There’s so much information online about leaky gut syndrome that you can easily get lost in the milieu of opposing opinions. But, if there’s one thing that most sources agree with, it’s the beneficial effects of probiotics on leaky gut, digestion problems, and overall health.
But which one to choose for improving your leaky gut?
That’s exactly the question we’re going to answer. In fact, by the end of this article, you’ll know which probiotic to pick to fix your leaky gut.
**I highly recommend reading the entire article to understand why we chose the probiotics on our list, and to ensure you’re choosing the best probiotic that will give your gut the best chance of healing.
But if you’re in a rush, the probiotic you want is this one from Amy Myers MD. I use it myself and it truly has changed my gut health and my life. I’m not exaggerating. I can now go on first dates with no anxiety about holding farts in (Sorry for the TMI, but you know you can relate).
For those who want a quick overview, below is our comparison table:
If you are a fan of the site, you know how much I love Amy Myers supplements, and their 100 billion probiotic supplement was an obvious #1 choice for this review.
In a world of scam supplement companies, it’s nice to see someone who talks the talk and walks the walk–and is an actual doctor & a New York Times best selling author.
This Amy Myer’s probiotic contains research-backed ingredients (which I’ll go into below), comes with free shipping, is 3rd party certified, contains 14 different strains of bacteria (which is a huge positive), has 100 billion CFU’s per capsule, and has a ton of reviews.
The only real downside I can find is the price. But even that, honestly, isn’t a downside.
I’d rather have a quality probiotic that heals my leaky gut than “save” money on crappy probiotics that don’t work.
And unfortunately, due to a lack of regulation and accountability in the supplement industry, there are a lot of low quality probiotics that don’t help with leaky gut issues.
Price aside, let’s dive into what makes this probiotic so great.
Let’s start with its 3rd-party certification.
For better or for worse, supplements aren’t regulated, so one thing I look for when choosing probiotics is the GMP 3rd party certification, which Amy Myers products have.
GMP certification, explained here in more detail, shows that the product was tested in a 3rd party lab, and that it is what it says it is.
I screenshotted this right from Amy Myers’ website:
Another thing I look for when choosing a probiotic supplement to help with leaky gut are its reviews and well, holy reviews–over 533 reviews and a near perfect 5-star rating.
It doesn’t get better than that.
This review shows how effective this probiotic can be for helping with leaky gut issues
So let’s get into the research.
This probiotic supplement contains a strain of probiotic called lactobacillus/bifidobacterium.
We go over this in detail at the bottom of the article (which I highly recommend reading before buying), but there are 3 types of probiotics that encompass all probiotic options: lactobacillus/bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces Boulardii (our 2nd option), and Soil-based (our 3rd option).
I’m a big research-person, and the reason I always pick a lactobacillus/bifidobacterium option as my #1 choice is because it is the most research-backed option.
While there is promising research on Saccharomyces Boulardii and soil-based probiotics, the body of research is not even close.
A meta analysis takes all the research on a subject and consolidates the info to get a better understanding of the efficacy.
If you have strong symptoms associated with leaky gut (I assume you do since you are reading this article), I strongly recommend the 100 billion option.
Higher CFU probiotics have been shown to be more effective for more serious conditions.
If after taking this probiotic for some time, you get to a nice, healthy state, I would advise to go down to a more moderate probiotic like a 30 billion CFU count.
The verdict: If you are looking for an evidence-based probiotic supplement that has everything you want: great reviews, research-backed ingredients, 10+ strains, 3rd-party certified, 100 billion CFUs–this is the one you want.
At our #2, is a saccharomyces boulardii probiotic from Klaire Labs.
My good friend has taken probiotics from Klaire Labs for the past 3 years, and they are fantastic. They are reputable, research-based, and are GMP certified for quality.
Klaire Labs is major supplier of naturopaths and physicians, and actually don’t sell them direct-to-consumer on their website, so I use PureFormulas.com.
They are also an Amazon’s Choice probiotic on Amazon.
They’re quite a bit cheaper here on Pure Formulas–the shipping and customer service is solid, too, so I highly recommend them for supplements.
For starters, Klaire Labs are a fantastic brand with reviews to back them. They have a 4.5 average rating and 164 reviews–both of which are great.
But we all know some crappy companies that, for whatever reason, are able to get solid reviews, so you shouldn’t go off this reason alone.
So what makes this probiotic a solid choice?
For one, it is made up of a type of probiotic called Saccharomyces Boulardii.
After lactobacillus/bifidobacterium strains, this type of probiotic has the second most research supporting it– and the research is strong.
Before I get into the research, I want to explain an important point: people respond differently to different strains.
It’s why I recommend starting with a (most research-backed) lactobacillus strain like Amy Myers probiotic (our #1 option).
And if that doesn’t work, I recommend a (2nd most research-backed) saccharomyces probiotic like this one–Klaire Labs.
If that doesn’t work, I recommend moving to a (3rd most research backed) soil-based probiotic like Just Thrive (our #3 option).
In most cases, one of these 3 types of probiotics will solve the issues.
Whenever anyone comes to me with digestive issues, I tell them exactly what I just shared here, and it’s never failed me (knock on wood).
Our bodies react differently to different strains so it’s important you experiment until you find one that helps.
I have found that lactobacillus/bifidobacterium strains do the trick for me, but if they didn’t help my gut issues, I would for sure be choosing this one next.
So now for the research.
There are over 101 clinical studies on Saccharomyces Boulardii.
For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to list what the research has proven to help with and then link the studies next to it, for those interested in diving deeper.
Let’s go back to Klaire Labs, specifically.
This probiotic has 3 billion CFU. The research is mixed on what the ideal CFU count is (study), but one thing is conclusive–you want over 1 billion for saccharomyces probiotics, so 3 billion is plenty.
Secondly, whenever possible, you want a probiotic that this is GMP certified.
This is the gold standard for 3rd party certification–in other words, that the probiotic is what it says it is, and Klaire Labs has this.
All in all, if you have issues with leaky gut and a lactobacillus/bifidobacterium strain hasn’t done the trick to heal your leaky gut, this is the probiotic one you want.
They have great reviews, are a reputable brand that works with board-certified doctors, are 3rd party GMP certified, and contain research-backed ingredients–all wins in my book.
The Verdict: If you tried our #1 option (or another lactobacillus/bifidobacterium) option and it didn’t do the trick to heal your leaky gut, this is the probiotic you should try.
Coming in at our #3 option is our top soil-based choice: Just Thrive.
Just Thrive is a soil-based probiotic that is new to the scene.
Soil-based probiotics have very promising research backing them up, and have been shown to help with the following:
However, they are simply too new to the scene to have even close to the body of research of our first 2 options.
This is why this is getting the 3rd option.
With that being stated, soil-based probiotics have their place and should be considered if you’ve already tried a lactobacillus/bifidobacterium strain (our #1 option) and/or a Saccharomyces boulardii strain (our #2 option).
Then and only then do I recommend a soil-based probiotic like Just Thrive.
So let’s dive into what I love about Just Thrive.
Unlike our top 2 choices on the list, Just Thrive has a near 100% survival rate.
So while I recommend a 100 billion CFU probiotic at our #1 option simply because a high majority die before getting to the gut, high-quality soil-based strains like Just Thrive easily survive the gut.
The result–you only need 2-3 billion CFU–Just Thrive has 3 billion.
The body of research suggests a wide range of 2-8 billion CFU/day, so I always recommend starting low with probiotics with 2-3 billion–making Just Thrive a great choice here.
There are only 4 strains of bacteria in this one: Bacillus Indicus HU36, bacillus coagulans, bacillus clausii, and bacillus subtilis HU58.
While I recommend probiotics with over 10 strains typically, this doesn’t apply to soil-based strains.
Soil-based probiotics are different and there simply exists no soil-based probiotics with more than 4 strains.
Before we dive into the research, let’s go over the reviews–and they are great.
They have 642 reviews, nearly all of which are 5 stars.
One thing I am iffy about with Just Thrive is that they don’t have 3rd party certification, like our top 2 options.
Not a dealbreaker–but definitely would be nice to see another company verify that what they claim is in their supplement is actually in their supplement.
Based on their credibility as a company and the positive reviews, I don’t think it’s too big of a deal.
Now let’s get into the research. I put each individual strain and linked studies to disorders it has been proven to help with:
I want to dive deeper into Bacillus Indicus HU36 for a minute. What makes this strain unique and helpful is its ability to produce potent antioxidants.
Oxidative stress is a major cause of leaky gut issues–which is what antioxidants do best. In this point in time, Bacillus indicus HU36 is the only probiotic strain that produces antioxidants–which works to reduce oxidative stress, decreases inflammation, and supports immune cells.
So, if you have serious leaky gut issues, Just Thrive can easily be the solution to future fart-free days and snake-like poops.
Yeah, I said it.
The Verdict: When it comes to soil-based probiotics, Just Thrive gets my vote. If the top 2 options on this list didn’t work for you, this is the one you want.
Fourth, we have this 100 billion CFU Probiotic Blend from Klaire Labs–that’s a healthy amount of good bacteria there, which is what you want to heal your leaky gut.
In one serving, you get 100 billion units of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium live cultures, spread across 12 beneficial strains of bacteria– which exceeds my recommendation for 8 different strains (I go over recommendations at the bottom of the article).
The capsules are encased in InTactic technology to ensure that they make it to the intestines “intact.”
This probiotic also hits the mark for all the big allergy concerns including dairy, fish, soy, gluten, wheat, and tree nuts, and the company doesn’t put any additives like preservatives, dyes, or artificial colors on their supplements.
It can remain shelf-stable without refrigeration for up to 5 months, but if you live in a really warm climate, then refrigerating it might not be a bad idea considering that you’re dealing with live cultures here.
**Note: you’ll see reviewers complaining about the product arriving warm in the mail. DO NOT fret, Klaire Labs have independently confirmed that their probiotic can survive in warmer environments, thus not compromising the potency of the product. See more details below, and please note ice packs aren’t included in PureFormulas’ orders. There is a $26 charge to have the product shipped with ice when ordering that you can choose at checkout. While not necessary, to be safe, I recommend choosing this option
But, what earned this probiotic the 4th spot on our list is the fact that it’s a mix of probiotic strains that make it excellent for leaky gut, candida, gut dysbiosis, and overall health.
The one thing worth noting is that Klaire Labs is not cheap, but when you factor in how effective it is for healing leaky gut–if you can afford it, it’s well worth the money.
My good friend has been taking this probiotic for over 2 years now because of how life-changing it’s been for him. Since I’ve known him, he’s consistently complained about bloating, gas, malabsorption; all symptoms of leaky gut. Amazingly, this probiotic healed his gut in around 2 months, and he talks about Klaire Labs like it’s a godsend.
Final Thoughts: This is a great choice for a Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic. With over 100 billion CFU, 12 different strains, and the reviews to back it, this is a solid option.
Garden of Life’s S. Boulardii boasts 13 different well-researched strains of bacteria 15 billion CFU.
Although it’s not enteric-coated, this probiotic is a combination of durable strains that are proven to withstand stomach acids and bile. This means it’ll make it all the way to your GI tract, where the bacteria can do its thing.
While it’s shipped room temperature (which it’s designed to be able to do), it requires refrigeration after opening.
This option combines strains from 3 different probiotic subcategories.
While this has its perks and I included it on the list because it’s a decent option, I think there are better options.
This one only has 15 billion CFU (some of our other options have 100 billion for comparison), and they don’t specify how much of each strain is in each capsule.
Not a bad option, but you can find a better option.
Final Thoughts: Garden Of Life is a great brand, and this probiotic is decent. For what you get and the price point, I think you can do better than this one.
An example that’s often used when explaining the gut microbiome is to imagine it as a garden. This is a good analogy because it shows us how it works.
Following this example, the thick, lush grass of your garden would be the prebiotics in your gut, while the probiotics are like the ladybugs, earthworms, butterflies and other insects that feed on the grass to keep it healthy.
The last thing you want is a garden with barren grass because that’s a sign of an unhealthy gut environment that can cause leaky walls of the small intestine and lead to illness and disease. Enter; leaky gut.
According to gut health specialist Dr. Michael Ruscio, the gut is a selectively permeable membrane which means that there are some nutrients that are allowed to pass through while keeping out certain undesirable bacteria.
A leaky gut is usually a sign that the membrane is so worn-down that both good and bad substances can flow through without any regulation.
Things that irritate the gut lining include stress, too much exercise, and lack of sleep. Fungal overgrowth and certain food sensitivities like gluten intolerance can also cause leaky gut.
The most important thing is to bring the ecosystem within your gut microbiome into homeostasis through proper lifestyle, diet, and supplementation, making sure to follow the right probiotic protocol.
When this is done, the cells that line the lower bile and colon tighten up, and leaky gut is corrected.
I’m sure you’ve seen all the Latin-sounding probiotic words when looking at supplements, but what does it all mean?
Thankfully, it’s not all jibberish, and it’s simple to understand– which I break down.
Probiotics typically fall into three categories:
This category of probiotics consists of microorganisms that produce lactic acid in order to improve overall health. This is the most well-researched probiotic category out there (currently over 500 clinical trials) and it consists of a combination of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.
Here are a few examples of probiotic strains that you’d find under this category:
It has been proven in multiple studies, to boost the immune system through pro and anti inflammatory pathways.
This strain also aids in the prevention of urinary tract infections, especially those concerned with antibiotics.
This category of probiotics (the 2nd most research type of probiotic) is a type of yeast that’s very beneficial to the body. It has been shown to help with various conditions, including IBS, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea, and it can correct gut imbalances.
As the name implies, soil-based probiotics are derived from the soil and water. These live microorganisms are commonly used to make up for the bacteria that human beings miss due to our reduced contact with nature. Some of the most well-known soil-based probiotic strains include:
You may look at these three probiotic strains and wonder which option would work best to alleviate your leaky gut. Truth is, a probiotic protocol that consists of a robust variety of strains is usually the best option because everyone responds differently based on their needs.
With that being stated, it can be quite expensive to purchase 3 different types of probiotics, so here is my recommendation:
Best option: You get one probiotic of each strain (we listed one of each above that we highly recommend) and take them together.
Second best option (but still a great option): Start with the lactobacillus/bifidobacterium strain (Klaire Labs), since these have the most research and are considered the most effective, according to studies.
After 2-4 weeks, assess if it helped the problem. If it did, no need to try any others, but if it didn’t, I would move on to a Saccharomyces Boulardii strain (Garden Of Life) and see how that does for about 2-4 weeks.
And finally, if that didn’t do the trick (you can probably guess what I’m going to say next), try the last strain of probiotics: soil-based (BioTrust).
Now that you know about the 3 most researched probiotic strains available, it’s time to dive into some of the criteria we used to come up with our list of options. Trust us, this will make it so much easier to figure out which probiotic to pick.
Heat is known to kill probiotics. So why do most probiotics not have to be refrigerated?
Typically, probiotics that come in non-refrigerated form, either in capsules or blister packs, are freeze-dried and in packaging that prevents moisture– and as a result, can survive at room temperature.
And while they can survive at room temperature, if they are stored in a warm environment, they will die and be ineffective.
Refrigerated probiotics, on the other hand, may not be freeze-dried or packaged in a way to survive at room temperature and will need to be refrigerated.
Probiotics should be dosed in billion units. If you see something in the millions, walk away. That’s really low for a supplement of this kind.
For children, you want a dose that is in the 5 to 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) mark, while adults are recommended to opt for something in the 10 to 15 billion unit per capsule.
20 billion units or more are in the higher end and are often recommended for those with autoimmune diseases, immunity problems, or taking antibiotics.
Regardless of the probiotic that you choose, it’s always a good idea to start with a normal dose, especially if you’re just taking the probiotic for general health. But, if you’re targeting a leaky gut then it’s good to start with a high dose over 20 billion units.
When choosing a probiotic, you want one that offers a variety of strains, anywhere from 8 to 16 should suffice. This should include a variety of Lactobacillus and Bifidus, and saccharomyces strains, which are some of the most well-researched probiotic strains available.
What kind of health condition are you looking to treat by taking a probiotic? This is an important question to ask yourself in order to narrow down your options.
For instance, if you have seasonal allergies or a histamine intolerance then you’ll want to stay away from certain strains of probiotics that can worsen the issue, such as certain strains in the lactobacillus family.
Of course, we’re focusing on leaky gut here, so the probiotics you’ll find below are chosen to specifically help with a leaky gut.
GMP stands for good manufacturing practices and seeing this sticker on your probiotic supplement is an indicator that certain steps have been taken to ensure the safety, quality and purity of that probiotic.
A lot of great brands even have internal testing labs which they use in addition to third party testing to vet the strains they’re working on to make sure that they’re clinically validated.
Look for enteric-coated or micro-encapsulated probiotics because those are less likely to get destroyed by the acid in your stomach when you consume them. Many low-quality probiotics are not micro-encapsulated because this is a costly process. But, failure to micro-encapsulate these supplements can mean they’re unable to survive through the intestines and populate the gut. In short, the probiotics die before they reach your gut and are useless.
When trying out different probiotics, it’s not uncommon to come across one that either has ingredients you’re allergic to or simply don’t have an effect.
If you have any allergies, you want to make sure that your probiotic supplement is made without the use of any undesirable allergens, additives, or preservatives that might negate its effects.
Top Tip: Once you find a probiotic you like, check the label to find out what the intake recommendations are, and whether you should take them with food in the morning or right before you go to bed.
And not just that.
These probiotics come highly recommended with rave reviews (aka we’re not the only ones who love them).
As mentioned above, different probiotics have different effects on different people.
For some, a lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strain like Klaire Labs rebalances the gut and solves the issue. But for other, they may need a soil-based strain like BioTrust.
So, I can’t stress enough how important it is to experiment and see. You can either take all 3 at once, but this can get pricey.
Instead, you can try one at a time, and monitor how it does. You don’t have to go overboard with it. Start with one strain (I’d recommend starting with Klaire Labs since this strain has the most research supporting it).
Give it 2 weeks. If it works, you found your answer.
My bet is that one of these strains will provide you the revitalized gut health you are desiring.
There are many factors that can really mess up your gut health, but none more notorious as taking excess antibiotics which are unfortunately over-prescribed in many cases. Broad-spectrum antibiotics specifically, target a lot of bacteria and end up cleaning out everything in your gut which opens up room for other less desirable types of bacteria to take root.
When talking about the gut we often hear words like good bacteria and bad bacteria are thrown about. The truth is not that simple. The problem is an imbalance that’s brought about by having too much of one thing and not enough of another.
Keep in mind that good bacteria is still a foreign bacteria, another living being inside of us, which is why you hear phrases like probiotics “colonizing” the “host” (i.e. You). What’s often referred to as ‘good’ bacteria helps to prevent the ‘bad’ bacteria from making us sick, thus promoting a state of balance within the gut, and taking probiotics can play a huge role in making this happen.
You can’t have a conversation about probiotics without understanding the role played by prebiotics on gut health. Prebiotics are specialized and valuable plant fibers found in certain foods such as asparagus, onion, bananas, wheat, and many others. You need to have high-level prebiotic fibers in your diet to feed the good bacteria in your gut that’s acquired through probiotic consumption while driving out the undesirable bacteria.
Oftentimes, low amounts of prebiotics in the food translates to bad colon bacteria and leaky gut. So, you need a good balance of probiotics and prebiotics to ensure robust health.
The gut is a robust community of little critters who’re all competing to have the upper hand (not unlike our competitive modern culture- as above so below, right?).
Both good and bad bacteria want to colonize your gut, but as we now know, you want to create a situation where your gut mostly consists of beneficial bacteria instead of damaging little critters.
Our friendly bacteria perform so many tasks throughout the body to help us maintain health. That’s why gut health is considered the foundation of wellness, and probiotics are essential to providing your gut with good bacteria that’ll support your overall health.
Choosing a good probiotic, like Amy Myers MD 100 Billion Probiotic and Klaire Labs Saccharomyces Boulardii can mean the difference between doubling over in pain after every meal or enjoying a symptom-free existence where you actually feel like a normal human being.
If you’re looking for more information about how to heal your gut health naturally, or our Leaky Gut Diet Plan, click on the link. We got an ISSA Fitness & Nutrition Specialist to discuss the overall approach to gut health.
We hope this guide will help you reach your own leaky-gut free Nirvana.