Maybe you have heard of the benefits of probiotics — but when it comes to finding the best probiotics for women over 50, where do you start? Similar to finding the best multivitamins to complement your diet, it’s important to identify a probiotic that’s specifically targeted to your nutritional needs. But before we do that, let’s break down the science behind probiotics.
What are probiotics?
According to New York certified dietitian nutritionist Alissa Rumsey, "Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that replenish our body's microbiome with healthy cultures while helping to control the growth of harmful bacteria in our gut." Aside from supplements, these wonderful bacterial organisms can be found naturally in food items like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir. Now we know what you’re thinking — bacteria? But aren’t bacteria a bad thing? Well, not exactly. Our bodies are covered in bacteria, most of it good, some of it bad. Probiotics are the good guys, improving immune function, protecting against the risk of infection, and aiding in nutrient absorption by keeping the gut and digestive system healthy. This is vital to the body as we get older.
Do you really need probiotics?
You eat your vegetables, stay active, and find yourself keeping up an, ahem, regular schedule, so do you really need probiotics? The answer is yes! Everyone could benefit from probiotics because everyone has bad stomach days, but those suffering from digestive disorders may find them especially helpful. "Probiotics are thought to play a role in preventing and treating certain conditions including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease," says Rumsey. So, consistently introducing healthy bacteria to your immune system (which is found mainly in the gut) can't hurt and might just be the solution you've been searching for.
So, what are the best probiotics for women over 50?
The best probiotics for women over 50 are going to be specific to each woman's needs — and whether they're stomach-related issues, like diarrhea and leaky gut, or general health issues, like urinary tract health or weight loss, there's a probiotic out there for you. The best place to start is to figure out the type of probiotics you want to add to your diet. According to the American Nutrition Association, "the recommended daily intake for probiotic supplements can range from 1 billion CFU, (or colony forming units) to 100 billion CFU per day." If you find your gut (and overall) health to be pretty good, then a low number of CFUs can be all you need. However, since our immune systems weaken as we age, a higher number is needed to stay healthy and see significant results, so anything ranging from the 25 to 50 billion CFU count is a great place to start.
Remember, as with any supplement, it's important to consult your doctor before adding a probiotic to your daily vitamin regimen. However, if you're ready to pick something up or simply want to educate yourself on what's out there, there is no harm in reading on. Keep scrolling for 13 options for the best probiotic for women over 50 on the market today.