Which Is The Best Friendly Bacteria Supplement?

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

If you've never heard of friendly bacteria before, all you need to know is that they are completely natural. You already have trillions of them living in your gut, collectively known as the gut microbiome. Even if you have heard of good bacteria, you may not know that different types of bacteria do different things, or that it's very easy for the delicate balance in the gut microbiome to be disturbed. This is why many people like to take a friendly bacteria supplement. 

But how do you choose the best friendly bacteria supplement that's right for you?

In the next section, Microbiologist, Dr. Kate Stephens, and gut health expert, Nutritional Therapist Helen Morton, answer the Top 5 Questions our Nutrition Team are asked, by customers confused about which live cultures to choose. Or if you're short on time, why not watch our short video in which Nutritional Therapist Camilla explains how best to choose a friendly bacteria supplement that's perfect for you.

  1. Choose the best friendly bacteria strain that's right for your needs
  2. Single strains can be better than multi-strains
  3. Sometimes a low billions count can be best
  4. Capsules, powders, and gummies are just as effective as liquid supplements
  5. It’s important to choose a trusted, expert brand

1. Choose the best friendly bacteria strain that's right for your needs

Not all friendly bacteria strains have the same properties3,11, 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, helping you to choose the right live cultures for your needs. For example:

  • For general digestive support: the Every Day supplement contains strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria naturally found in the digestive tract, and proven to reach the gut alive3. Choose this friendly bacteria supplement for every day use.
  • For babies: Bifidobacterium breve M-16V® has been widely researched in babies4 – you can 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 Choose these delicious friendly bacteria gummies for children over 3 years.
  • For pregnancy: The strains in Pregnancy, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, have been widely researched in pregnant and breastfeeding women8
  • For taking with antibiotics: If you are taking a course of antibiotics, choose a friendly bacteria supplement containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Lactobacillus acidophilus/helveticus Rosell-52. These strains have been used in clinical trials alongside antibiotics9 – you can find them in For Those On Antibiotics
  • For the 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 strain

2. Single strains can be better than multi-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 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.

3. Sometimes a low billions count can be best for individual needs  

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! Friendly bacteria 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. 

4. Capsules, powders, and gummies are just as effective as liquid supplements

Live cultures supplements come in capsules, sachets, liquids, and gummies, which can be very confusing! Many people think that liquid supplements 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, safe in the knowledge that they're all equally effective.

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

With so many different options available in the UK, deciding which is the best live cultures supplement can be very confusing. Ideally, look for a trusted specialist brand with products backed by sound science. At Optibac we have decades of experience and specialise only in live cultures supplements, which is probably why we're the UK's most recommended friendly bacteria brand^. We always use strains backed by credible science and prioritise natural ingredients, and we think ours is one of the best ranges of UK friendly bacteria supplements available!

Take a look for yourself - find the ideal friendly bacteria supplement for all the family in our UK Shop.

Choosing the best Optibac supplements 

If you’re still confused about which is the best friendly bacteria supplement for you, then watch this video in which our Nutritional Therapist Camilla Gray explains how to choose the right live cultures supplement for your needs.

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

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  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.
  11. NHS: (2018). Probiotics.[Online] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/probiotics/ [Accessed 1st September 2022]