Gut health, probiotics, microbiome, optimization, second brain, prebiotics…is your head spinning yet?
Gut health is important, this we know. But figuring out the best way to optimize it is? Well, that’s a different story and it’s certainly not a cut-and-dry answer.
We’ve been inundated with information lately about our gut health and how we need to be taking care of it, and while this is certainly valid and an absolute positive, there’s just too much information for most of us to comprehend.
I recently spoke with a health professional with a specialization in the area of gut health and he introduced me to the idea of a synbiotic supplement. He explained to me why the best probiotic supplements are the ones that also contain a prebiotic and potentially even a postbiotic, too.
What he unveiled made a lot of sense, so I went ahead and found the best prebiotic and probiotic combination supplements on the market and am sharing them here with you, while also passing along a little bit of the knowledge that was imparted to me.
Quick Ranking of Our Top Picks
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An Introduction to Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Your Gut Health
Without going too far into the weeds, let’s do a brief overview of your gut and the roles of prebiotics and probiotics.
The lining of your gut is covered with microscopic organisms, mostly bacteria. These organisms create an ecosystem that we refer to as the microbiome. Although we are totally unaware of it, there’s a lot going on and it plays a critical role in your health, mood, and behavior.
What you feed your microbiome by way of the foods you eat and the supplements that you take can have a huge impact on the health of your gut microbiome. And it goes without saying that the healthier you are, the healthier your microbiome will be. The key to a healthy gut is to nourish the nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria that you’ll find in there.
There are two ways to do this - you can help the microbes that are already there to grow by giving them the food they like, which are prebiotics. Or, you can add living microbes directly to your system, which is probiotics.
What Are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that act like fertilizers to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. These are found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly those that contain complex carbohydrates. These carbs do not digest by your body, which means that they pass through your digestive system to then become food for the bacteria and other microbes in your gut.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live organisms which are typically specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in your gut. Similar to prebiotics, you can get probiotics from the food that you eat, for example, yogurt. Probiotics make their way to your gut where they begin to live and colonize and, ideally, start to optimize your health.
Do You Need Both (Prebiotics and Probiotics)?
Yes, your gut needs both prebiotics and probiotics to function properly. Since prebiotics serves as food for probiotics, the organisms in your gut need access to prebiotics in order to operate optimally. Scientists have yet to determine whether or not taking prebiotics can effectively support the growth and development of probiotics, though.
If your diet is lacking in nutrients that contains a healthy selection of both prebiotics and probiotics, you might consider supplementing with a prebiotic and probiotic combination, we’ll get to our top picks next.
What to Look for in a Prebiotic and Probiotic Supplement Combination
Before we get into our top choices, let’s highlight some factors that you should consider as you choose which option is best for you.
CFUs stands for colony forming units and it’s a unit of measurement used to determine the number of bacterial cells in a probiotic supplement. Counts are measured in the billion and can range from 2 billion to 75 billion. In general, there is no hard and fast rule for CFUs. Some people find that they experience more adverse symptoms with higher CFUs and don’t have enough benefits with lower CFUs, so choosing a mid-range CFU count is usually a safe bet for most active adults.
There are thousands of bacteria strains to choose from. Look for a supplement that contains clinically studied and clinically proven bacteria strains.
Some strains need to be refrigerated to protect their integrity, which needs to be taken into consideration as these might not be as easy to take on the go. However, there are some brands that offer probiotic and prebiotic supplements that are safeguarded by a moisture-controlled capsule that doesn’t require refrigeration.
3rd Party Testing
As with any supplement, you should be seeking a prebiotic and probiotic combination supplement that’s been rigorously tested by a third party to ensure safety and efficacy. Testing is not required, however, integral brands will have a testing procedure in place to ensure that you’re always getting the best quality, most effective product possible.
Brand Integrity and Reviews
Pay close attention to the brand itself and what its customers (or lack thereof) are saying about its products. Sometimes you have to be your own judge and trust your gut, no pun intended, but do your due diligence and a little sleuthing to make sure you’re working with a brand that you can trust.
The Best Prebiotics and Probiotics Together (Supplements)
With a little bit of knowledge in your back pocket, it’s time to choose a prebiotic and probiotic combination that’s right for you. Below are our top picks based on a series of criteria important to the process.
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DS-01 Daily Synbiotic by Seed is a 2-in-1 capsule probiotic and prebiotic combination that’s formulated with 24 clinically and scientifically studied probiotic strains and a polyphenol-based prebiotic to support your full gut microbiome. Seed offers support for all aspects of gut health including regularity, bloating, stool hydration, ease of evacuation, and decreased gastrointestinal discomfort over time.
With an innovative 2-in-1 capsule design, you get the best absorption possible. The prebiotic outer capsule consists of punicalagin concentrated from Indian pomegranate—biotransformed by gut microbes into powerful metabolites for human health. Then, the probiotic inner capsule delivers a probiotic formula that contains some of the most clinically proven strains available.
- 2-in-1 capsule that contains both prebiotics and probiotics
- 24 scientifically studied probiotic strains
- Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free
- Encourages systematic benefits that go beyond the gut
- 100% survival rate through digestion
- No refrigeration is required
- It’s on the pricier end
- Does not contain a postbiotic
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Ritual’s Synbiotic+ is a 3-in-1 clinically studied prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics to support a healthy, balanced gut microbiome. This unique supplement contains 11B CFUs and contains a probiotic blend that includes two of the world’s most clinically studied strains.
Synbiotic+ from Ritual is designed to give you bloat support, good bacteria growth maintenance, immune support, and more. All of this is delivered to you in one single-nested capsule for pain-free consumption. Plus, Ritual implemented a delayed-release capsule design that helps to ensure that the nutrients reach your colon, not your stomach, as the colon has been shown to be the ideal place for probiotics to survive and grow.
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- Contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics for complete gut health
- Traceable ingredients (visible supply chain)
- Contains two of the world’s most clinically studied probiotic strains
- Helps to reduce bloating
- Protects and strengthens your immune system
- Supports your gut barrier function
- Delayed release capsules go to your colon for optimal absorption
- One small capsule per day
- No refrigeration necessary
- Very reliable and trustworthy brand
- Those with serious stomach problems might need a stronger supplement, this has 11B CFUs
- It’s slightly pricier than some alternatives
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Primal Gut Restore by Primal Harvest is a healthy, natural prebiotic and probiotic supplement that supports your gut health, immune responses, and energy levels. This formula features prebiotics, probiotics, and groundbreaking postbiotics for powerful support of your entire gut microbiome.
Gut Restore contains CoreBiome Tributyrin to help strengthen the gut barrier and powerful B. longum BB536 to support regularity and digestion. All Primal Harvest products are USA-Made in a GMP-certified facility and have a 90-day money-back guarantee attached.
- Contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics for full gut health
- Supports your natural immune responses and energy levels
- Helps to strengthen your gut barrier
- Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free
- Improves regularity and digestion
- No refrigeration required
- Made in the US
- Highly rated brand with hundreds of positive reviews
- Only contains 3B CFUs, which is on the lower end, but perfect for healthy adults consuming a well-rounded, nutritious diet
- There are two capsules to take per day
AG1 by Athletic Greens is a synergistic combination of multiple wellness ingredients working together to produce the best possible results. By including a combination of prebiotics and probiotics, AG1 helps you to optimize your gut health while also promoting healthier well-being from the inside out.
AG1 contains two of the most thoroughly researched probiotics, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. By sourcing its prebiotic fiber from whole foods like inulin, apple, beets, artichoke, and kelp, your body has a fresh supply of nutrients for your probiotics to multiply and thrive in your gut. Plus, AG1 also contains a bountiful diversity of phytonutrients like green tea, cocoa, and grapeseed to further enhance your healthy gut microbiome, providing the foundational support your body needs for all systems. Another reason Athletic Greens is so good - it's a highly successful greens powder for losing weight.
- Synbiotic approach with both prebiotics and probiotics
- Contains 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced nutrients
- Convenient powder
- Helps to support your gut health
- Enhances your nutrient absorption
- Strengthens your immune system
- Promotes increased energy
- Contains two of the most clinically studied probiotic strains
- This is not just a pre/probiotic supplement, it’s a wellness supplement that has many ingredients
- The monthly cost is considerably higher than other options
GutBio Max by KaraMD is a doctor-formulated total digestive health supplement that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics for optimal gut health and gut microbiome balance. All KaraMD products are made with natural ingredients, are vegan-friendly, and safe for those with allergies.
GutBio Max includes plant-based ingredients like agave, inulin, flaxseed, acacia gum, and banana powder to provide your body with a healthy, natural dose of prebiotics. Plus, the Lactobacillus strain used in GutBio Max has been proven to survive stomach acid and colonize the intestines in a safe and natural way.
- Doctor-formulated product
- Contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics for well-rounded gut health
- 10B CFU of a powerful probiotic strain
- Provides support for your gut wall lining
- Plant-based, natural ingredients
- No refrigeration required
- Great brand with a solid reputation for excellence
- It’s a newer product, so there aren’t a ton of reviews yet
- The capsules are a little larger than some other options
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Complete Gut Health from Mary Ruth’s Organics allows you to support your gut health and immune function with this highly specialized formula that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics together to create an epic synbiotic supplement.
Mary Ruth’s Complete Gut Health+ Capsules are designed to provide for your gastrointestinal needs with this all-in-one formula. Encapsulated in vegan capsules made from pune trees with an organic prebiotic and probiotic blend that includes 5 different probiotic strains, Mary Ruth’s delivers a safe, reliable synbiotic supplement that works.
- Contains pre, pro, and post biotics for well-rounded gut health
- Helps to support the immune system
- Contains 5 live strains of probiotics
- Vegan capsules
- Highly trusted brand with a wide range of supplements
- Only contains 1B CFUs
- There aren’t any customer reviews for this product yet
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, prebiotics and probiotics go hand in hand, and there are plenty of high-quality supplements out there that include both. All of the supplement options on our list contain both prebiotics and probiotics, with some even including postbiotics.
Absolutely, it’s safe and recommended that you take prebiotics and probiotics every day, especially if you don’t eat a well-rounded diet and/or are dealing with health issues related to the gut. Both pre and probiotics are natural supplements, not medications, so they are generally regarded as safe, however, each person is unique and should speak with their doctor before starting any new supplement.
For best results, you should plan on taking a prebiotic and postbiotic combination supplement consistently for at least 4 weeks to allow enough time for the organisms to build up and get to work.
Final Thoughts: Which Pre and Probiotic Combination is Right for You?
As with any supplement, it’s in your best interest to take the time to get to know your prebiotic and probiotic combination supplements and find the one that is best in alignment with your body and your goals. There’s not a one size fits all solution and there’s really not one supplement that we can crown as the best, each of the options that made our list is highly recommended and highly effective.
Remember, taking a probiotic supplement is not a replacement for eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and exercising regularly, however, adding one to your routine can help to improve your gut health, immunity, and overall wellbeing.