What Are The Best Probiotics Supplements For Gut Health?

What Are The Best Probiotics Supplements For Gut Health?

Many of us look after our skin by drinking water and our bodies by working out and eating well—but what about our gut?

Having a healthy gut can help you absorb nutrients better and have a much more efficient immune system. It can even reduce the risk of serious illness and make you feel happier.

We can do this by using—you guessed it—probiotics.

Here, we’ll take a deep dive on all things probiotics and cover what they are, their benefits—and which supplements are best to take for the best possible gut health.

Let’s go.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when consumed in adequate quantities, produce health benefits (1) for the host (us).

We naturally have various types of these beneficial microbes in our gut already, alongside other types of bacteria. While we do have some probiotics in there, having more helps us prevent gastro issues, have a stronger immune system and many other things we’ll cover a bit later.

These microorganisms include strains of bacteria (2), like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, and yeast, such as Saccharomyces boulardii. 

In terms of food, yoghurt and kefir are well known for their probiotic content and live cultures, whereas fermented foods like kimchi have probiotics in them as a result of their fermentation process.

People also get their probiotic needs met through supplements in the form of liquids, tablets, capsules and powders.

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The benefits of probiotics

Probiotics have been studied for their potential benefits on the mind and body. And the findings are pretty impressive.  

Let’s take a look at all the benefits of probiotics and why it may be more than just our gut thanking us for taking them.


Probiotics can influence the gut microbiota, which plays a role in the bidirectional communication pathway between the gut and the brain, known as the gut-brain axis. 

This interaction between the gut and brain may affect brain function and in turn, might improve your mood (3).

Good digestion

Probiotics can also help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is really important for digestive function to be at its best.

SmartFact: Probiotics get to work by restoring the healthy balance of gut bacteria—which we all need to operate our digestion effectively. 

They can even alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome and constipation while helping to restore the balance of good bacteria.

Better skin

Maintaining a healthy gut can even bring positive benefits to your skin.

Did you know? The gut and skin are connected through a pathway known as the gut-skin axis?

This involves the nervous system, immune system, and various signalling pathways. This means that the health of our gut can have a direct impact on the health of our skin.

We don’t know exactly how it all works as it is still being investigated, but it’s thought that a healthy gut microbiome can influence the composition and function of the skin microbiome. 

By promoting a balanced gut microbiome, probiotics can potentially improve skin health.

Amazingly, there is even evidence to suggest that certain strains of probiotic bacteria may help alleviate skin conditions (4) like acne or eczema due to their anti-inflammatory properties.


We’ve touched on this above, but a balanced and healthy gut plays a pretty key role in combating inflammation (5) while supporting immune function. 

This is mostly due to the gut microbiota, which helps regulate the immune system and prevent inflammation.

The gut microbiota produces something called ‘metabolites’ which are small molecules produced during the metabolic process that have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Metabolites play a role in modulating the immune system and helping beneficial bacteria grow in the gut. Kind of like a little army fighting a war against inflammation on the side of immune cells. 

The result is the elimination of pathogens and other harmful substances from the body.

Gut protectors

Probiotics play a role in protecting the gut by reinforcing the intestinal mucosal barrier (6). It acts as a barrier and defence mechanism against pathogens and other foreign substances.

The intestinal mucosal barrier is made up of two layers of mucus which work as a filtration system, allowing nutrients and beneficial molecules to pass through while preventing harmful agents from getting in.

Maintaining the balance of the gut relies on the interactions between the gut microbiota and the mucosal barrier. 

Probiotics help this protective function by supporting gut-based upkeep and strengthening the barrier. 

Should you take probiotics?

As we’ve discovered, research suggests that probiotics can help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria which results in a better mental state, immune function, digestion and much more.

As a result, taking probiotics is a good idea for most people. 

But, there are certain people who shouldn’t take probiotics…

Those with weakened immune systems

Certain groups with compromised immune systems should avoid probiotics. Those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy should consult their doctor before taking probiotics. 

People with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing severe infections (7) from the live bacteria present in probiotics.

Critically ill patients

Those who are critically ill, particularly those in intensive care units, shouldn’t have probiotics due to potential infections. 

Preterm infants

Babies who have been born before 37 weeks of gestation shouldn’t have probiotics. 

When babies are born this early, they’re not yet fully developed, and their body systems haven’t fully grown. In this case, probiotics (8) have the potential to interfere.

Allergy sufferers

Those who have a history of allergic reactions (9) to certain strains of probiotics should steer clear—and people who have allergic reactions to some food or substances should check in with their doctor before starting probiotics.

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How can you get probiotics?

There are many ways you can top up your healthy bacteria in the gut with probiotics. 

Let’s take a look at the main one right now…

Fermented foods

Fermented food products have undergone the process of fermentation, which involves the transformation of raw or partially cooked ingredients by microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, or fungi. 

These microorganisms convert sugars and carbohydrates into alcohol, organic acids, or gases, leading to changes in the flavour, texture, and nutritional profile of the food.

If you eat fermented foods, you could experience the following health benefits…

  • Improved ability to digest lactose
  • Better bone health
  • Reduced risk of developing heart disease
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced risk of developing colon cancer
  • Weight management
  • Healthier blood pressure

Let’s look at some fermented foods.


You can find this fermented cabbage dish in supermarkets and shops. It’s usually in a glass jar. It contains a diverse range of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. 

During sauerkraut fermentation, naturally occurring bacteria and yeast cultures in the raw cabbage multiply and enrich the ferment with live probiotics. 


Yoghurt is widely recognised as one of the most popular sources of probiotics. But do you know why yoghurt has probiotics?

They exist because of the intentional addition of live and active cultures during the fermentation process. 

Strains like Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus acidophilus are used during the fermentation process of yoghurt.

These probiotic strains are added to milk before fermentation and play a key role in converting lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, which gives yoghurt its tangy flavour and helps preserve it. 


Kefir is a fermented milk drink that originated in the Caucasus Mountains. 

It is made by adding kefir grains to milk, which undergo a fermentation process. Kefir grains are a combination of bacteria and yeast that form a symbiotic culture.

The fermentation process of kefir results in the conversion of lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance. The activity of kefir grains also contributes to the formation of a rich and diverse probiotic composition.

Kefir is known for its high probiotic content, containing strains such as Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, Lactobacillus kefir, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium species, among others.

Consuming kefir can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. 

This balance is essential for optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and your complete gut health. The probiotics in kefir can even help reduce symptoms of digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

SmartFact: Kefir's probiotics also exert antimicrobial properties, which may help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens in the gut.

This can support a strong immune system, providing defence against infections and diseases.


Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made by fermenting vegetables, typically cabbage, along with various seasonings. It contains a variety of bacteria strains that act as probiotics.

The fermentation process of kimchi involves lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, which convert the sugars found in cabbage into lactic acid. The lactic acid not only gives kimchi its sour taste but also creates a favourable environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria.

Some of the specific probiotics commonly found in kimchi include Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus sakei, and Leuconostoc species. 

These probiotics offer potential health benefits such as improved digestion, strengthened immune function, and better gut health.


Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made through the process of fermenting soybeans, along with koji (a fungus) and salt. 

This fermentation process gives miso its distinct umami flavour and contributes to the presence of beneficial bacteria.

Due to the fermentation process, miso contains a treasure trove of beneficial bacteria, specifically various strains of probiotics. The specific strains of bacteria present in miso can depend on factors such as the region and the specific production method used.

The probiotics in miso offer potential health benefits. When consumed, they can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. This balance is essential for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption.

Plus, the probiotics in miso may support a robust immune system. They can strengthen the gut barrier, preventing the entry of harmful bacteria and pathogens. 


Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food made from fermented soybeans. It's created by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process, which binds the soybeans into a compact cake-like form.

During fermentation, a specific fungus called Rhizopus oligosporus is used, which acts as a starter culture to break down complex carbohydrates and proteins in the soybeans. This results in its impressive probiotic profile.

The fermentation process of tempeh produces various strains of beneficial bacteria, including Bacillus subtilis. These bacteria have the potential to act as probiotics when consumed.

Probiotics in tempeh can help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, supporting digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Probiotic foods

Probiotic foods are specifically those foods that contain live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast.

These live microorganisms, known as probiotics, can improve your gut health and help balance your gut microbiota.

To ensure the presence of clinically validated health-promoting microorganisms, you should choose foods labelled as ‘probiotic’ or those that contain specific strains (10) of bacteria or yeast.

What are the benefits of probiotic-rich foods? A quick glance…

Beneficial microbes found in probiotics offer numerous advantages for our bodies. One of their primary functions is to actively combat harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites that may try to coexist within us. 

Essentially, probiotics provide support to the beneficial microbes present in our bodies.

Probiotic products are commonly designed with beneficial bacteria and yeasts to prevent or address bacterial or yeast infections in various areas of the body. 

They may help with: gum disease, diarrhoea, acne, UTIs and more. 

Now, let’s look at the best probiotic foods out there.


Gherkins, also known as pickled cucumbers, can be considered good probiotic foods. These small cucumbers are brined in a solution of water, vinegar, salt, and various flavourings, then fermented. 

During the fermentation process, live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus species, are responsible for the transformation of sugars in the cucumbers into lactic acid. 

This acidification not only gives gherkins their characteristic tangy taste but also creates an environment in which beneficial bacteria can thrive.

The fermentation of gherkins promotes the growth of probiotic bacteria, which can bring a host of benefits to your gut health. 

Gherkins are a source of beneficial bacteria that can support the natural microbial diversity in our gut. These bacteria can aid in the breakdown and absorption of nutrients, strengthen the intestinal barrier function, and enhance our immune system.


Kombucha is a type of fermented tea, made from black or green tea, that people enjoy in various parts of the world, particularly in Asia.

Studies show that kombucha may have the potential to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.

Kombucha is fermented with bacteria and yeast. And has health benefits associated with its probiotic properties.

variety of cheeses
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Well, only certain types.

Some cheeses contain probiotics that are beneficial for our gut health. The fermentation process involved in making these cheeses allows beneficial bacteria to thrive, resulting in the presence of probiotics (11).

Here are some examples of cheeses that are known to contain probiotics…

  • Feta
  • Swiss
  • Gouda
  • Edam
  • Caciocavallo
  • Emmental
  • Gruyere
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Parmesan
  • Provolone

Oh, and don’t forget raw, unpasteurized Cheddar (12).

Probiotics in cheese do the same as other food-related probiotics by balancing the microbiome, supporting digestion, and aiding the immune system.


Similar to tempeh and miso, Natto is a fermented soybean product that contains a specific bacterial strain called Bacillus subtilis. 

It is a staple in Japanese cuisine and is often enjoyed with rice, typically eaten for breakfast. Natto has a unique aroma, slippery texture, and strong flavour.

In addition to its distinct attributes, Natto is also rich in protein and vitamin K2. This vitamin is crucial for promoting and maintaining strong bone health and a healthy heart.


Pickles are cucumbers that are preserved in a mixture of salt and water.

The vegetables are left to undergo natural fermentation that is caused by the lactic acid bacteria that are present in them, which contributes to their sour flavour.

Pickled cucumbers are rich in beneficial probiotic bacteria, which can aid in promoting healthy digestion. Plus, they’re low in calories and a good source of vitamin K—a vital nutrient for blood clotting.

The best gut-boosting supplements

Different types of supplements can be beneficial for gut health. When these supplements are combined, their effects can accumulate, resulting in noticeable benefits for your gut.

Let’s take a look at the different types and then recommend the best ones for you.


We know all about these by now.

Probiotic supplements contain beneficial live bacteria or yeasts that can assist our guts in restoring their natural balance of microorganisms.

They are often recommended for maintaining a healthy gut flora (13) and supporting digestion.

Recommended supplement: Gut Daily

Our Gut Daily gummies contain three concentrated forms of beneficial bacteria,  2.25 billion CFU colony-forming units, in fact.

These yummy gummies help boost the friendly bacteria that live in your gut and support your gut health. 

They even include vitamins C and B6 to support immune function and a normal metabolism, as well as vitamins B3 & B5 to support your skin. They’re suitable for vegetarians too.

Digestive enzymes

Digestive enzyme supplements can help to break down food and aid digestion. 

They’re really helpful for those with digestive issues, such as bloating or those who struggle to absorb nutrients efficiently.

Recommended supplement: Ve-Gains

Meet Ve-Gains. This plant-based protein powder V harnesses the might of peas, pumpkins, and fava beans to enhance not just your muscle definition—but your wellbeing and post-exercise recovery too. 

It contains a digestive enzyme to aid digestion and help your body absorb more protein so your nutritional profile (and gut health) can get better, faster.

Fibre supplements

Adequate fibre intake is crucial for good gut health. 

Fibre supplements help nourish your body and help your digestion, encouraging regular bowel movements and keeping your gut bacteria happy. 

Having your daily greens can be a struggle, and it’s easy to miss out on key vitamins and minerals that can keep things running smoothly.

Recommended supplement: SuperGreens+

This powder is our answer to increasing your greens intake. Supergreens+ has a powerful blend high in fibre and fortified with powerful superfoods, including wheat grass, spinach, and spirulina. 

Don’t forget the matcha green tea, apple fibre, wild yam, and extracts of beetroot and grape seed, too because premium, natural ingredients are best for happy guts and bodies.

Meet the Balance Gut Kit from Smart Protein…

Take your gut health seriously with this gut-happy bundle…the Balance Gut Kit. It’s bursting with all the premium products you need for digestive goodness.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies: Get a huge well-being boost with these gummies, complete with a huge 1000mg of apple cider vinegar per serving to help your immune system and get your metabolism ticking along.
  • SuperGreens+ powder: Nourish yourself from the inside out with our high-fibre blend of greens, superfoods, and vitamins, and minerals.
  • Gut Daily: Look after your stomach with our gut-friendly gummies featuring three strains of good bacteria and added vitamins to support your gut, immune system and skin health. 

Arm yourself with all the best products to feel all the benefits of a happy gut and a happy self.


What are probiotics, and how do they work?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to your health, especially your digestive system. They work by restoring the natural balance of microorganisms in the gut.

What are the best probiotics for gut health?

While different probiotics work well for different individuals, some of the top-ranked probiotics for gut health include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Saccharomyces boulardii.

Is there a specific probiotic that is best for women?

Yes, certain probiotic strains are known to support women's health. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Bifidobacterium lactis are some of the best probiotics for women.

Can probiotic supplements be taken as tablets?

Yes, probiotic supplements are available in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, and gummies.

What are the benefits of probiotics for adults?

Probiotics offer several benefits for adults, including improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and relief from digestive disorders such as bloating and diarrhoea.

Are there proven probiotics that are effective and reliable?

Yes, there are reputable probiotic brands that have undergone rigorous testing to ensure their effectiveness. Look for products with strains that have been backed by clinical research.

Which probiotic supplement is the best for overall health and wellness?

When it comes to overall health and wellness, it is best to choose a probiotic supplement that contains a diverse range of strains, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus plantarum.

Are there any probiotics specifically designed for men's health?

Yes, there are probiotics formulated with specific strains targeted towards men's health concerns. Look for products that contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium breve, which have shown benefits for men's gut health.

Can probiotic supplements help with weight management?

While probiotics alone cannot guarantee weight loss, certain strains, such as Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, have been studied for their potential effects on weight management and reducing belly fat.

Are there any probiotic supplements suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Yes, there are probiotic supplements available that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Look for products that clearly state they are suitable for vegetarians/vegans and do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Where can I buy probiotics and probiotic supplements?

Probiotics and probiotic supplements can be found in pharmacies, health food stores, and online retailers. It is important to purchase from reputable sources to ensure product quality and safety.


Smart Protein is committed to sourcing only the best and scientifically-backed research in our articles.

US Department of Health and Human Services


National Library of Medicine


Harvard Medical School


National Library of Medicine








NBC News








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