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Keeping your immune and digestive health at their best all starts with the gut, which, when unsettled, can cause a slew of concerns. According to experts, there are actually a number of reasons why it could be thrown off in the first place. "A diet comprised of mostly fast food and few fruits and vegetables is a start, along with everyday stress, poor sleep, lack of movement, or disruption to the balance of our microbiome. These can all contribute to poor gut health," Vanessa Rissetto MS, RD, CDN, a representative for Align Healthy Gut Team Up and the co-founder of Culina Health, says. "If you aren't supporting the environment of the microbiome in your gut, it is difficult to support your digestive wellness and a healthy GI tract."
To keep your gut healthy, Dr. Sabine Hazan, a gastroenterologist and the creator of ProgenaBiome, says to take vitamin D supplements daily, take a multi-vitamin with essential minerals like zinc (this helps the microbiome), and mix up what you eat each day since different microbes can help build more immunity. Some of her recipe recommendations are as simple as a spinach casserole or carrot toss. Another way to improve your gut health? By using the best probiotics on the market. "Probiotics can assist our microbiomes by helping keep them in balance," explains Rissetto. "Of course, you can wait for life's everyday events to influence the balance of your microbiome, but what I recommend is sticking to a daily probiotic supplement to provide those good bacteria that support your digestive health." Here, find probiotic suggestions (in both pill and food form!) from our experts.
Top Probiotic Picks from Experts
Align Gut Health and Immunity Support
Since 70 percent of the body's immune system is in your gut, Rissetto recommends the Align Gut Health & Immunity Support Gummies to target the area and boost your health. "This probiotic fortifies your digestive system with healthy bacteria that support a balanced and healthy immune system," she explains.
Shop Now: Align Gut Health & Immunity Support Gummies, $19.94, target.com.
Bio-K+ Drinkable Probiotics
Margaret Haldeman, iHealth's senior scientific leader of global research and development for probiotics, recommends this product, as it is "formulated with a blend of Lactobacillus strains that has been clinically shown to support digestive health."
Shop Now: Bio-K+ Drinkable Probiotics, $29.99, amazon.com.
Align 24/7 Digestive Support Capsules
If you experience abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating, Rissetto suggests trying these capsules to help your gut.
Shop Now: Align 24/7 Digestive Support Capsules, $25.49, walgreens.com.
Culturelle Daily Probiotic
These are "formulated with clinically supported probiotic strains to support digestive and immune health for the whole family," says Haldeman.
Shop Now: Culturelle Daily Probiotic, $16.88, amazon.com.
Pendulum Glucose Control
Kristin Neusel, Pendulum's registered dietitian, suggests this patented probiotic, especially if you are a diabetic. "It's clinically proven to lower blood sugar levels among people with type two diabetes," she explains. "Clinically tested and DNA sequenced, it works by restoring your microbiome's ability to produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is lacking in people with type two diabetes due to the lack of these specific bacterial strains."
Shop Now: Pendulum Glucose Control, from $165, pendulumlife.com
Don't want to take a pill? Turn to yogurt, instead. "I recommend this to my patients all the time, especially if they're on antibiotics," Dr. Hazan notes. "It's all natural, it's inexpensive, and it may do the trick to protect the gut from the antibiotics, which can damage the bacteria balance."
Shop Now: Activia Yogurt, $6.29, target.com.
This option suggested by Neusel can also serve as a meal. The shake is meant to balance blood sugar, strengthen your gut microbiome, and keep you full for about four hours.
Shop Now: Muniq Starch Shake, $99, muniqlife.com.
Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement
Haldeman explains that the probiotic in these products is actually a yeast, not bacteria. These are "formulated with clinically supported Saccharomyces boulardii lyoCNCM I-745 for digestive support," she says.
Shop Now: Florastor Daily Probiotic Supplement, $26.98, amazon.com.
Manuka Health MGO 400+ Manuka Honey
"This is a great product especially for non-constipated patients (a.k.a., those with diarrhea)," Dr. Hazan says. "In general, honey is great for the gut."
Shop Now: Manuka Health MGO 400+ Manuka Honey, $30.40, amazon.com.
Welo Kids Probiotic Bar
Need a quick and healthy snack for the kids? Neusel likes these bars, as they host one billion live probiotic cultures and just two grams of sugar in every serving.
Shop Now: Welo Kids Probiotic Bar, $4.99, target.com.
Lane Innovative Kefiran Capsules
To treat a minor case of C. difficile, which is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea or severe colon inflammation, Dr. Hazan recommends these Kefiran capsules.
Shop Now: Lane Innovative Kefiran Capsules, $43.95, amazon.com.