In the past few years, probiotics have become more and more popular. They balance out the flora in the intestines, adding good bacteria to counteract the bad. This can help with bloating and indigestion, and may even improve an individual’s immunity. When you have a stomach virus or are getting a cold, taking a probiotic supplement can improve your symptoms faster than anything. Individuals who take probiotics regularly report getting sick less frequently and experiencing lower cholesterol levels and improved digestive function. All probiotic supplements are not created equally, however. In order for them to be effective, these pills and powders must contain live cultures. The complete number of good bacteria in the probiotics is a significant factor in its effectiveness, as is the total number of different strains of bacteria. Find out which probiotics fit the bill for improving your health.

1. BioTecture Probiotic: $20.17, Amazon



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This probiotic enhances the good bacteria you already have in your body. Each bottle contains 30 capsules of acidophilus lactobacillus, a naturally occurring bacterium. BioTecture probiotics can help improve symptoms of digestive distress without upsetting your stomach. Users say this probiotic has led to reduced inflammation, decreased heartburn, and better digestion. When taken according to package directions, this bottle of probiotics should last you a month to improve your overall well-being.

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2. Optimum Probiotics Deep Immune Support: $21.82, Amazon



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This targeted-release formula delivers results within hours. The probiotic, which is appropriate for men, women and children, contains 4.4 billion colony-forming units, or CFU, of probiotics, as well as a patented prebiotic that provides food for these good bacteria. The vegetarian and kosher capsules have a protective coating that allows them to pass through the stomach undigested to deliver the bacteria to the intestines, where they’re needed most. Optimum Probiotics Deep Immune Support doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has a long shelf life, which means you can be secure knowing it's full of live strains of probiotics every time you take one.

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3. Nutrition Essentials Probiotic: $17.99, Amazon

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If you want a power-packed probiotic, Nutrition Essentials has 200 percent more CFU per serving than most other probiotic brands. The 60-day supply can help you to have regular bowel movements and can improve your cardiovascular health. The company reports that the product increases absorption of vitamins and minerals, improves the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, and enhances urinary function, in addition to being completely natural. This probiotic is manufactured in the U.S. and does not need refrigeration. Most users report feeling results within a few days. 

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4. Nature’s Bounty Acidophilus Probiotic: $10.43, Amazon



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While encapsulated, this probiotic contains 100 million active cultures, and it should be refrigerated to maintain its benefits. Users report improved bowel regularity and reduced bloating when taking these probiotic capsules. Even those who felt healthy before say that they feel even better after consuming Nature’s Bounty acidophilus regularly. This product contains few fillers, so it’s appropriate for people with food allergies and sensitivities. It supplies a friendly bacteria that enhances your body’s elimination processes and overall well-being.

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5. Naturo Sciences Probiotic 15: $29.97, Amazon



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These time-released capsules are coated to make it through the stomach acid in order to release the probiotics in the digestive tract. Because they are packaged individually with dry nitrogen, they have a long shelf life. This guarantees that more of the bacteria are alive when you take the capsules. The supplements also contain chicory inulin, a prebiotic that helps the good bacteria survive in your system. You should feel better rapidly when taking these probiotics.

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6. Hyperbiotics Pro-15: $23.70, Amazon



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The small pearls in the Hyperbiotics Pro-15 are easy to swallow to deliver potency exactly where it’s needed. The living bacteria is directed deep into your digestive system, where it is released to help balance your gut flora. Users report feeling increased energy and improved mood when taking Hyperbiotics Pro-15. These pearls contain 15 strains of bacteria and 5 billion CFU, as well as a prebiotic that supports the growth of the probiotics.

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7. Align Probiotic Supplement: $28.78, Amazon



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Align Probiotics contain an exclusive strain of bacteria, B. infantis 35624, that isn’t found in any other probiotic on the market. When taken on a daily basis, your gut flora will be fortified all day, every day. This product is freeze dried, so it doesn’t require refrigeration. Each capsule contains 1 billion units of bacteria that, when stored in the proper conditions, will live at least until the expiration date on the package. 

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Because each individual will respond to probiotics differently, certain strains of bacteria are more effective in some bodies compared to others. If you’ve tried probiotics before and didn’t see results, you can try one of these probiotic formulas. A formula that contains prebiotics or one that is in the form of coated capsules may be more effective if other products haven’t worked for you before.

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