Gut Health Goodness: Top 7 Probiotic & Prebiotic Supplements

Diet & Nutrition, Gut Health

Most health-conscious individuals know the importance of proper nutrition. That’s why we spend countless hours each week planning a precise menu that includes nutrient rich foods as well as the right serving size, so we can look and feel our best each day.

How much are we factoring in our gut health when making these nutrition decisions?

Gut health plays a major role in a healthy lifestyle. A balanced gut microbiome helps with digestion and nutrient absorption, protects against various diseases and disorders, and could have a positive bearing on our mental health too!

Today, we’re covering all things gut health, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to support healthy gut function to promote better overall health and well-being with the top 7 best probiotic and prebiotic supplements.

 

Understanding Gut Health

To understand gut health, we need to understand exactly what the gut microbiome is and how it works.

According to a 2014 review published in Beneficial Microbes, “the human gut houses one of the most complex and abundant ecosystems composed of up to 1013-1014 microorganisms.” These microorganisms are a mixture of helpful bacteria that provide health benefits and harmful bacteria that cause or contribute to health problems.

Benefits of a healthy gut include:

 

You’ll enjoy these benefits so long as the helpful bacteria are in abundance. Likewise, your gut health, and general health, will suffer if the gut microbiome falls out of balance, or the harmful bacteria begin overpopulating the helpful ones.

So, what happens if your gut becomes unbalanced? Digestive issues, inflammation, and a weakened immune system are the most common symptoms, but an unhealthy gut could contribute to metabolic and mental health disorders if left unchecked.

Eating right and taking supplements will promote a healthy gut microbiome, while things like processed foods, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats impact gut health negatively. Other factors that hurt your gut health include stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and the taking of certain antibiotics.

 

The Role of Probiotics

Your gut contains trillions of bacteria. Probiotics are the good kind, and, while microscopic in size, they have a huge impact on your overall health.

Probiotics help break food down, allowing you to absorb more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals during digestion before the food is converted to waste. Speaking of waste, probiotics also work to improve bowel regularity, helping to alleviate issues like constipation, diarrhea, and IBS.

They enhance immune system function, reduce inflammation and bloating, and recent studies show that probiotics may even be useful for managing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease, to name a few.

Probiotics also have a positive bearing on mental health through what professionals refer to as the gut-brain axis. According to a 2020 review published in Current Opinion in Neurobiology, probiotics have a positive effect on “brain connectivity and mental health outcomes,” which could help with mood disorders.

If you’re looking to add more probiotics to your diet, foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh, and pickles all contain live cultures that aid in healthy gut function.

 

The Importance of Prebiotics

Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are not alive. They are actually non-digestible fibers that good gut bacteria eat, promoting their growth and activity through a process called selective fermentation.

Basically, the body can’t break down prebiotics. They’re indigestible, so they’re still totally intact by the time they make it to the colon. Once there, healthy gut bacteria use special enzymes to finally break them down, creating short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, in the process.

The SCFAs are fantastic. Not only do they act as an energy source for the metabolic processes going on in the colon, they also alter the pH of the environment and make it less hospitable for the bad bacteria that would otherwise wreak havoc on your system.

To sum it all up, it’s this process, selective fermentation, that helps your gut microbiome stay balanced, allows the good bacteria to thrive, and keeps you feeling your best!

To get more prebiotics in your diet, focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The best, most prebiotic heavy choices include garlic, onions, bananas, asparagus, chicory root, legumes, oats, wheat, and barley.

 

Incorporating Prebiotics and Probiotics into Your Diet

Adding more prebiotics and probiotics to your diet sounds hard, but it’s simple. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind when planning a menu that includes more prebiotics and probiotics:

  • Add onions, garlic, and legumes to soups, stews, stir-fries, and sauces
  • Choose oats, barley, or wheat for breads, cereals and other baked goods
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables
  • Try fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles
  • Make smoothies using prebiotic-rich ingredients like bananas, oats, and berries and probiotic-rich ingredients like yogurt and kefir

 

Food is our favorite way to get more prebiotics and probiotics, but there are also supplements available. If you’re looking to purchase one of the best gut health supplements, here are a few things to look out for when making your selection:

  • Strain Specificity: “Probiotics” is an umbrella term for various strains of bacteria and yeasts. Focus on the ones that are clinically proven to get results.
  • Colony-Forming Units (CFUs): CFUs indicate the number of viable microorganisms present in the supplement. A higher number doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better supplement. Check the recommended CFU range for the specific strain you’re taking to know for sure.
  • Prebiotic Fiber Source and Type: Check the specific type of prebiotic fiber used, such as inulin, oligofructose, or others, to make sure it fits your dietary needs or preferences.

 

To make it even easier, here’s a list of the Top 7 best probiotics for gut health, as well as the best prebiotic supplements too:

1. Metamucil Fiber Supplement Gummies

Metamucil Gummies are like Adult Flintstone vitamins you took as kid! They taste great, have no sugar added and have a plant-based Fiber Blend. They are a great addition to your daily supplements that will help you maintain a digestive balance and have your gut feeling good

                      Metamucil Fiber Supplement Gummies

 

2. AG1 Greens Supplement Powder

AG1 (Athletic Greens) is the ultimate all-in-one daily supplement. On top of having almost no sugar, it’s vegan, paleo, keto friendly, and gluten-free. Having been around for over 10 years, they’ve perfected their blend to provide all of the critical daily nutrients your body and gut require.

         Athletic Greens Supplement Powders

 

 

3. Provitalize Natural Menopause Probiotic

As we age, maintaining our health becomes more important. Designed specifically for women, Provitalize is designed to provide multi-symptom relief for women going through menopause. With just 2 capsules per day, it helps improve gut health, soothe bloating and indigestion, and provide that little extra boost of energy you’ve been missing.

       Provitalize Natural Menopause Probiotic

 

 

4. ColonBroom Psyllium Husk Powder Colon Cleaner

Coming in flavors like strawberry and tropical fruits, ColonBroom is the fiber boost you’ve been seeking to clean out the yucky stuff from your gut! This sugar-free formula is a great digestive supplement to make your gut happy again.

                   ColonBroom Psyllium Husk Powder Colon Cleansers

 

5. Benefiber Fiber Supplement 

Coming in both a prebiotic fiber powder or gummies, this daily fiber supplement nourishes the growth of good bacteria that exists naturally in your gut and promotes a healthy digestive system. Easy to use on the go, Benefiber leaves no room for excuses when it comes to not having great gut health.

               Benefiber Fiber Supplement

 

 

6. Culturelle Daily Probiotic Supplement 

Cuturelle is unique on this list because they offer a wide variety of options. Whether it’s their Ultra Strength Probiotic, Daily Probiotic +Veggie Fiber for Kids, or their Metabolism and Weight Management blend that works naturally with your gut microbiome, they have something for everyone. Capsule powered by Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG), these capsules are proven effective, and are clinically studied, to help your digestive system work better.

     Culturelle Daily Probiotic Supplement

 

7. IBgard Pepperment Oil Gut Health Supplement 

Consisting of ultra-purified peppermint oil, IBGard promotes the bacterial balance in your gut that relaxes the digestive system and supports a healthy gut. Also used for IBS help, IBgard will help relieve the pressure and uncomfortable feeling of bloating, gas and other issues that happen when your gut isn’t balanced.

                              IBgard Peppermint Oil Gut Health Supplements

One final thing to keep in mind— take it slow!

Suddenly ramping up your prebiotic and probiotic intake is a surefire recipe for gut distress and discomfort. Add more prebiotics and probiotics gradually for the best results.

When in doubt, consult a certified nutritionist, doctor, or other qualified health professional. They will provide guidance when selecting the best prebiotics and probiotics supplements that fit your diet and needs.

 

Other Lifestyle Factors for a Healthy Gut

Consuming an adequate amount of prebiotics and probiotics will be the most crucial thing for reaping the many rewards of a healthy gut microbiome, but diet isn’t the only factor.

Stress has an adverse effect on gut health. Chronic stress contributes to an imbalance of gut microbiota, giving a new meaning to the expression “sick to your stomach,” as the stress will cause gastric stress and digestive issues.

Stave off these negative effects by managing stress with regular exercise regularly, mindfulness practices like meditation, spa treatments, hobbies, and both social and professional support.

Excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption are also detrimental to gut health, leading to inflammation, dysbiosis, and an increased risk of gastrointestinal disorders. Practice moderation or abstinence from these substances for optimal gut health.

 

Final Thoughts

They say, “Listen to your gut.”

Well, your gut is telling you that prebiotics and probiotics are what you need to heal your gut, so you’ll want to get plenty of both from your diet or from supplements. Doing so unlocks benefits ranging from improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and weight regulation to a stronger immune system and better mental health.

All you have to do is make a few dietary adjustments and exercise regularly, so why not make it a priority starting today?

Trust your gut. You got this!

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