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Probiotics are known for being able to help prevent and manage gut health symptoms. But with so many products on the market and with so many strains to choose from, you may not know which is the best probiotic supplement for you. There are also probiotics designed specifically for women's health, as well as digestive enzymes, to help address different needs. Keep reading below to learn more about women's probiotics and some of the best probiotic supplements for women today.

What are Probiotics?

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms inside the body and on the surface of the skin. They can play many roles such as helping to digest food, produce vitamins, and fight off disease-causing bacteria. While you might already have a daily vitamin subscription to promote your overall health, you can also take certain products to help improve your digestive and immune health.

Probiotics are a type of live microorganism like bacteria or yeast that you can consume to help balance out the "good" and "bad" bacteria in the gut. You can consume these compounds in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, or through probiotic supplements. Depending on the health issues you are looking to improve, there are different strains of probiotics with different functions. The most common strains of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria as well as Saccharomyces boulardii.

The "good" bacteria in probiotic foods and supplements can help to support your immune health, in addition to other supplements to boost your immune system, and can help to reduce inflammation in the body. In turn, some probiotics may help to reduce symptoms of conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), atopic dermatitis, as well as gut health issues like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.

Our Picks for the Best Women's Probiotics

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. Learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission.

How We Chose the Probiotics on This List

There are so many probiotics on the market today, that it can be hard to figure out which one will work best for you. When choosing the top probiotics for women, the following factors were considered:

  • Number of colony-forming units (CFUs): A probiotic with at least 1 billion CFUs containing some of the most common probiotic strains as listed above.
  • The active cultures used: A diverse mix of common strains like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
  • Evidence-based products: Strains that have been studied for effectiveness and safety.
  • Clear information on label: Clear labelling of the number of CFUs, types of strains, and expiration and use by dates.
  • Other ingredients: Products that are free of common allergens such as gluten and are free from harmful compounds like certain additives.

Read below to learn about the top 9 best probiotics for women that you can buy today.

Our Top Picks for Probiotics for Women in 2021

Best Overall: Renew Life Ultimate Flora Women's Care Probiotic

Renew Life Ultimate Flora Women's Care Probiotic

renewlife.com

  • Type: Capsules/Gummies/Powder/Liquid/etc.
  • Colony Forming Units: 25 billion
  • Active Cultures: Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04®, Bifidobacterium lactis DSM 15954, Bifidobacterium infantis Bi-26™, and 9 diverse strains of Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria

Why buy: This non-GMO probiotic capsule contains unique probiotic strains to help support urinary health by maintaining healthy vaginal pH and yeast levels. It's made in the U.S.A. and is guaranteed for purity, potency, and quality through its expiration date.

$17

Best Overall: Onnit Total Gut Health

Onnit Total Gut Health

onnit.com

  • Type: Shelf-stable capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: 10 billion
  • Active Cultures: L. acidophilus DDS-1, L. plantarum, L. rhamnosus, B. infantis, and B. lactis, Saccharomyces boulardii

Why buy: This dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, keto-friendly, and caffeine-free probiotic powder comes in convenient packets that you can take with you wherever you go to ensure you receive your daily dose of healthy bacteria. We like that it also contains prebiotics like organic Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion root to feed the healthy bacteria to help them flourish plus digestive enzymes to aid digestion.

$76

Best Probiotic Diversity: Global Healing Floratrex Probiotic

Global Healing Floratrex Probiotic

globalhealing.com

  • Type: Capsule (store in refrigerator)
  • Colony Forming Units: 75 billion
  • Active Cultures: 25 live and active strains including strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus, and Lactococcus bacteria as well as Saccharomyces boulardii

Why buy: This non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan probiotic capsule contains a potent and diverse blend of bacteria and yeast strains along with a prebiotic blend to help the healthy bacteria flourish. As an added bonus, this probiotic blend contains PreforPro® Bacteriophage Prebiotic, which is a patented blend of "bacteria eaters" that help to fight off harmful microorganisms.

$70

Best for Energy: Sunwarrior Probiotics

Sunwarrior Probiotics

sunwarrior.com

  • Type: Shelf-stable capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: 10 billion
  • Active Cultures: 2 different strains of Bacillus coagulans (SNZ 1969 and MTCC 5856); Saccharomyces boulardii (DBVPG 6763); Bacillus subtilis (DE111®)

Why buy: This probiotic capsule is free of soy, gluten, and dairy and is certified vegan to fit just about anyone's lifestyle. Not to mention that it contains a prebiotic blend and algae extract to aid digestion and improve enzymatic function in the gut. We love that these plant-based probiotics use soil-based organisms for a natural boost to your digestive health and overall energy.

$35

Best for Immune Health: Care/of Pocket Protector Probiotics

Care/of Pocket Protector Probiotics

takecareof.com

  • Type: Powder
  • Colony Forming Units: 3 billion
  • Active Cultures: L. rhamnosus GG and B. lactis BL-04

Why buy: Care/of Pocket Protector makes it easy to take probiotics anytime, anywhere. Each of these packs contain a probiotic powder with 3 billion CFU of two active cultures known to help boost your immune system. We also like that this probiotic is vegetarian, gluten free, sugar free, and comes in a red berry flavor.

$5

Best for Chronic Constipation: Poophoria Harmony Probiotic

Poophoria Harmony Probiotic

getpoophoria.com

  • Type: Capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: 20 billion
  • Active Cultures: Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus casei

Why buy: This probiotic product contains the prebiotic, water-soluble fiber known as partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG), which helps to reduce symptoms like flatulence, bloating, and indigestion. This unique probiotic blend can help to relieve chronic constipation and in turn restore balance in the gut with regular use.

$49

Best for Active Lifestyle: NutraOne Probiotic X

NutraOne Probiotic X

5starnutritionusa.com

  • Type: Capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: 25 billion
  • Active Cultures: 7 Lactobacillus strains and 4 Bifidobacterium strains

Why buy: This probiotic capsule contains a potent blend of diverse healthy bacteria strains, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes for comprehensive gut health support. It also contains the Bacillus strain DE111® to help reduce muscle-related inflammation and to support exercise recovery. The is an ideal probiotic for someone with an active lifestyle to help support gut health and prevent muscle pain or soreness from slowing them down.

$30

Best Prebiotic: Vital Plan Gut Balance

Vital Plan Gut Balance

vitalplan.com

  • Type: Capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: n/a
  • Active Cultures: Prebiotic blend of slippery elm bark, berberine, and dandelion extract

Why buy: This blend of clinical-grade herbs is specially formulated to support gut health by protecting the gut lining, decreasing intestinal permeability, and providing prebiotic support. And with independent lab third-party testing, you can ensure this gluten-free and dairy-free product is pure, potent, and safe. While not technically a probiotic, it offers an herbal alternative to help you maintain healthy digestion.

$39

Best for Systemic Health: Seed DS-01 Daily Synbiotic

Seed DS-01 Daily Synbiotic

seed.com

  • Type: Capsule
  • Colony Forming Units: 53.6 billion AFUs (Active Fluorescent Units)
  • Active Cultures: 24 broad spectrum strains including various strains of Bifidobacterium, Lactiplantibacillus, Limosilactobacillus, Lacticaseibacillus, and Ligilactobacillus

Why buy: This synbiotic product contains a diverse array of unique probiotic strains, as well as antioxidant support from Indian pomegranate polyphenolic precursors plus organic rice fiber and rice extract blend. We like that this vegan product is free of gluten, dairy, soy, shellfish, corn, sesame, and nuts to help provide gut support for just about anyone, regardless of allergies.

$50

The Research on Women's Probiotics

When it comes to women's health, research shows that probiotics may help improve the vaginal Lactobacilli level in the body as well as support reproductive health. Not to mention that a 20-year meta-analysis of studies show that probiotics taken in the third trimester of pregnancy can help reduce the risk of an infant developing the skin disease atopic dermatitis. Also, a 2020 study shows that Lactobacillus-containing vaginal probiotics show promise to manage or prevent bacterial vaginosis.

Finally, when it comes to mental health, a 2020 study review reports that both probiotics and prebiotics may help improve symptoms in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. A 2019 study shows that a daily dose of a probiotic mixture containing Lactobacillus strains such as fermentum LF16, rhamnosus LR06, and plantarum LP01, as well as Bifidobacterium longum BL04) taken for 6 weeks may help improve mood, fatigue, and sleep quality.

How to Choose a Probiotic for Women

When choosing the best probiotic made for women, you should consider the following factors. Be sure to understand these factors before delving into the wellness websites and stores so you choose the probiotic that will work best for you and your health goals.

What to Look For

When shopping for a probiotic, be sure to choose a probiotic that contains:

  • 1 billion or more CFUs
  • A diverse array of probiotic strains that include common strains like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii, to name a few.
  • Links to research on their site that can verify effectiveness of the strains used in the probiotic product.
  • Clearly stated expiration and use-by dates on the label.
  • No ingredients that you may be allergic to.

How to Read Labels

Looking at a label on a probiotic product for women can be confusing at first. Here are certain terms you may see on a label and how to interpret them.

  • Potency: The potency or CFUs of each strain, should be guaranteed until a certain date on the label.
  • CFUs: The colony-forming units tell you the number of living microorganisms in the probiotic product.
  • Other ingredients: This section should tell you any added compounds such as prebiotics, preservatives, flavorings, colorings, etc. This section will help you find out if the probiotic contains any compounds that you may be allergic or intolerant to or that may be harmful.
  • Daily Value: A supplement label will usually tell you the daily recommended value (DRV) of certain nutrients that are in a product. For probiotics, since no DRVs have been set, asterisks are in the place where those values would be.
  • Serving size: This section would tell you what the suggested daily dosage is to reap the benefits of a probiotic product.
  • Use by date: This date would tell you when you should use the probiotics in order to reap the full benefits of the probiotic strains.
  • Research and strain information: A probiotic label may contain the strains in a product as well as any links or resources that one could view to learn more about the research done on such strains. Sometimes a product may have the research data on the brand's website. You can also call to request such data if you don't see it in either of those places.
  • Storage information: The label should provide guidelines on how to best store the probiotic to preserve the microorganisms. Many probiotic products will need to be kept in a cool, dry place, while others may require storage in a refrigerator.
  • FDA disclaimer: This part of the label will show you that the brand is clear about the fact that claims of supplements like probiotics are not evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How to Use

In order to gain the most from your probiotic for women, and to make it into a daily routine, you should take it about 15 to 30 minutes before a meal. Be sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water or other fluid with it to help with transport to the gut where it can settle and do its work. Water will also help to dilute stomach acids to help the probiotic strains survive on their journey to your gut.

Finally, it can help to consume prebiotics during the day to feed your probiotic bacteria so they can thrive. Examples of prebiotics include bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onion, asparagus, beans, other legumes like lentils, as well as apples and jicama, among other foods.

Safety & Side Effects

Probiotics are generally safe for most people, with the exception of some mild side effects like bloating or flatulence in some people. However, for some at-risk people, such as infants, elderly people, hospitalized patients, and those with compromised immune systems, probiotics may do more harm than good. Therefore, it is always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider first before starting any supplement to ensure that it will safely fit within your current health routine.

Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2010. Staci has graduate degrees in Biology, Human Nutrition, and Nutrition and Education from New York University, the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition, and Teacher's College, Columbia University. She has been a featured expert for sites including Health.com, Shape.com, ThisisInsider.com, and Eat This Not That.

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Perhaps you like to add a few drops honey to your tea or drizzle it over yogurt for a bit of sweetness. But did you know that consuming high-quality products, like the best Manuka honey on the market, can also improve your health?

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Through net metering programs, homeowners who have installed solar energy systems can get utility credits for any electricity their panels generate during the day that isn't used to power home systems. These credits can be "cashed in" to offset the cost of any grid electricity used at night.

Where net metering is available, solar panels have a shorter payback period and yield a higher return on investment. Without this benefit, you only save on power bills when using solar energy directly, and surplus generation is lost unless you store it in a solar battery. However, net metering gives you the option of selling any excess electricity that is not consumed within your home.

Generally, you will see more home solar systems in places with favorable net metering laws. With this benefit, going solar becomes an attractive investment even for properties with minimal daytime consumption. Homeowners can turn their roofs into miniature power plants during the day, and that generation is subtracted from their nighttime consumption.

What Is Net Metering?

Net metering is a billing arrangement in which surplus energy production from solar panels is tracked by your electricity provider and subtracted from your monthly utility bill. When your solar power system produces more kilowatt-hours of electricity than your home is consuming, the excess generation is fed back into the grid.

For homeowners with solar panels, the benefits of net metering include higher monthly savings and a shorter payback period. Utility companies also benefit, since the excess solar electricity can be supplied to other buildings on the same electric grid.

If a power grid relies on fossil fuels, net metering also increases the environmental benefits of solar power. Even if a building does not have an adequate area for rooftop solar panels, it can reduce its emissions by using the surplus clean energy from other properties.

How Net Metering Works

There are two general ways net metering programs work:

  1. The surplus energy produced by your solar panels is measured by your utility company, and a credit is posted to your account that can be applied to future power bills.
  2. The surplus energy produced by your solar panels is measured by your home's electricity meter. Modern power meters can measure electricity flow in both directions, so they tick up when you pull from the grid at night and count down when your solar panels are producing an excess amount of electricity.

In either scenario, at the end of the billing period, you will only pay for your net consumption — the difference between total consumption and generation. This is where the term "net metering" comes from.

How Does Net Metering Affect Your Utility Bill?

Net metering makes solar power systems more valuable for homeowners, as you can "sell" any extra energy production to your utility company. However, it's important to understand how charges and credits are managed:

  • You can earn credits for your surplus electricity, but utility companies will not cut you a check for the power you provide. Instead, they will subtract the credits from your power bills.
  • If your net metering credit during the billing period is higher than your consumption, the difference is rolled over to the next month.
  • Some power companies will roll over your credit indefinitely, but many have a yearly expiration date that resets your credit balance.

With all of this in mind, it is possible to reduce your annual electricity cost to zero. You can accumulate credit with surplus generation during the sunny summer months, and use it during winter when solar generation decreases.

You will achieve the best results when your solar power system has just the right capacity to cover your annual home consumption. Oversizing your solar array is not recommended, as you will simply accumulate a large unused credit each year. In other words, you cannot overproduce and charge your power company each month.

Some power companies will let you pick the expiration date of your annual net metering credits. If you have this option, it's wise to set the date after winter has ended. This way, you can use all the renewable energy credits you accumulated during the summer.

Is Net Metering Available Near You?

Net metering offers a valuable incentive for homeowners to switch to solar power, but these types of programs are not available everywhere. Net metering laws can change depending on where you live.

In the U.S., there are mandatory net metering laws in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Most states without a mandate have power companies that voluntarily offer the benefit in their service areas. South Dakota and Tennessee are the only two states with no version of net metering or similar programs.

If net metering is available in your area, you will be credited for your surplus energy in one of two ways:

  • Net metering at retail price: You get full credit for each kilowatt-hour sent to the grid. For example, if you're charged 16 cents per kWh consumed, you'll get a credit of 16 cents per kWh exported. This type of net metering is required by law in 29 states.
  • Net metering at a reduced feed-in tariff: Surplus electricity sent to the grid is credited at a lower rate. For example, you may be charged 16 cents per kWh for consumption but paid 10 cents per kWh exported. Feed-in tariffs and other alternative programs are used in 17 of the states where retail-rate net metering is not mandatory.

Note: This is just a simplified example — the exact kWh retail price and solar feed-in tariff will depend on your electricity plan.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) is an excellent resource if you want to learn more about net metering and other solar power incentives in your state. You can also look for information about solar incentives by visiting the official websites of your state government and utility company.

Other Financial Incentives for Going Solar

Net metering policies are one of the most effective incentives for solar power. However, there are other financial incentives that can be combined with net metering to improve your ROI:

  • The federal solar tax credit lets you claim 26% of your solar installation costs as a tax deduction. For example, if your solar installation had a cost of $10,000, you can claim $2,600 on your next tax declaration. This benefit is available everywhere in the U.S.
  • State tax credits may also be available depending on where you live, and they can be claimed in addition to the federal incentive.
  • Solar rebates are offered by some state governments and utility companies. These are upfront cash incentives subtracted directly from the cost of your solar PV system.

In addition to seeking out solar incentives available to you, you should compare quotes from multiple installers before signing a solar contract. This will ensure you're getting the best deal available and help you avoid overpriced offers and underpriced, low-quality installations. You can start getting quotes from top solar companies near you by filling out the 30-second form below.

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Net Metering

Why is net metering bad?

When managed correctly, net metering is beneficial for electricity consumers and power companies. There have been cases in which power grids lack the capacity to handle large amounts of power coming from homes and businesses. However, this is an infrastructure issue, not a negative aspect of net metering itself.

In places with a high percentage of homes and businesses using solar panels, surplus generation on sunny days can saturate the grid. This can be managed by modernizing the grid to handle distributed solar power more effectively with load management and energy storage systems.

How does net metering work?

With net metering, any electricity your solar panels produce that isn't used to power your home is fed into your local power grid. Your utility company will pay you for this power production through credits that can be applied to your monthly energy bills.

Can you make money net metering?

You can reduce your power bills with net metering, using surplus solar generation to compensate for your consumption when you can't generate solar power at night and on cloudy days. However, most power companies will not pay you for surplus production once your power bill has dropped to $0. Normally, that credit will be rolled over, to be used in months where your solar panels are less productive.

On very rare occasions, you may be paid for the accumulated balance over a year. However, this benefit is offered by very few electric companies and is subject to limitations.

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