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The best probiotics for women
Many people hear the word bacteria and feel uneasy. Bacteria live in our bodies and can cause disease and worse. But it’s important to understand that there are good bacteria, the type which is actually good for our health. It’s true there are billions of types (they’re called strains) of bacteria and the good ones can be added to our body through certain foods such as yoghurt and buttermilk, and from certain supplements. In simple terms, the best and the most natural probiotics are found in fermented food. But other foods which are solid suppliers of probiotics include tomatoes, onions, leeks, soy beans, asparagus and bananas.
We get many of our words from Latin and two words – pro and biota – have come together to give us probiotics. The original Latin meaning is ‘for life’. So thinking about good health, both obtaining and maintaining it, think healthy life and think probiotics. The catch phrase to get people to improve their digestion (as well as many other areas of health) is to join the culture club. Get those good bacteria into your system.
Probiotics for women
Despite the massive changes in the workforce – it wasn’t so long ago that women had to resign from government jobs once they married – and the invention of labour-saving devices, women still are heavily involved in domestic chores. Many such women also have a job so raising a family is no mean feat in today’s society. Busy doesn’t cover it for many women.
That can lead to many women not spending the time they should in looking after their own health and wellbeing. Getting the right balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is so important. That’s where a single, simple probiotic a day can do so much good for a woman’s health.
There are a number of conditions or problem areas where a woman’s health comes under pressure.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) and vaginal health are two areas where nasty problems including thrush can develop. Probiotics may prevent such infections taking hold in the first place and, if they do, probiotics can weaken the severity of your suffering.
Of course taking any probiotic should be preceded by a consultation. Talk to your doctor about your condition and what you would like to achieve. If you’ve been on a course of antibiotics recently, or been suffering from a poor diet, your body will be in need of repair – too many toxins if nothing else. The appropriate probiotic can do wonders to get your gut health back to where it should be.
If you wish to tackle a specific area of health or a condition, you need to know that different strains of probiotics are better for some things than others. Make sure you get a professional medical opinion before starting your probiotic course, and make sure it’s the right probiotic for your specific need.
Most people understand probiotics to serve as a major benefit to the gut, the person’s digestive system. Quite true but for women, the so-called sensitive half of the human race, probiotics can play a major role in helping not just with digestion but in other fields as well.
Probiotics can assist a woman’s mental health by enhancing her mood. Depression and anxiety can have a major impact on a women’s overall health but some women have found a lessening of stress and alleviation of mental worries by taking probiotics.
Many women experience weight issues and try a diet to assist in losing weight. Many women have found that probiotics can assist the speed of weight loss when used in conjunction with a genuine weight loss program. By using probiotics to balance the bacteria in their gut, women have been able to accelerate the weight loss.
Skin conditions can be removed or improved thanks to probiotics which line the gut. This means less likelihood of inflammation, the cause of different unhealthy skin conditions.
Expectant mothers and those with a new baby may well find that probiotics helps reduce or prevent different allergies in their child.
An imbalance in the yeast levels for a woman can cause problems. It can create fungus which in turn can lead to other unwanted conditions. Probiotics can keep the good and bad bacteria levels in check thus keeping yeast content safe.
Types of probiotics for women
It’s important to know that while all probiotics are good for you, some are better than others. For example, some contain more strains than others. Some have strains which are ideal for certain conditions. Be smart. Find out about your needs and make sure you settle for the ideal probiotic.
A probiotic can best be described by its contents. Here are the major strains found in different probiotics together with the conditions they treat and the function or functions they serve. Remember knowledge is power and one size fits all is not true when it comes to specific situations with women. Know your strains and take the ideal probiotic for your condition. Here is a brief description of four major bacterium found in probiotics and what they can do specifically for women’s health.
- Lactobacillus is the most important strain in the world of good bacteria. You want this strain. It helps break down sugar in milk and in the production of lactic acid. This is important because it helps your body absorb important minerals such as iron and calcium. Women as they age know the importance of calcium for their bones.
- Bifidobacterium is a strain located in your large intestine which attacks bad bacteria and produces lactic acid which in turn provides energy for those cells important to the good health of your gut. This strain also produces B vitamins and Vitamin K with the latter important in the good health of your skin, bones and hair.
- Bacillus is a strain known to live long remaining in your body longer than other bacteria. This strain helps with overall digestion, in providing relief from constipation and importantly, is most effective in promoting good vaginal health.
- Streptococcus is a strain you will see mentioned in oral health articles as it’s a strain which affords overall immunity support and, in particular, assists in developing healthy teeth and gums.
Overall advice in selecting probiotics
Knowing which probiotic is best for you is vital. Knowing the major strains and how they work is vital. But here are some simple pointers in making your use of probiotics the best it can be.
Know your CFUs. A Colony Forming Unit (CFU) is a way of measuring the culture count in your probiotic. There are some brands of probiotic which have 80 billion CFUs. That’s good. The more the better. But don’t settle for less than 10 billion CFUs. Learn how to read the label and the promotional material.
Know your strains. This is like the CFUs. The more the better. If the probiotic has at least 10 strains, you’re on the right track. But also remember that a large number of strains may not work as well if you’re targeting a specific condition. Know what strain works best with your condition. Make sure it’s in the probiotic and then have other strains as well.
Wear protection. Make sure the capsules have a covering or coating which is resistant to stomach acid. If the coating is present, two things will happen. The strain won’t be attacked successfully by your stomach acid, and you’ll be far less likely to get an upset stomach.
What else is inside? This is where having some basic knowledge about probiotics (such as those listed in this article) is a real benefit. You want to select strains which are known as native strains. If the contents are listed under Streptococcus, lactobacillus, E. coli, and Bifidobacterium, you’re on the right track. Avoid fillers but if the label advises that added vitamins and minerals are present, go with that one.
The use by date is important. Actually it’s very important and always choose the probiotic with the longest time to go. Refrigerate your purchase as soon as possible.
Prebiotics are a preparatory strain helping your probiotics work most effectively. A good prebiotic is inulin.
Dosage is crucial. You need to understand probiotics usually don’t hang around in your system for long which means a daily capsule can be ideal to maintain the goodness the probiotic provides. Not that we would ever suggest you take too many probiotics but it is almost impossible to overdose on them.
- Complete Probiotics Platinum is highly regarded. It contains 50 billion CFUs and 11 robust strains. The coating of each capsule is designed to prevent stomach acid from weakening the power of the culture. It’s a vegan product being gluten, soy and preservative free. Almost 50% of reviewers score this probiotic with 5 stars.
- The Garden of Life – RAW Probiotics for Women comes highly recommended. It contains 85 billion CFUs and 33 probiotic strains from Lactobacillus, acidophilus and Bifidobacterium all of which are good for digestive health. For women, this probiotic is recommended because it assists with maintaining sound vaginal health, regular bowel movements, and the absorption of nutrients. Many women suffer from thyroid issues and this probiotic leans support to good thyroid health. It must be kept in your fridge. 75% of reviewers give this product a 5 star rating. Complaints are mainly to do with the lack of a cold pack for delivery.
- Hyperbiotics Pro-Women comes with some serious hype claiming to work better than most other brands. It deals specifically with yeast infections. It has around 75 billion CFUs and 6 probiotic strains. Unlike most probiotics it does not require to be kept in the fridge. The capsules are larger in size than most which may be a problem for those who do not like to swallow so large a capsule. Three-quarters of reviewers award this probiotic 5 stars with the majority of unhappy customers having expectations which they feel were not met.
- Garden of Life Dr Formulated probiotics contains 50 billion CFUs and 16 strains of probiotics. They do not require refrigeration and aim to assist women’s health in a broad way including supporting your digestive and immune systems. Women with bloating and gastro issues have found this probiotic to be most helpful. About 70% of reviewers gave this probiotic 5 stars. Those who rated it poorly complained about the wrong use-by date, a shortage of capsules and the smell when the package was opened.
- Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora Probiotic has 90 billion CFUs and 12 strains making it a powerful probiotic. It aims to specifically help vaginal and urinary health conditions. It has a slow release benefit and must be kept refrigerated. When 75% of your customers rate your product with 5 stars, you must be doing something right. Unhappy customers claimed they noticed no benefits.
- Iflora Women from Sedona Labs comes in quite a small pill form making them easier to swallow. It contains 30 billion CFUs and 6 strains which is considerably fewer than other probiotics. It does not require refrigeration and claims to work effectively in supporting good vaginal and urinary tract health. Like most probiotics, it also serves to aid a healthy digestive system. 73% of users reviewed gave it 5 stars. Those who were unhappy suffered from yeast infections or found little benefit.
- Renew Life has a second probiotic for women known as Ultimate Flora Probiotic. It has fewer CFUs and strains than its sister product. This one has 50 billion CFUs and 10 strains. It’s designed to again assist with vaginal health but also purports to provide a better immune system. It uses a high potency formula which means it might have an unwanted side effect on people taking a probiotic for the first time. It needs to be kept in the fridge. 84% of reviewers scored this probiotic with 5 stars (74%) or 4 stars (10%). Unhappy purchasers claimed it made little or no difference.
- Probiotic Pro-40 capsules contain 40 billion CFUs and the manufacturers claim their probiotic stays alive and active up to 3 times longer than other products. They provide no evidence for this claim and have difficulty with spelling in their blurb. 73% of reviewers gave it a 5 star rating with unhappy clients claiming the probiotic gave them gas and caused bloating.
- Natural Riches Probiotics Supplement for Women aims to help women wanting to maintain a stable and healthy digestive system as well as the health of their colon. It has 30 billion CFUs within two capsules but the manufacturer does not list the number of probiotic strains contained with the product. It would appear to be one of the few probiotics which comes with a money-back guarantee. Two-thirds of customers reviewed gave this product 5 stars but complaints from unhappy purchasers are strong complaining about bloating.
- Vitamin Bounty – Women’s Pro-daily probiotic is touted as an excellent probiotic for women who have yet to start taking the product. It has 10 billion CFUs and 6 strains making it one of the lowest probiotics in terms of CFUs and strains. It also contains prebiotics meaning, as a beginner, it is a one-stop-shop probiotic. The recommended dosage is double what most other probiotics suggest – i.e. 2 capsules a day instead of the more common one. It should be taken with meals. An impressive 86% of clients rated this probiotic 5 stars with a further 10% giving it 4 stars. One reviewer claims the company offers a free bottle of capsules in return for a 5 star review.