Most people are familiar with probiotics and have a general gist of why they need more of the good bacteria in their diet. However, not all probiotic strains are created equally. Depending on specific health issues, some people may benefit from certain types of strains. With that in mind, the top probiotics for women may not necessarily be the same as what would be recommended for men or children. Of course, the probiotics we list below are also beneficial for men and kids alike, but women will especially find them useful for alleviating issues specific to their gender.
1. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Reuteri
The lactobacillus probiotic is one of the more extensively studied strains and is found in most probiotic supplements. The bacteria reside in the intestines and break down milk sugar into lactic acid. Studies1 show the lactobacillus probiotic — and specifically lactobacillus rhamnosus — may offset the effects of Crohn’s disease.
So, what makes lactobacillus one of the best probiotics for women? In women, the strain resides largely in the urogenital tract, which consists of the urinary and vaginal tract. This area is especially prone to yeast and other pathogenic bacterial infection.
The probiotic may be helpful in treating bacterial vaginosis, thrush and cystitis. Clinical trials show both lactobacillus rhamnosus and reuteri are able to survive the journey through the gut and colonize the vagina.
2. Bifidobacterium Longum
Constipation is not a gender-specific problem by any means. However, two-thirds of the 4.5 million Americans who suffer from chronic bloating and gas are female. While the reason is not entirely understood, some doctors believe this is due to the difference in pelvic shape and size. In any case, women bear the brunt of indigestion.
The probiotic bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) is a good choice for treating constipation due to its ability to proliferate the colon. Studies2 have also confirmed the probiotic’s ability to alleviate the effects of chronic bloating.
The ramifications of indigestion are far-reaching. Aside from gas, it can also lead to hormonal disturbances. One of the liver’s many functions is to discard spent hormones through fecal matter. However, when you’re constipated, the fecal matter remains in the colon where some of the old hormones are reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. This makes B. lactis all the more important as a women’s probiotic.
3. Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Probiotics for women definitely should include lactobacillus acidophilus. This has a very similar effect as rhamnosus and reuteri. This strain colonizes the vagina and cervix where it produces healthy organic acids that neutralize pathogenic microbes. Studies3 hint that this particular strain may ward off yeast infections.
It may also combat against a number of other harmful pathogens, such as Salmonella and Staphylococcus, both common culprits of food poisoning. It may also treat the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge, a bad case of diarrhea caused by E. coli.
4. Bifidobacterium Breve
Human breast milk contains over 600 strains of bacteria. Though we list B. breve here, this is just one of the many probiotics present in raw milk.
It was previously thought that probiotics reside solely in the gut. However, new research suggests this is far from the case. One study4 showed that mothers who took a women’s probiotic supplement before and after giving birth had significantly higher concentrations of probiotic strains and cytokines in their breast milk. Furthermore, their infants also had higher levels of the antibody sIgA, which protects against harmful pathogens. The babies also experienced fewer digestive problems and instances of regurgitation.
As mentioned, B. breve is one of the strains found in breast milk. It also includes others in the Bifidobacterium family, such as B. bifidum, B. dentium, B. adolescentis and the aforementioned B. Longum.
What About Probiotic Supplements for Women?
You may notice a proliferation of various probiotic supplements intended specifically for females. Do the formulas in these brands contain the best probiotics for women? In most cases, they do. However, we believe probiotics geared towards women are mostly a marketing gimmick. The probiotics listed above are already present in most general probiotic supplements. After all, they’re beneficial for men as well.
The important thing is to scout for a formula with multiple strains. If it contains the ones we listed, then you’ll benefit from it regardless of whether it’s made specifically for women. Our very own Floracil50 is optimized with the most studied and research-verified strains. Women and men alike will benefit equally.
Probiotics For Women Promote Health
As you can see, there are some major perks of taking probiotics that are specific to a woman’s needs. With the different strains, it’s also important that you don’t merely aim for any product with a probiotic label. Be mindful of the specific strains. While many share overlapping functions, studies show some strains may be more beneficial for treating specific ailments.
Neither women nor men can go wrong with a multi-strain probiotic like Floracil50. Its formula is designed to optimize gut function, which ultimately and indirectly benefits other areas of health.
Citations and Sources
- Cho Y, Kim J. Effect of Probiotics on Blood Lipid Concentrations: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2015;94(43):e1714. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26512560.
- Kondo J, Xiao J, Shirahata A, et al. Modulatory effects of Bifidobacterium longum BB536 on defecation in elderly patients receiving enteral feeding. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(14):2162-2170. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3627880.
- Falagas M, Betsi G, Athanasiou S. Probiotics for prevention of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a review. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2006;58(2):266-272. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16790461.
- Baldassarre M, Di M, Mastromarino P, et al. Administration of a Multi-Strain Probiotic Product to Women in the Perinatal Period Differentially Affects the Breast Milk Cytokine Profile and May Have Beneficial Effects on Neonatal Gastrointestinal Functional Symptoms. A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(11). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27801789.