By now, you’ve probably heard of probiotics — those little live microorganisms that work to improve or restore our gut bacteria. But not all probiotics are created equally. As with multivitamins, it’s important to identify which types are specifically targeted for your nutritional needs. The best probiotics for women over 50 will help keep your gut healthy and balanced and promote a healthy immune system. Read on to find out more about what they can do for you — and where to shop for them.
What are probiotics?
According to New York-certified dietitian nutritionist Alissa Rumsey, “Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that replenish our body’s micro-biome with healthy cultures while helping to control the growth of harmful bacteria in our gut.”
We know what you’re thinking — bacteria? Isn’t bacteria bad? Well, not exactly. Our bodies are covered in bacteria, most of it good, some of it bad. Probiotics are the good guys, working to improve our immune function, protect against the risk of infection, and aid in nutrient absorption by keeping the gut and digestive system happy and healthy — something that’s especially vital to our bodies as we age.
What do probiotics do?
While everyone could benefit from probiotics — we’ve all had bad stomach days! — those suffering from digestive disorders may find them especially helpful. “Probiotics are thought to play a role in preventing and treating certain conditions, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease,” says Rumsey.
The Best Probiotics for Women Over 50
While these wonderful bacterial organisms can be found naturally in foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir (to name a few), they also come in supplemental form.
The best probiotics for women over 50 will be specific to your needs, whether that includes digestive issues, like diarrhea and leaky gut, or general health issues, such as urinary tract health or weight loss.
According to the American Nutrition Association, the recommended daily intake for probiotic supplements can range from 1 billion colony forming units (CFU) to 100 billion per day.
If you find your gut and overall health to be pretty good, then a low number of CFUs may be all you need. Since our immune systems weaken as we age, however, a higher number may be necessary for women over 50 in order to stay healthy and see significant results. A probiotic with a CFU ranging from 25 to 50 billion is a great place to start.
As with any supplement, it’s important to consult your doctor before adding a probiotic to your daily vitamin regimen. If you’re ready to shop, keep scrolling to read up on Woman’s World’s picks for the best probiotics for women over 50.
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Best Probiotic for Older Women
Where to buy: $39.89 (Originally $52.45), Amazon
If you're looking for one of the most well-rounded probiotics on the market, you've come to the right place. Garden of Life's RAW Probiotics Women 50 & Wiser offers an impressive 85 billion CFUs and is comprised of 33 original probiotic strains, making it one of the most concentrated supplements on this list. Uniquely-formulated with the needs of mature women in mind, this probiotic supports colon, thyroid, and vaginal health. It also gives a boost to your overall digestive region with enzymes to break down lactose and casein (a protein found in milk) — something that becomes increasingly difficult as we age. Better yet, with no binders, fillers, or carriers, what you see is what you get.
Best Probiotic For Beginners
(25 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $19.99 (was $29.99), Amazon
If you're unsure about the number of CFUs you should begin your probiotic journey with, we recommend Pro 25 from Vitamin Bounty. Formulated with 13 different probiotic strains and 25 billion organisms per capsule, this supplement is in a league all its own. A patented delayed release protects organisms from erosive stomach acid to make sure the bulk of those cultures are absorbed into your digestive system — not your stomach. And, should you find that 25 billion CFUs aren't getting the job done, you can always up your count with the brand's Pro 50 formula ($29.99, Amazon), which is made with 50 billion organisms per serving.
Best Probiotic for Leaky Gut
(1 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $15.97, Amazon
This Digestive Enzymes supplement from Zenwise Health is a far cry from your typical probiotic. Made with a blend of natural, plant-sourced enzymes, inulin prebiotic (inulin is a starch-like substance found in fruit while prebiotics are the food that probiotics feed on), and 1 billion CFUs of multi-strain probiotics, this vegetarian capsule aims not only to ease stomach discomfort, but to strengthen your digestive system. A strong digestive system means your body's absorption properties will improve, making this one of the best probiotics for issues such as leaky gut (a condition in which bacteria and toxins are able to "leak" through the intestinal wall), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other gastrointestinal complications. Better yet, when your digestive system works properly, it takes less energy to process food, so you'll feel better overall, too.
Best Probiotic for Elderly
(30 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $22.49, Amazon
One of the most important types of bacteria found in a healthy digestive system is Bifidobacteria. Unfortunately, the amount of Bifidobacteria found in the gut declines with age. This can lead to everything from occasional irregularity to an overall decline in nutritional absorption. To prevent this, reach for Renew Life's Ultimate Flora probiotic. With 12 strains of Bifidobacteria and 30 billion active cultures per serving, you'll be feeling like a new woman in no time.
Best Probiotic for Acid Reflux
(6 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $23.99, Amazon
Suffering from acid reflux? You might want to put down the antacid and pick up a probiotic. Acid reflux, also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition in which stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing what is commonly known as heartburn. Not only can this condition be uncomfortable, it can cause serious, irreversible damage to the lining of your esophagus if left untreated. Acid reflux is a result of the digestive system being out of whack, so to help calm your stomach down, try Replenish the Good's daily probiotic. This bacteria-rich probiotic will allow you to balance your digestive and intestinal systems in no time.
Take it from Amazon buyer Lily, who wrote, "I have dealt with acid reflux since I was a teenager. I was popping antacids like candy. Now that I take this probiotic, I no longer have to rely on antacids for relief."
Best Probiotic for Immunity
(10 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $19.99, Amazon
When researching probiotics, you may uncover the astounding fact that "a huge proportion of your immune system is actually located in your GI tract." That means that the first step in preventing the common cold isn't about lemon and echinacea, per se, but probiotics. If you feel sickness coming on, reach for Vitamin Bounty's Pro-Daily Immunity. While many probiotics can help boost your immune system, not all are specially formulated to up your body's natural defenses like this one, with features 10 specific strains of helpful bacteria plus a healthy dose of vitamin C and zinc.
Best Doctor-Recommended Probiotic
(5 billion CFU)
Where to buy: $43.98 (Originally $49.99), Amazon
If there's one probiotic you've already heard of, it's Align — and for good reason! Formulated to naturally help strengthen your digestive system, this popular supplement contains Bifidobacterium infantis 35624, a unique probiotic strain that's been shown to provide optimal digestive support and help in the treatment of certain digestive issues.
It also comes doctor recommended. Shauna Carrigan of Lorraine Kearney Nutrition, RD., recommends Align to patients — especially those with IBS. "It has been studied clinically for its beneficial effects on healthy digestion; well-designed random control trials have shown improvements in IBS symptoms," she says.
Best Probiotic for Mental Health
(6 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $23.95, Amazon
What supplement contains a 6 billion CFU count, can provide yeast infection relief, and promotes a healthy urinary tract to boot? Replenish the Good's Women's probiotic! This American-made supplement consists of only the best natural ingredients for women, as well as the daily recommended doses of vitamin D3, cranberry extract, and urinary tract fortifier D-mannose. And, with six powerful probiotic strains that have been shown to elevate energy and mood, it's also one of the best probiotics for mental health.
Best Liquid Probiotic
(10 Million CFU)
Where to buy: $44.95 (Originally $59.95), Amazon
No matter how old you get, some people just have a hard time swallowing pills. If those pesky capsules have been making you steer clear of probiotics, MaryRuth's liquid probiotic may just be your saving grace. This all-natural and US-made supplement has a long shelf life, tasteless quality, and 14 pure probiotic strains. Best of all, however, is its inclusion of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus — a bacteria strain that's known for its benefits for liver.
Best Probiotic for Inflammation
(5 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $47.64 (Originally $80.85), Amazon
One of the most popular probiotics from the last 30 years is Saccharomyces Boulardii. Used to treat everything from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis to skin inflammation and eczema, this powerful organism has become a staple for a reason. It can be found aplenty (think 5 billion CFUs) in Jarrow Formulas's top-rated supplement, which has an added dose of MOS (mannan oligosaccharides) that activate the immune system in mammals, making it one probiotic you'll want to add to your diet, stat.
Best Probiotic for IBS
(50 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $22.49, Amazon
With a CFU count of 50 billion, Nature's Way's Fortify is one of the most effective probiotics on this list. This extra-strength supplement features an original probiotic blend called Primadophilus, which is comprised of 50 percent more Lactobacilli than Bifidobacteria, to support general digestive issues, alongside vaginal health. Studies have shown that certain strains of Lactobacilli can even improve many of the symptoms associated with IBS, allowing you to say good riddance to your stomach issues in no time.
Best Probiotic for pH Balance
(90 Billion CFU)
Where to buy: $67.49 (Originally $89.99), Amazon
When your stomach isn't at its best, it can throw other things out of whack, too. That's where Ultimate Flora by Renew Life comes in. This high-potency, 90 billion CFU probiotic is made with 12 strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria that will help with much more than your digestive system. Lactobacilli, in particular, also promotes healthy vaginal and urinary health, making it one of the best probiotics for a women's pH balance.
Best Probiotic for Eczema
(15 billion CFU)
Where to buy: $23.95, Amazon
We've already discussed how probiotics can aid in decreasing skin inflammation, but did you know they can also quell symptoms of one of the most prevalent skin conditions among women over 50? Yep, we're talking about eczema. According to the National Eczema Foundation, these friendly bacteria can help ease your flare-ups! While research is still ongoing, many have found that strains Lactobacillus Ramnonsus and L. Plantarum, which are found in this supplement from Dr. Matthew, can be particularly useful.
One Amazon buyer raved, "I have been using these for about a week now and I’ve noticed that my eczema is decreasing. Wish I found this stuff sooner!"