Health

How to Choose the Right Probiotic for Women

Taking probiotics has many potential health benefits. These microorganisms come in a wide variety of forms, from foods (like yogurt) to dietary supplements—capsules, liquids and powders.

Different types of bacteria have distinct perks, and the specific strain matters to your gut microbiome. Functional dietitian Krista King, M.S., RDN, LDN, shares six reasons to consider choosing a probiotic for women.

Factors to Consider

The Probiotic for Women we consume can help balance our gut microbiome, which is especially important for women. Compared to men, women are more likely to experience gut issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and the health of our microbiome is also linked to vaginal health and hormone regulation (such as through the estrobolome).

When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one with at least 10 to 25 billion CFUs. The packaging should clearly state how the product is stored, whether it needs to be refrigerated and its expiration date. It should also list the specific bacterial strains and their count, and the amount of colony-forming units in each capsule.

It’s also important to note that not all probiotics will make it safely to the vagina. To support vaginal health, a supplement should contain strains that are specifically able to reach the anus, and then the vagina and urogenital tract. In particular, lactobacillus species such as L. rhamnosus GR-1(r) and L. reuteri RC-14(r) have been shown to do just that.

Many of us don’t have the time to search for specialized strains, so when selecting a probiotic it’s best to choose one that is well-rounded and researched. For instance, the probiotic blend in Mage was created to specifically support the female pelvic triangle – the gut, vagina and urinary tract.

Strains

When scouring the probiotic shelf at your local health, grocery or big-box store, keep in mind that different strains have been shown to address specific gut health conditions. For example, lactobacillus acidophilus (LAC-37) may help with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, while laicaulis fermentum (L. casei) helps with lowering cholesterol. You should also look for probiotics that contain the bifidobacterium species, and a good mix of other bacterial cultures.

Women have a different microbiome than men, and it’s impacted by several factors such as pregnancy and hormone changes. Consequently, women are more likely to experience digestive symptoms like bloating, cramps and constipation.

Other health concerns that affect women include bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and thrush. Clinical trials show that strains like bacillus rhamnosus HN001 and bifidobacterium longum can provide relief for these ailments.

A healthy vaginal microbiome is essential for female reproductive health. A recent study showed that the probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum can help prevent BV and thrush, and may also reduce itching, redness and inflammation.

Types

Getting the most out of your probiotics means selecting a supplement that will best fit your lifestyle. For example, if you’re traveling often, consider a shelf stable product that doesn’t require refrigeration and can be easily carried in your purse or carry-on.

It also helps to know if a probiotic is designed to address specific symptoms or health conditions. For example, probiotics that have been studied for digestive issues like bloating and constipation can be particularly helpful for women as studies suggest they may be more effective than other strains at these conditions.1

Additionally, some probiotics have been specifically researched for pregnancy related concerns such as morning sickness and gestational diabetes.2

Lastly, some probiotics have been shown to help reduce the frequency of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.3

For a probiotic supplement to be beneficial, it must contain live bacteria that are alive and capable of surviving in the stomach and intestines. You can find out how many CFUs (colony-forming units) are contained in a probiotic by looking at its label. However, it’s important to note that CFU counts can be misleading as only a small number of bacteria survive the journey from the manufacturer to the gut, and not all strains of probiotics are created equal.

To get the most out of your probiotic, look for a variety of different strains and a high CFU count. Additionally, look for a brand that is third party verified and has been through rigorous testing.

Ingredients

There are trillions of bacteria in the human intestine, and different strains perform various functions. Some work well together, and others don’t. That’s why it’s important to select a probiotic that contains well-researched strains with your specific health goals in mind.

For example, if you want to relieve constipation, look for a probiotic that includes strains that have been clinically shown to do so, such as L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14. These strains help promote regular bowel movements and improve gut transit time.

Another probiotic that’s targeted for women’s unique needs is Mage, which was designed to balance the entire female pelvic triangle (the gut, vagina, and urinary tract). It also features prebiotics such as PreforPro, which acts like a heat-seeking missile that targets and destroys some of the E. coli in the gut that are responsible for UTIs.

The price of this product is slightly above average, but it comes with a generous money-back guarantee and third-party testing. It also uses a patented delivery system that ensures the diet probiotics survive the harsh stomach acid in your digestive system.

Conclusion

This brand provides a good value for your dollar with multiple probiotic strains and a high CFU count. However, the website doesn’t disclose whether the CFU potency is at the time of manufacture or guaranteed through the expiration date.

Finixio Digital

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