Probiotics are an essential part of our daily diet, but seeing a lot of them come from dairy sources, it can be difficult for vegans to naturally get probiotics in their diet unless they’re eating tons of soy and fermented foods like tempeh.
The name itself is derived from the Latin 'pro-' meaning 'for' and the Greek '-biotic' meaning 'life. Probiotics are the helpful bacteria that live primarily in your gut and play a crucial role in your overall health by fighting pathogens and yeast that lead to a weakened immune system.
- Jeannel Astarita, Skincare Expert
However, don’t worry about failing your digestive system if you’re a vegan – here, we have compiled a list of the best vegan probiotic
Vegan Probiotic Supplements (2021 Updated)
1 - LiveWell
One capsule of Pro-45 from Livewell is a probiotic formula that contains 45 billion live cultures and 11 clinically studied probiotic strains. All of which assist in digestive and immunity support.
The capsule comes with a delayed-release response to ensure that probiotics are delivered deeper into the intestinal tract.
I also like the fact that the product contains a prebiotic fiber to help in boosting the vitality and growth of good gut flora.
- Pro-45 Probiotic Blend: 500mg
- Total CFU Count: 46.4 Billion
- Nutra Flora Prebiotic Fiber: 100mg
- 45 Billion CFUs
- Delayed-release capsule
- Contains a Prebiotic-fiber
- No added fillers
- It’s more expensive than your average probiotics
2 - 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum
The 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum has 51 billion CFUs and 11 probiotic strains in one capsule. All of which is helpful in encouraging microbial balance in the digestive tract.
The product also contains a Nutraflora Prebiotic Fiber which serves as your probiotic’s food so they can function well. The capsule is also extra thick, delaying the release of probiotics until they reach the intestines.
The best part is it contains fillers. It is free of gluten, soy, and preservatives.
- Complete Probiotic Blend: 500mg
- Total CFU Count: 51 Billion CFU
- Nutra Flora Prebiotic Fiber: 100mg
51 billion living CFUs Includes 1 NutraFlora Prebiotic Fiber Vegan-friendly Gluten, soy, and preservative-free
- Can cause bloating or gas
It’s best to take the product on an empty stomach so you don’t get any funny feeling when you take the product.
3 - LYFE Super Probiotic Ultra Strength
The Super Probiotic Ultra Strength from Lyfe Fuel has 50 billion colony forming units (CFU). CFUs are the colonies of good bacteria that keep your gut healthy and boost your immune system.
Because Super Probiotic is completely dairy-free, it’s ideal for those with frequent tummy issues such as bloating or allergies.
The 12 strains of bacteria also support the absorption of nutrients from food or medications. This means that it may help you build a stronger and healthier body in the long run.
- Total CFU Count: 50 Billion CFU
Has over 50 billion CFUs May help people with allergic reactions Helps boost the immune system
- Aids in nutrient absorption
- It may trigger headaches for some
I personally did not experience any headache with Super Probiotic, but I suggest you read the label first and see if there are ingredients you might have a reaction to.
4 - Ora Organic Capsules
These twice-a-day vegan capsules are made from Jerusalem Artichoke, a unique type of sunflower root which is great for nutrition and naturally filled with probiotics that help your gut to stay healthy.
Each daily serving contains 16 billion CFU, far exceeding the recommended daily average for CFUs, which stands for “Colony Forming Units”.
The capsules contain 6 different probiotic strains, all of which are resistant to acid, meaning your stomach acid won't destroy them.
- Ora Organic Probiotic Blend: 110mg
- Total CFU Count: 16 Billion CFU
- Ora Organic Prebiotic Blend: 4.5g
- Made from vegan and organic ingredients
- Contains 16 billion CFU per serving with 6 probiotic strains
- Effective in reducing stomach issues
Boosts overall gut health and easy to swallow
- Makes some users feel gassy
If you’re looking to reduce bloating and boost your digestive health, this is one of the top products I could find.
5 - Yuve Vegan Probiotic Sugar-Free Gummies
Isn’t it great when companies make gummies which are suitable for vegans?
It’s even better when those gummies contain 5 billion live cultures of good bacteria with a slew of health benefits.
These 100% vegan dairy free gummies are designed to help provide your gut with the probiotics it needs, helping you to live a positive lifestyle in addition to a good diet and nutrition.
Many customers rave about their reduced bloating with these supplements, and those with allergies appreciate that these gummies are totally soy-free too.
- Sodium: 5mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 3g
- Dietary Fiber: 3g
- Cleanses the intestines with a regular healthy stool
Prevents you from experiencing bloating, gas, and constipation
- Gummies are 100% vegan and sugar-free
- Occasional quality control issues
- Some users dislike the texture
And gummies for adults? Why not?
6 - Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotic & Enzymes
“Mary Ruth” is such a wholesome, grandma-ish name.
These supplements are made from 3 different organic grasses and can effectively be used to help with immune system health and weight loss.
Lactobacillus is the main strain used in this product, although there are many more with a range of health benefits for you to take advantage of.
Try it for yourself and let us know what you feel!
- Proprietary Blend: 3000mg
- Made from pure and organic ingredients that are vegan-friendly
- Fixes digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, and bloating
Safe for those who want to lose weight
- Occasional shipping issues
7 - Naturnetics Flora Pro-Health Daily Probiotic
These shelf stable supplements are some of the top vegan probiotics you can buy, owing largely to their sky-high good bacteria content.
You see, because these products are not stored in the fridge, some of the good bacteria will die off over time.
That’s why each capsule is crammed with 100 billion CFU upon creation, so even if you consume the product 2 years after manufacturing, it will still contain a minimum of 30 billion CFU per serving.
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus : 12 Billion CFU
- Bifidobacterium Lactis: 12 Billion CFU
- Total CFU Count: ~100 Billion CFU
- Contains ~100 billion CFU per serving
- Boosts immune system, gut, and overall health
- No need to be refrigerated
- Individually wrapped capsules – fiddly
The strains in this product are designed to be resistant to stomach acid, so you can rest assured that your body isn’t killing off the good bacteria that are trying so hard to help your gut flourish.
8 - Naturelo Probiotic Supplement
These vegan probiotic capsules contain 11 different strains of bacteria and 50 billion CFU per serving, giving your gut plenty to work with in terms of beneficial bacteria.
Furthermore, the manufacturers claim that their product provides you with additional health benefits, nutrition, weight loss assistance, and helps with irritable bowel syndrome.
When taking this supplement consistently on a daily basis, you'll instantly feel the difference in your gut health.
- 11 Probiotic Strains :
- Total CFU Count: 50 Billion CFU
Contains 50 billion active cultures and 11 probiotic strains
- Relieves digestive comfort and boosts the immune system
- Supports healthy weight loss
- Causes headaches for some people
It can also be stored in room temperature without the need for a refrigerator.
9 - Dr Stern Rebalance Probiotic Supplement
Dr. Stern’s product is among the top vegan probiotic supplements on this list mainly due to its simplicity.
These 20 billion CFU pills have zero additives, fillers, or flavorings, making them about as pure as it gets for your body.
This simple formula is great news for plant-eaters with allergies, as it greatly reduces the likelihood of upsetting your stomach while providing you with beneficial bacteria for your gut.
It's made from 100% plant-based veggie capsules that you will surely love.
- Prebiotic/Probiotic Blend: 334mg
- L-Glutamine: 1g
- 20 billion CFUs
- Simple low-allergen formula
- Easy to swallow
- Production issues with broken capsules
And who doesn't want that?
10 - NaturesZest Probiotic Max Strength
NaturesZest creates some of the best products I’ve ever found in this space, and these vegan probiotic supplements are one of those products.
These UK-made capsules are cheap, shelf stable, and packed with important bacteria (50 billion CFUs per gram).
Each bottle comes with 180 capsules, so you get a 6-month supply with every purchase.
As someone who is a tad forgetful at the best of times, I can’t emphasize how happy this convenience makes me.
- Prebiotic Fructooligosaccharides: 190mg
- Total CFU Count: 50 Billion CFU
- 50 billion CFU per gram
- No need to refrigerate
- Misleading marketing – each capsule actually contains around 20-25 billion CFU
Do Vegans Need To Take Probiotics?
Vegans may need to take probiotics supplements if they’re not getting enough probiotics naturally in their plant-based diet.
You see, many of the foods which are naturally rich in probiotics come from dairy sources, such as yogurt, raw cheese, buttermilk, and more.
As a result, vegans who are not eating a lot of Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, Miso, and other plant-based foods which are high in probiotics should consider taking supplements to maintain a nice balance of bacteria in their gut.
This is especially true if you live in a region where those sorts of foods are hard to come by.
You can also watch this video to know if you need more probiotics in your health.
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics?
The best vegan probiotics have tons of health benefits, such as improved digestion, reduced constipation, and reduced symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) (2).
However, there are also non-digestive health benefits of probiotics, too. For example, there is evidence to suggest that probiotics can have a positive effect on mental health, helping to reduce depression and anxiety.
Probiotics can also help with conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, and problems caused by antibiotics.
It’s estimated that 90% of your serotonin (your body’s feel-good neurotransmitter) is made in your digestive tract and that the production of this chemical is reliant on healthy gut bacteria. Serotonin’s main role is to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood.
byn Youkilis, Gut Health Expert
Are There Any Side Effects To Taking Probiotics?
One of the most common is headaches, which is caused by biogenic amines such as antihistamine and tryptamine, which are created when certain foods are fermented.
There are potential issues to taking probiotics, although everyone reacts to them differently. Some people will experience no issues with probiotics, while others will have problems.
You may also notice allergy systems, which could essentially mean that you’re allergic to a certain strain of probiotic.
However, there are many helpful guides and resources on choosing the best probiotic strains for you, and these should help to reduce symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, and gas.
What Is The Recommended Daily Amount Of Probiotics?
The recommended daily amount of probiotics changes depending on where you look, but the guideline figure seems to be that you should include between 1-10 billion CFUs per day for healthy adults (3).
A study, where adults have taken over 20 billion CFUs per day, has shown that taking this amount has no obvious detrimental effects, although it may be expensive and unnecessary.
Unless the manufacturer explicitly says it’s okay to do so, do not take multiple capsules per day in order to “up the dose”, as this can cause problems with the strains interacting.
If you want to up your dosage, always buy stronger probiotic products.
When Is The Best Time To Take Probiotics?
The best time to take probiotics is in the morning before breakfast, at least for most people.
This is because you’re consuming the supplements on an empty stomach, so your stomach acid isn't in full swing yet.
Excessive stomach acid can kill the good bacteria in the supplements, but your stomach is not very active in the morning.
Many people recommend taking probiotic products 30 minutes before the first meal of the day and with a full glass of water, so make sure that you’ve got time on your side before taking your supplements. Otherwise, you might kill them off and make them less effective.
Read our full article: When To Take probiotics
Vegan Probiotic Buyer’s Guide
There are 2 main things to watch out for if you’re a vegan looking for probiotic supplements:
Many of these bacteria come from dairy products, so always ensure that you’re buying products which get their bacteria from plant-based sources. The manufacturer will usually advertise their product as vegetarian or vegan if this is the case.
If you’re buying probiotics which come in a capsule, make sure that it is not a capsule made from gelatin. Gelatin comes from the bone marrow of cows and pigs (gross, right?) and is commonly used to make “squishy” capsules. When in doubt, ask the manufacturer.
What Are The Best Probiotic Vegan Foods?
If taking bacteria-ridden pills is not really your jam, you could try getting your beneficial bacteria fix by eating the following foods:
- Sauerkraut – who doesn’t love funny-sounding German words? Sauerkraut is essentially pickled cabbage, and the fermentation process it goes through is what creates the healthy bacteria. In fact, most of Sauerkraut's health benefits are related to its high content of probiotic beneficial bacteria.
- Kimchi – this Korean dish is made from fermented vegetables. Although there are fish-filled versions of this classic Eastern food, there is also a vegan version which contains just as much healthy bacteria as its animal-derived counterpart. If you’re looking to get your bacteria fix through something a little exotic, kimchi could be a good option (4).
- Kombucha – Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a “SCOBY” (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeasts). It is thought that the fermentation process it goes through could help it to contain healthy gut bacteria, but there is not loads of evidence to confirm this otherwise long-held belief.
- Sourdough Bread – the dough of this bread is fermented using Lactobacillus cultures, meaning that it naturally contains a lot of healthy gut bacteria. However, many of these bacteria can be killed during the baking process, so don’t rely on sourdough for your digestive health entirely.
- Pickled Vegetables – In case you didn’t notice, 2 of the entries on this list are essentially pickled vegetables, and that’s going to be a running theme if you’re looking for vegan probiotic foods.
The best probiotic vegan foods are not always easy to come by, but you can find them if you know where to shop and you look in the right places.
If you’re not into pickled vegetables or you dislike their acidic taste, you may want to consider taking supplement products and vegan multivitamins to meet your needs instead.
Does Dairy-Free Yogurt Still Have Probiotics?
Yes, dairy-free yogurt still contains probiotics. This is because the probiotic bacteria are created by the fermentation process, something which happens whether the yogurt is milk-based or not. Of course, you should always check the label or speak to the manufacturer of the product if you’re unsure, but it’s a safe bet that vegan yogurts still contain healthy bacteria for your bowel.
What Is the Most Effective Probiotic?
The most effective and widely-used probiotic tends to be Lactobacillus strains. However, specific strains have specific effects on the body, so when it comes to the most “effective” probiotic, it depends on what effects you’re looking for.
For example, B. lactis has been found to help with constipation, while Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been found to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea and stool problems. Decide what your body needs before choosing an effective supplement.
What's the Difference Between Digestive Enzymes vs Probiotics?
They are very similar in that they both work the digestive system and support immune health; however, enzymes also work the metabolic processes in the body.
Best Vegan Probiotic?
After extensive research, we find that the LiveWell Pro-45 deserves the spot as one of the best vegan probiotics in the market.
Each capsule comes with a delayed-release response to ensure that probiotics are delivered deeper into the intestinal tract.
We also like the fact that the product contains a prebiotic fiber, helping boost the vitality and growth of good gut flora.
The 45 billion live cultures and 11 clinically studied probiotic strains aid well in enhancing nutrient absorption as well as alleviating gas and bloating.
The price may be competitive, but considering all the benefits you get, we’d say it’s all worth it.