve child well being
Reduce the number of days children in day care are ill with fevers, coughs and colds
Improve production of isoflavones
May help to encourage the production of antioxidant-rich isoflavones in men which are known to fight prostate cancer cells
There is no doubt that probiotics are well recognised for improving immune function. But you need to ensure that you are taking the right probiotic supplements for your specific needs. So what exactly are the best probiotic supplements ?
Well, our team of experts have taken a look at some of the best probiotic brands, to bring you our roundup of the top probiotic supplements within the UK today.
NutriZing's Multi-Strain Probiotic Supplements
Rated as the Best Multi strain probiotic supplement for IBS Relief
NutriZing, manufacturer of NutriZing Mult-Strain Probiotic supplements, is a recently founded company dedicated to providing people with high quality health and nutrition supplements for an all-round healthy life. The company’s Multi-Strain probiotic supplements are high potency supplements that contain 16 bacteria strains (including Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Streptococcus) and over 50 billion CFUs per gram. The custom 16 bacteria strains provide essential benefits to gut health and it is due to these multiple strains that the NutriZing supplement is so effective for health conditions including IBS, bloating, constipation and other health conditions.
NutriZing multi-strain probiotic supplements are GMO-free and are free from gluten, soya and dairy. The supplements also contain no artificial agents or fillers and are proudly made in the UK!
Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-strain Probiotic supplement
Best value advanced multi-strain probiotic supplement in the UK
Bio-Kult advanced multi-strain probiotic supplements, manufactured by Protexin, have been scientifically developed to contain a massive 14 live bacterial cultures. These live bacteria will aid and complement the existing gut flora that is naturally present in the digestive system. Made in the UK, Bio-Kult capsules are gluten free and contain a minimum of 2 billion microorganisms per capsule which is equivalent to 10 billion microorganisms per gram.
Bio-Kult probiotic supplements contain NO artificial flavours, preservatives or even artificial colours and can even be stored at room temperature without the need to refrigerate. What we really liked about the Bio-Kult probiotic supplements is that they are easy to pull apart and the contents can be sprinkled into your food or into a smoothie in the morning. Of course you could always take it whole, and the recommended dosage is 1-2 capsules once or twice daily with food.
- Bacillus subtilis PXN 21
- Bifidobacterium bifidum PXN 23
- Bifidobacterium breve PXN 25
- Bifidobacterium infantis PXN 27
- Bifidobacterium longum PXN 30
- Lactobacillus acidophilus PXN 35
- Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus PXN 39
- Lactobacillus casei PXN 37
- Lactobacillus plantarum PXN 47
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus PXN 54>
- Lactobacillus helveticus PXN 45
- Lactobacillus salivarius PXN 57
- Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis PXN 63
- Streptococcus thermophilus PXN 66
The company that manufactures the Bio-Kult probiotic supplements also has a full traceability programme in terms of the raw materials used, and is extremely quality control conscious to ensure only the best quality product. In fact, all of their bacteria strains are all fermented individually on a batch by batch basis, and each strain is crypoprotected and freeze dried individually, which aids in its survival through the low acidity of the stomach, and allows storage of the finished product at normal room temperature.
OptiBac Probiotics for Babies and Children
Best probiotic supplement for kids
Looking for a suitable probiotic supplement for babies and smaller children? The Opti-Bac probiotic product is recommended for babies and children from birth up to 12 years old. The Opti-Bac product features 3 live strains of beneficial natural bacteria:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52
- Bifidobacterium infantis Rosell-53
- Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell-71
Opti-Bac probiotics contain no added colourings, flavourings and no added sugars, and come in convenient sachet form allowing you to easily sprinkle the contents into your kid’s drinks and food. Each sachet (laminate enclosed in a 3 layer sachet form for maximum protection against heat and humidity) provides 3 Billion live cultures, and the reason for its efficacy is SIMPLE! The natural bacteria that resides in a child’s gut is completely different to that of an adult’s gut, and the Opti-Bac product provides 2 of the dominant and most important beneficial cultures for children (namely: Bifidobaacterium infantis and Bifidobacterium bifidum).
Suitable for vegetarians, the product is both gluten free and yeast free. Opti-Bac probiotic supplements and their constituent 3 live bacteria strains have also been the subject of numerous clinical studies that have all tested and proven the efficacy and safety of these particular bacteria strains in children. Most of the studies have also shown the beneficial effect on a child’s gut health, with many children reporting improved stools and less constipation and less bowel issues.
BIOGLAN Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora
Best everyday probiotic supplement
BIOGLAN Biotic Balance probiotic capsules are suitable for everyday usage and feature a massive 20 billion live bacteria per capsule. What we love about the BIOGLAN product is that their capsules feature the so-called awesome foursome of the live bacteria world.
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (15.8 Billion CFU)
- Saccharomyces Boulardii (2.6 Billion CFU)
- Bifidobacterium Longum (5.8 Billion CFU)
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus (5.8 Billion CFU)
These 4 bacteria strains have been scientifically studied and their benefits to gut health have been proven over and over again. BIOGLAN Biotic capsules also feature fridge free technology so they don’t need refrigeration as long as they are stored at normal room temperature.