Best probiotics for IBS

Probiotics

Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome is a large category with subcategories that include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Even those with mild bloating, gas, constipation and intestine inflammation can be considered to have IBS.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which probiotics for IBS are best?

It is a probiotics job to boost the creation of friendly bacteria in the gut. The presence of this bacteria leaves less room for the bad bacteria that causes digestive discomfort in those with various forms of IBS. Some flora contained in probiotics help break down food and reduce stress on the gut leading to more normal bowel movements and less bloating. Probiotics have been shown to produce anti-inflammatory effects and improve the integrity of the gut wall

This alone suggests that probiotics can treat certain forms of IBS, but that has not been entirely proven. When purchasing a probiotic for IBS, consider the specific type of strains, CFUs, dosage and the presence of a prebiotic depending on the type of IBS.  

If you are looking for a probiotic that contains the necessary bacteria to relieve effects of IBS disorders, the 1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum is the top choice.

What is IBS?

IBS is a broad term that is used to define Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as general stomach sensitivities. These sensitivities can include gas, bloating, constipation and other intestinal issues. Every 450 out of 100,000 people are affected by IBS. 

There are varying levels to these sensitivities and the direct cause is yet to be proven. Scientists believe it to be caused by a number of possible factors, including antibiotic interaction, genetics, immunity, gut microbiome and environmental factors.  

What to know before you buy probiotics for IBS

Strains

Probiotic strains are genetic subtypes that all have different effects on the body. These can be found in lengthy scientific names contained in the ingredients list on the product’s container. For example, most probiotics contain bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. These strains support immunity and produce lactic acid, which helps control the population of bad bacteria in the intestine. These specific strains have been proven to be effective against IBS. 

CFUs

CFUs are defined as colony forming units and tell you the number of living organisms per dose. A high number of CFUs can be of benefit, but they can also cause an upset stomach, bloating or gas. A good number of CFUs for most people is 50 billion, but not everyone has a standard functioning digestive system. Those with IBS should not take this information lightly and start with a product with lower CFUs so as to not upset their stomach even more. 

B. longum can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. It may also promote regularity, so if you suffer from constipation, you may wish to consider it. Studies suggest that the number of CFUs can vary depending on what type of irritable bowel symptoms you experience. 

Dosage

The most common form of probiotic is designed in a capsule. Each capsule contains the recommended amount of probiotics that should be taken. If you have an irritable bowel, consider taking probiotics that are less strong to start so that you do not accidentally overpopulate your intestines with bacteria. When you purchase a probiotic, be sure to check the dosage recommendation on the side, as taking too many probiotics could result in adverse effects.

Refrigeration 

Probiotics are labeled as either “shelf stable” or “arrive alive.” Shelf-stable products don’t need to be refrigerated to maintain potency and keep the cultures alive. Products that specify refrigeration should always be kept cold to avoid a loss of potency. If you’re ordering one of these products online and it requires refrigeration, it could lose effectiveness while being shipped. Those with irritable bowels should avoid probiotics that need to be refrigerated due to the negative effects that they can have on the body if they spend too much time in the heat. 

Prebiotics 

Prebiotics contain fiber that feeds probiotics, helping them to populate the gut. Those with Crohn’s disease, in particular, should avoid the presence of prebiotics due to the added fiber content. Those with this disease experience negative effects with too much fiber intake. If you are not diagnosed with an IBS disorder but still experience mild bloating and stomach discomfort, contact a doctor before adding a prebiotic to your routine. 

What to look for in quality probiotics for IBS

Preservatives

A safe probiotic for IBS will be made without preservatives. The use of preservatives and various chemicals popular among other probiotics can cause allergic reactions or irritate the lining of the gut. When purchasing a probiotic for IBS, consider checking what the capsule is made out of and if it contains any preservatives that your body may be sensitive to. 

Vegan and gluten-free 

All good probiotics for IBS are made without GMOs and can be any combination of vegetarian, gluten-free, soy-free and vegan. Since people with IBS already have a sensitive stomach that experiences irritation, it is important to make sure that there is no lactose or added chemicals present in the probiotic. This will only harm the gut in the long run.

For more information, take a look at the full probiotic buying guide from BestReviews.

How much you can expect to spend on probiotics for IBS

Inexpensive probiotics for IBS are anywhere from $25-$30, with mid-range products around $35 and higher-end products from $35-$60. The more expensive the product, the more strains and CFUs and the more specific health benefits that the product provides. Pricing depends on how many capsules or ounces are contained in a product.

Probiotics for IBS FAQ

Do probiotics expire? 

A. Probiotics last up to a year after the printed expiration date. After this, the product will rapidly lose potency and possibly become harmful. Check the exact expiration date on the side of the bottle when you purchase it and before you decide to take it again after a long period of time. 

Will probiotics completely cure my IBS? 

A. There are no current studies that prove the presence of a probiotic will cure IBS in its entirety. In some cases, it has been known to reduce symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that there are so many different kinds of IBS that all have different effects and sensitivities. The general spectrum of IBS cannot be cured by simply taking a probiotic, but it can ease the symptoms that you experience. 

What’s the best probiotic for IBS to buy?

Top probiotic for IBS

1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum

1MD Complete Probiotics Platinum 

What you need to know: This 11-strain probiotic contains live CFUs to help support proper digestion and whole-body health. 

What you’ll love: This product was formulated by doctors and helps encourage microbial balance in the gut to alleviate gas, bloating and indigestion associated with IBS. 

What you should consider: Probiotics retain potency better in glass containers. The plastic container may reduce the potency of the product.  

Where to buy: Amazon

Top probiotic for IBS for the money

Optibac Probiotics Everyday

Optibac Probiotics Every Day

What you need to know: Each capsule contains a guaranteed 5 billion probiotic bacteria from six strains of friendly bacteria shown to complement the natural gut bacteria. These strains are high quality, clinically trialed and proven to survive to reach the gut alive. 

What you’ll love: This supplement contains bacteria suitable for vegetarians and those with other intestine intolerances. It is free of added sugars and artificial flavorings while not needing refrigeration. Users can choose to swallow the capsule or break it open and mix it in with food. 

What you should consider: Some users have experienced vertigo and headaches after a few weeks of taking this supplement. 

Where to buy: Amazon

Worth checking out

RenewLife Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic 50 Billion Live Cultures

RenewLife Ultimate Flora Extra Care Probiotic 

What you need to know: This 12-strain probiotic is the number one most studied strain and does not contain any added GMOs. 

What you’ll love: The capsules are small and easy to swallow as well as being gluten, dairy and soy-free. Each capsule contains delayed-release technology that allows the probiotic to reach your gut while still alive. 

What you should consider: This product needs to be refrigerated. If not refrigerated, it can cause more stomach sensitivity.  

Where to buy: iHerb

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.