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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.
However, don’t worry about failing your digestive system if you’re a vegan – here, we have compiled a list of the best vegan probiotics products on the market.
Our Top 7 Vegan Probiotic Supplements (2020 Updated)
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1. Ora Organic Capsules (Editor's Choice)
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.
If you’re looking to reduce bloating and boost your digestive health, this is one of the top products I could find.
2. 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.
And gummies for adults? Why not?
3. 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!
4. 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.
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.
5. 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.
It can also be stored in room temperature without the need for a refrigerator.
6. 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.
And who doesn't want that?
7. 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.
It's also not required to be stored inside a refrigerator so you can bring it anywhere you go.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live cultures and beneficial bacteria which are good for your digestive system, canceling out the so-called “bad bacteria” which can otherwise cause problems in your stomach (1).
These bacteria are naturally found in a lot of dairy food sources, such as yogurt, although they can also be found in fermented foods such as tempeh.
There are some vegan sources of probiotics, such as Miso, Kimchi, and Sourdough Bread.
But, if you struggle to get these in your diet, it would be beneficial to check out the best vegan probiotics and ensure that you’re getting an adequate supply every day.
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?
There are many benefits of probiotics, such as improved digestion, reduced constipation, and reduced symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) (2).
However, there are also non-digestive health benefits 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.
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:
- 1Sauerkraut – 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.
- 2Kimchi – 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).
- 3Kombucha – 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.
- 4Sourdough 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.
- 5Pickled 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 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. You can read our full article about it here: digestive enzymes vs probiotics
Our #1 Recommended Vegan Probiotics
All in all, Ora Organic seem to have created a reliable vegan probiotics in the market.
Each serving comes with a whopping 16 billion CFUs, and the pills are made from organic ingredients, which is good if you’re trying to avoid pesticides and artificial nastiness in your lovely vegan diet.
Personally, I found that the pills were really manageable and easy to swallow, which really sets them apart from some of their competing supplements.
They also come at a fair and affordable price, which is always a deciding factor in these tumultuous economic times.
Ora Organic Probiotics
Best Vegan Probiotic Supplement
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