What are the Best Probiotics for Constipation?

Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria located in the gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract that are part of our human digestive system. Some can help your body’s functions and others can be a hindrance or even harmful.

An imbalance in your habitant family of bacteria may be the cause of many digestive problems, such as constipation. Many people with slow digestion should consider taking a probiotic supplement. I’ve rounded up a list of some of the best probiotics for constipation to help you make this choice.

If probiotics occur naturally in my G.I. tract, why do I need probiotic supplements?

I wish I had learned about the importance of “good” and “bad” bacteria and probiotic supplementation when I was packing on the pounds in my early adulthood. My diet was typical of most modern Americans - rife with sugars and processed foods.

The amount of fiber I consumed was minimal, leading to often severe constipation. I ended up resorting to laxative tablets which, let me tell you, was not a comfortable experience! If I had known about probiotics I could have saved myself a lot of hassle.

Poor diet, antibiotics and other lifestyle factors can lead to an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacterial strains in the digestive system. Just because bacteria are undoubtedly present doesn't mean they are present in the correct numbers, proportions or variety. Some may be missing completely and in the worst cases, the “bad” may overrun the “good”. Enter probiotic supplements.

How Probiotics Supplements Work

Probiotics are capsules, powders or liquids containing an optimised combination of helpful bacterial strains. When you swallow the product, the bacteria are released and happily accept your G.I. tract as their new home.

Depending on the quality of the preparation, some of these little microorganisms may be killed before they get to that point - either by heat (keep them in the fridge) or your own stomach conditions. So you need to do your research before selecting a probiotic to make sure you get a product that will actually be active when you take it.

Healthcare professionals have suggested that nearly everyone could benefit from a probiotic supplement (http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/healthy-gut-bacteria-support-digestive-health/).

Relief from ConstipationConstipation can be due to many different factors. Fibre intake is the most important - make sure you’re consuming around 25 - 35g of fibre per day depending on your stool consistency. Those with I.B.S. (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) may have a harder time with constipation even with a high fibre diet so a probiotic is worth trying in those cases.

This video explains some more of the mechanism of constipation:

The bacteria in your colon perform many of the activities of food processing in combination. The best probiotics for constipation contain bacteria which work to help advance food through your system. These products seek to restore lost or limited “good” bacterial strains or/and stimulate their growth.

Everybody is different so until there is a test that can tell use exactly which microorganisms are missing from your system, there is some guesswork in taking supplements. No one has conclusively identified that single best microorganism to relieve constipation so you should choose a product with a good balance (http://dailyburn.com/life/health/choose-best-probiotic/)

Personal Validation Testing

Because results can be so varied depending on personal factors, my product recommendations are only a starting point. I suggest creating a tracking chart to record your experience. When you select a probiotic supplement, keep note of things like:

  • Start date
  • Status description - Such as "constipated", "bloated" etc.
  • Starting weight - This is important; if you have constipation you may see weight loss as the product works.
  • How many pills or tablets you take.
  • Bowel Activity - Add details such as number of bowel movements, size, difficulty passing, gas presence etc.
  • When you take the supplement such as before or after a meal.
  • General health - Do you have a cold? Allergies? Headaches? Skin issues?
  • Anything else you think may be helpful.

After a month or two, you may see categories that you can eliminate or may add others. Take a few minutes every so often to analyze the chart. What patterns do you see? Does the chart indicate that you are making progress? If not, you might want to continue your experiment with a different product.

1. LoveBug Probiotics - Here's The Skinny - Digestive Health:

Quality

Price

Our rating

A key element of probiotic supplements is absorption. The acids of the digestion process are so strong that few bacteria survive to reach the colon. LoveBug has a delivery system by which the probiotics are pressed into the pills. This results in a time-release process that promises greater survival.

LoveBug Probiotics contain eight probiotics, the largest amount of our finalists. It is manufactured in the USA, without GMOs, yeast, gluten, sugar, lactose, soy, wheat, iron, chemicals, preservatives or artificial colors.

Considering the prevalence of allergies and an increasing interest in avoiding gluten, this product anticipates the wishes of many. LoveBug is known for excellent customer service and their web site is filled with details about the product. This information provides confidence in the product and its effectiveness.

Pros


  • Contains eight probiotics.
  • Free from: GMOs, yeast, gluten, sugar, lactose, soy, wheat, iron, preservatives, artificial colors
  • The website is filled with information articulating how the product works.
  • Stable for 18 months from date of manufacture
  • Manufactured in the USA.
  • Responsive customer service.

Cons


  • Some people do not like the pill format.
  • A bit pricey at $26 for a monthly supply.

2. Phillips Colon Health Probiotic Capsules:

Quality

Price

Our rating

Phillips Colon Health Probiotic Capsules include an ingredient known to assist against constipation: magnesium. Magnesium attracts water to your stools which softens them so you can pass them more easily.

The Colon Health combination of three probiotics and magnesium is a winner. The blister-packed capsules are easy to swallow, preserve freshness and have an expiration date stamped on each packet.

Pros


  • Magnesium and three probiotics to combat constipation.
  • Packed to preserve freshness.
  • Blister-packed with an expiration date stamped on each pack.
  • Easy to swallow capsules.

Cons


  • A bit pricey at $20 for a monthly supply.
  • Some people do not like the pill format.

3. Probiotic 40 Billion by Scintillant Nutrients

Quality

Price

Our rating

Probiotic 40 Billion is very popular with customers. The four-probiotic capsules are easy to swallow. They also contain FOS a prebiotic that helps preserve good bacteria.

This product features a long shelf life so the bacteria do not die before you take the capsules. However, survival in the digestive tract is as important as surviving on the shelf. Probiotic 40 Billion has no stated method for ensuring that the bacteria survive to reach the colon.

Pros


  • Contains four probiotic strains.
  • Contains prebiotic FOS to assist in preserving good bacteria.
  • Long shelf life.
  • Two capsules contain 40 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units - amount of live bacteria).
  • Manufacturers' 60 day guarantee.
  • Expiration date printed on box.
  • Made in the USA.

Cons


  • No technology to ensure the probiotics survive to reach the colon.
  • Some experts express that CFU amounts over 10 billion may cause difficulties.

4. Pinnacle Complete Probiotic:

Quality

Price

Our rating

This product is well-reviewed and contains four probiotics and FOS, a prebiotic to encourage good bacteria. However, it is difficult to find detailed information about the product. The website refers to this product by a name that does not even appear on the bottle.

Pros


  • Contains four probiotic strains.
  • Contains prebiotic FOS to assist in preserving good bacteria.
  • Easy to swallow capsules.
  • Two capsules contain 40 billion CFUs.
  • Unconditional money-back guarantee.
  • Only $17 for a month's supply.
  • Expiration date printed on box.

Cons


  • No technology to ensure the probiotics survive to reach the colon.
  • There is a confusion about the name by which to call this product.
  • Some experts express that CFU amounts over 10 billion may cause difficulties.
  • No technology to ensure the probiotics survive to reach the colon.
  • Website is not informational.

5. Digestive Advantage Probiotics - Constipation Formula Probiotic Capsules:

Quality

Price

Our rating

This product is well-reviewed and has an impressive money-back trial; it's a bargain at around $8 for a month's supply. The negative reviews center on ineffectiveness, which is true of most of the negative reviews of these products. Many users object to the presence of carageenan. This additive has been linked to possible negative effects including cancer.

Pros


  • Offers a two week money back trail.
  • BC30, the probiotic in this product, is wrapped in protein to survive to the colon.
  • Contains magnesium to combat constipation.
  • Easy to swallow capsules.
  • Only $8 for a month's supply.
  • Blister packed for freshness.
  • Expiration date printed on the box.

Cons


  • Contains one probiotic
  • “BC30” probiotic is unclear; this is not a traditional probiotic name.
  • Contains carrageenan which is traced to GI problems and more serious issues.(source)
  • Makes astonishing claims about bacteria survival based on unconvincing testing.
  • Website is not informational.

It's Personal

The challenge of supplements is that they are neither scientifically tested nor standardized. This can be viewed as an opportunity to provide a variety of products to meet individual needs. In the case of probiotics for constipation relief, there is no shortage of products. However, my personal favourite is Phillips Colon Health Probiotic Capsules.

Phillips Colon Health Probiotic Capsules will help most people with constipation due to their magnesium content. The combination of three probiotic strains provides a good balance without being overwhelming. The results will be different for everyone so I recommend trying out multiple products and sticking with the one that works best for you personally.

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!