It seems that every year I have a new set of health problems. Not only that, but with each problem comes 10 people trying to sell me something.
When I first learned about probiotics I was immediately thrown off by the unbelievable numbers and health claims on the bottles. I just wanted to find the best probiotic for women over 50, encountering the usual associated health problems.
What Are CFUs?
Colony-forming units (CFUs) are the number of cells able to create a colony. CFUs are used in research to estimate the number of live bacteria present in a sample.
CFUs are typically calculated by counting the number of formed colonies after a sample is plated in agar.
CFUs are the live bacteria in probiotics. They are important because they are what create the health benefits associated with probiotics, such as improved gut health, boosted immunity, and more. When choosing a probiotic, it is important to look for one with a high CFU count.
Many of the counts aren’t accurate and while the health claims are, these probiotics can be found in food. So do you really need them?
The truth is, probably not. With that said, the CFU count in food is even more unreliable due to differences in production and storage. As this article will explore later, the CFU count for sauerkraut can range from 1,000 to 100 million CFUs per serving.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggest that probiotics found in food have a significant impact on health. Bacteria is thought to play a role in everything from immunity to gut health.
What Is the Difference Between CFUs and Cultures?
CFUs and probiotic cultures both refer to the number of live microorganisms in a given sample. CFUs should refer to the percentage of cultures that have been tested to be effective in producing colonies.
It is not uncommon to encounter misleading wordplay or false counts when browsing probiotic supplements.
Probiotics vs Prebiotics
There is a lot of confusion about probiotics and prebiotics. Both are important for gut health but they have different roles.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help improve gut health. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that are food for probiotics. Both probiotics and prebiotics have been shown to boost immune system function, digestion, and reduce inflammation.
11 Best Probiotics for Over 50 Women
#1 – Physician’s Choice 60 Billion Probiotic
This probiotic is designed for adults with a wide range of use cases. The primary species contained are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium which can assist weight loss, digestive, and hormonal issues, among others. This supplement holds some of the most common and versatile probiotic species.
There is also a healthy dosage of prebiotics ensuring efficient absorption. This is an ideal choice if you’re interested in the full range of probiotics benefits.
- The capsules hold 60 Billion CFUs
- There is a combination of probiotics and prebiotics with 10 strains of probiotics
- The pills are contained in a patented shelf-stable bottle
- Some reviews report the pills are difficult to swallow.
#2 – Renew Life Women’s Probiotic
This probiotic was designed specifically for women with strains assisting vaginal, urinal, digestive, and immune health. It contains probiotics that directly assist these areas. This is the ideal probiotic for women interested in these benefits.
While these benefits could be found in other probiotics with higher CFUs, the efficacy of these probiotics in these use cases makes them a better choice for certain women.
Renew life employs a team of scientists including neurobiologists, microbiologists, and chemists.
- The capsules contain 2-90 billion CFU (different options)
- Contained in a proprietary “Shelf stable” bottle.
- They are gluten, dairy, and soy free
- These pills are non-GMO
- Doesn’t contain prebiotics
- One review claims they did a “milk test” where they put the pills in milk. They claim that there wasn’t a reaction, and that indicates that there were no longer live bacteria.
#3 – 1MD Nutrition BiomeMD Probiotics for Women
This probiotic was made for women. The probiotic strains are beneficial for vaginal and digestive health. The high CFU count comes from a company with a long history in probiotics and a devotion to the scientific method. This probiotic is often sold out for a reason.
Reviews show consistent effective treatment and enough happy customers to create a small city. The lack of peer review and high cfu count are compensated for on this front.
- The capsules hold 62 billion CFU
- There are 16 strains and prebiotics
- Low availability
#4 – Garden of Life – RAW Probiotics Women 50 & Wiser
This probiotic was specifically made for women in their 50s. It contains probiotics assisting digestion throughout the entire body. The wide range of probiotic strains can make this supplement applicable for many use cases. Its assistance for digestion can help the entire bodies health.
- Rated at 85 billion CFU’s
- This supplement contains 33 probiotic strains,
- Low availability
- Some users reported a bad taste
#5 – Nutrition Essentials Probiotics for Women & Men
This probiotic makes very bold claims. They state their B.coagulans strain can survive stomach acid. The bottle is also labeled with a 900 billion cfu count; which is actually the count of the entire bottles content.
While this marketing tactic may be dubious, the effects of the probiotics are not with very high reviews and low availability. This is still a good all around general use probiotic.
Broad spectrum probiotics are reliable options for people concerned with their guts bacterial balance or for those who want to experiment with how probiotics benefit them most noticeably.
- 900 billion cfu per bottle = 15 billion per capsule
- Strains: B.coagulans
- Low availability
- Some reviews claim they received the wrong bottle
#6 – Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Ultimate Care
This is a probiotic designed for men and women. It contains a wide range of probiotics for varied use cases. It is third party certified which is one area it stands out.
Aside from a large number of reviews from happy customers, being peer reviewed by scientists is especially valuable in an industry where cfu counts are faked or packaging fails to sustain them.
Aside from the peer review, there are also thousands of happy customers stating their claims were accurate.
Garden of Lifes supplements avoid the usage of artificial or chemical ingredients, offering natural and organic supplements.
- 100 Billion CFU
- 34 probiotic strains
- Third party certified
- Low availability
- Some reviewers claim this company was bought by nestle and prefer not to trust their products.
#7 – Vitamin Bounty Womens Vaginal Probiotic & Prebiotic
This probiotic contains strains benefiting women along with cranberry nutrients. Its intended use is to balance pH levels for vaginal and digestive health.
While the CFU count is low, the efficacy for this specific use case will be attractive to some. It is a good introductory probiotic to those who may be skeptical or uneasy with probiotics
- 10 billion CFU
- 5 probiotic strains
- Low availability
- There are reports of cramps after taking these pills.
#8 – Doctor’s Recipes Women’s Probiotic
This probiotic is designed for digestive, immune, vaginal, and urinary health. It is one of the more affordable options and has good reviews.
The diverse strains included in this probiotic and the low cost offer another good choice for newcomers or life-long probiotic consumers.
- The capsules contain 50 billion CFUs
- The capsules also contain 16 strains of probiotics and prebiotics.
- Some claim Lactobacillus Acidophilus causes weight gain.
#9 – Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement
This probiotic is designed primarily for the digestive health of men or women.
The low CFU count and the inclusion of only one strain targeted toward those who want assisted digestion offers a good introduction to probiotics for those with digestion issues.
Reviewers agreed with the marketed claims with very few debating the efficacy of the product. Scientific peer reviews verifying CFU count are always ideal, but thousands of happy customers are the next best thing.
- 250 mg of 1 unique probiotic strain
- This product has only 1 strain of probiotic that is mostly used in assist with digestion.
#10 – Azo Complete Feminine Balance
This probiotic is designed for vaginal health. While it only has one intended use, it is effective.
As another probiotic with a low CFU and strain count, it offers a good introduction for those with these desired benefits.
Reviewers found this supplement to be effective and honest in its marketing. This is a great sign of a good probiotic and a reliable supplier for future purchases.
- This product contains 5 billion active cultures and 4 strains of probiotics and prebiotics.
- There are a few reports of cramping and diarrhea.
#11 – Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotics for Women
This probiotic is made to boost the immune system of women. The effects on the immune system are especially useful for women with chronic health problems or immune deficiencies.
The effects of these probiotics by reviewers show how life-changing a fortified immune system can be.
This product has reported assistance in balancing vaginal ph levels and general vaginal health.
- This supplement contains 70 billion CFUs with 10 probiotic strains
- Amazon choice
- Less than 10 negative reviews
- Only 500 reviews
What Do Probiotics Do for Women
There is growing evidence that probiotics can help with the vaginal, urinary tract, and yeast infections.
This can help with Bacterial Vaginosis. There is also evidence that probiotics help with digestion, gut health, and weight loss.
Bacteria is a natural part of human health so it isn’t surprising that maintaining a bacterial balance has health benefits.
Benefits of Probiotics for Older Adults
As we age, our gut health can decline. This can lead to a decrease in the number of good bacteria in our gut and an increase in the number of bad bacteria.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help to improve gut health by restoring the balance of good and bad bacteria.
There are many probiotic strains with their own set of benefits. Some are effective for specific health conditions.
Others, such as Longum and L. acidophilus, are more general and can be beneficial for overall gut health.
Some of the most common probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Studies have found that probiotics help relieve symptoms of digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as other conditions like allergies, asthma, and eczema.
How To Choose a Probiotic
- Hot flashes: Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus
- Weight Loss: Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus
- Digestive issues: Saccharomyces boulardii
- Joint pain: Lactobacillus vaginalis, Acidophilus, L. reuteri, Lactobacillus hominis,
- Boosted Immune system: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium, and Lactobacillus
- Bacterial Vaginosis: Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the most common and versatile probiotics. They are species that contain their own strains with specialized usage.
Choose a reputable brand with reasonable claims. CFU counts can be false or misleading.
With that said, probiotic CFU count is important for a few reasons. First, it helps determine the strength of the probiotic.
A higher CFU count means that there are more live, active cultures in the probiotic. This is important because live cultures are what provide the health benefits associated with probiotics.
Second, the CFU count can help you gauge how well a probiotic will work for you. If you tried a probiotic with a low CFU count and didn’t see results, then you may want to try a higher CFU count.
Lastly, the CFU count can help you determine how long a probiotic will last. Probiotics with a higher CFU count will generally have a longer shelf life. Verifying that CFU count, however, is another issue.
There are studies that have tested the CFU count of probiotics. This study found only 27% of probiotics actually met or exceeded their claimed bacterial content.
For this reason, the best indicators are the rating and amount of ratings found in the table above. We compiled all of the most well-reviewed probiotics for a reliable list.
While the counts for many of the supplements are likely off, their reviews indicate that these probiotics’ CFU counts is enough for their intended use.
Probiotics are living bacteria that survive in well-insulated bottles sheltered from sunlight. Look for the tag “shelf-stable” or a variation to see a company’s consideration of this issue. If the bacteria is dead, it won’t do anything for your health.
How Much Probiotic Should a Woman Take Daily
There are many different probiotic supplements on the market, and the amount of probiotics women should take daily can vary depending on their individual needs. There are also a lot of probiotics in nature, and needs can vary further on diet.
Most experts recommend that women consume at least 10-20 billion live probiotics per day for the best results.
Probiotics in Food
Probiotics are found in a variety of food, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. The amount of probiotics depends on how the food was processed and how long it has been stored. As usual, fresh and natural foods are the healthiest.
If you’re looking for food that is high in probiotics, be sure to choose one that is fresh and has been stored properly.
- Greek Yogurt – 1-2 billion active CFUs per gram.
- Sauerkraut – 1,000-100 million CFUs per serving
- Kimchi – 3.6 billion CFUs per cup
CFUs have an unbelievable range as a result of different methods of production and storage. It is impossible to maintain a consistent level of CFUs through diet. That doesn’t mean supplements are essential to health, but they greatly assist in maintaining a balanced probiotic supply.
What Is the Best Probiotic for a Menopausal Woman?
Many menopausal women take probiotics in order to ease digestive issues, joint pain, hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms. But with so many different probiotics on the market, it can be hard to know which one is right for you.
The best probiotic for menopausal women is one that contains a variety of different strains of bacteria.
Some of the most effective strains for menopausal women include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium longum.
You may also want to look for a probiotic that contains prebiotics, which as food for the prebiotic bacteria.
What Is the Best Probiotic for Menopause Weight Gain?
The best probiotic for menopause weight gain is one that contains the right kinds of bacteria to help with weight management. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are similar to the ones found in our gut.
When choosing a probiotic, look for one that contains Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium as these have been shown to be the most effective for weight management.
Also, be sure to choose a probiotic that is stored properly. This will help ensure that the live cultures are still active.
Probiotics are an essential component of health. They can be found in food, but are impossible to calculate intake due to variations in food production and storage.
Probiotic Supplements have a similar issue but with much greater accuracy. They optimize nutritional intake, as supplements should. If the common use cases of probiotics appeal to you, they are worth trying.
We compiled the most highly reviewed probiotics on the market to give you the most reliable list possible.
We recommend looking for a product designed for your intended use, whether it be gut health, immune system, joint pain, or weight loss.