How To Choose The Best Friendly Bacteria Supplement

Confused about which are the best UK friendly bacteria supplements? We can help you to decide.

Microbiologist, Dr. Kate Stephens, and gut health expert, Nutritional Therapist Kerry Beeson, answer the Top 5 Questions our Nutrition Team are asked by confused customers. Let us help you to choose the perfect friendly bacteria supplement for your needs:

  1. You don’t need supplements with lots of strains
  2. High strength does not always mean high quality
  3. Liquid supplements are not more effective than capsules, powders, or gummies
  4. Choose the friendly bacteria supplement that is right for your individual needs
  5. It’s important to choose a trusted, expert brand 

Jump straight to the end if you have a question that's not answered here or are just not sure where to start?


1. You don’t need supplements with lots of strains

It’s quality not quantity that matters when choosing a live cultures supplement. You don’t need to keep switching brands to try lots of different products or choose multi-strain supplements containing large numbers of different bacteria. Many renowned strains of live cultures, such as Bifidobacteria lactis BB-12® or Saccharomyces boulardii,1,2, are typically researched alone. So just choose a supplement containing quality strains, which are proven to reach the gut or vaginal flora and are researched in areas which support your personal needs. If you buy from expert companies, the strains will always be shown on the packaging, not just the species, so you can make an informed choice.

probiotic strain

2. High strength does not always mean high quality

In the same way that you don’t need to look for supplements with lots of strains, you don’t always need one with a high number of billions. You will pay more for these high-strength supplements, and you may not need all those extra billions1! Live cultures specialists use the same number of billions used in the supporting clinical trials, so you never pay for more than you need. It’s better to choose a supplement containing high quality strains researched for your individual needs rather than a generic high-strength formula. 

3. Liquid supplements are not more effective than capsules, powders, or gummies

This is a common misconception. Live cultures supplements come in capsules, sachets, liquids, and gummies, which can be very confusing! Many people think that liquids are absorbed better or reach the gut more quickly. But this is not the case - if you choose a high-quality, well-researched supplement, you can be confident that the friendly bacteria strains are tested to reach the gut3, whether they're in capsules, liquids, or any other format. Friendly bacteria specialists only use highly researched live cultures, so you can opt for the format which suits you best.

4. Choose the friendly bacteria supplement that is right for your individual needs

Not all friendly bacteria strains have the same properties, so it’s important to choose a supplement containing strains researched for your individual requirements. Friendly bacteria specialists always include the strain names in the ingredients. Once you know the strain name, you can see what it’s been researched for. For example:

  • General digestive: the Every Day supplement contains strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria naturally found in the digestive tract, and proven in over 20 years of research to reach the gut alive3
  • For babies: Bifidobacterium breve M-16V® has been widely researched in babies4 – find this strain in Baby Drops
  • For children: The strain in Kids Gummies, Bacillus coagulans Unique IS-2, is one of the one of the most researched strains of Bacillus in children5,6,7
  • For pregnancy: The strains in Pregnancy,  such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN0018, have been widely researched in pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Taking antibiotics: Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Lactobacillus acidophilus/helveticus Rosell-52 have been used in clinical trials alongside antibiotics9 – find these strains in For Those On Antibiotics
  • Vaginal flora: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® are proven to reach the vaginal flora10 – find these strains in For Women

For free advice about how to use the rest of our range, contact our Nutrition Team.

probiotic capsule

5. It’s important to choose a trusted, expert brand

With so many different options available in the UK, deciding which is the best friendly bacteria supplement can be very confusing. Ideally, look for a trusted specialist brand with products backed by sound science. Optibac has decades of experience and specialises only in friendly bacteria supplements. We always use strains backed by credible science and prioritise natural ingredients.

If you now feel fully informed, go ahead and choose your ideal friendly bacteria supplement in our UK Shop.

Still not sure where to start?

If you’re still confused about which is the best friendly bacteria supplement for you, and don't have any specific health concerns to support, then why not just start with this daily digestive product and see how you feel:

Every Day

  • 6 high quality strains.
  • 5 billion live cultures guaranteed per daily dose.
  • Well researched & proven to survive to reach the gut alive.
  • Complements your natural microbiome.
  • With FOS fibres to help support your gut Bifidobacteria.
  • Easy to take capsule, with no nasty additives.
  • Great value for money at £12.99 for 1 month's supply.

Try taking this with your breakfast every day and let us know how you get on! Or look at this FAQ to find out more about our other daily live cultures supplements.

Alternatively, if you need further guidance, contact our team of experts for free advice.


  1. Eskesen et al. (2015) Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12®, on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Br J Nutr; 114, 10: 1638-46.

  2. McFarland (2010) Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients. World J Gastroenterol; 16, 18: 2202-22
  3. Nagulesapillai, V. et al (2015) Detection and quantification of strain specific probiotics in clinical faecal samples of healthy adults on antibiotic treatment by quantitative PCR.
  4. Patole et al. (2014). Effect of Bifidobacterium breve M-16V® supplementation on faecal Bifidobacteria in preterm neonates- a randomised double blind placebo controlled trial . PLoS one, 9 (3): e89511.
  5. Saneian, H. et al. (2015) ‘Synbiotic containing Bacillus coagulans and fructo-oligosaccharides for functional abdominal pain in children’, Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench, 8(1), pp. 56–65.
  6. Sudha, M. and Arunasree, K. (2015) ‘ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND IMMUNOMODULATORY EFFECTS OF BACILLUS COAGULANS UNIQUE IS2’, International Journal of Probiotics & Prebiotics, 10(1), pp. 31–36.
  7. Sudha, M. R. et al. (2018) ‘Efficacy of Bacillus coagulans Unique IS2 in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children: a double blind, randomised placebo-controlled study’, Beneficial Microbes, 9(4), pp. 563–572. doi: 10.3920/BM2017.0129.
  8. Slykerman R et al. (2017). Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 in pregnancy on postpartum symptoms of depression and anxiety: a randomised double blind placebo controlled trial . EBioMedicine, 24, 159-165.
  9. Evans M. et al., (2016), ‘Effectiveness of Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus for the management of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea in healthy adults: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial’. British Journal of Nutrition, 116(1):94-103. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516001665. Epub 2016 May 12.
  10. Morelli L. et al., (2004), ‘Utilization of the intestinal tract as a delivery system for urogenital probiotics’. J. Clin. Gastroenterol., 38(6 Suppl): S107-10.