Feeling backed up? Constipation is common among people of all ages. You can often help relieve constipation at home with some simple changes to your diet and lifestyle, including taking probiotics and other supplements that support digestive health.
But what is the best probiotic for constipation that you can take? In this guide we will outline which probiotics can help, and why a prebiotic supplement may be an even better choice for treating constipation. Relief is on the way, so let's get to it!
What Are Probiotics?
Living in our digestive tract are over 100 trillion microorganisms, ranging from bacteria to fungi. This mini-ecosystem is referred to as our gut microbiome.
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that comprise the microbiome. You can find probiotics in supplement form or in fermented foods sources such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi.
The microbiome has many different functions in the body which are vital for health and well-being, including:
- strengthening integrity of the gut lining
- helping to liberate energy from the foods we eat
- protecting the body against pathogens, including "bad bacteria"
- assisting with immune system function
- helping to absorb key nutrients
Emerging research suggests many links between gut health and many other aspects of wellness, such as mental health. As a result, of its close connection to the microbiome is sometimes labelled as a “second brain”.
A healthy microbiome can be great for overall health.
But an imbalance in our gut flora can be equally bad for health.
An out-of-balance microbiome has been linked to many health issues, including immune system function, psychological well-being, weight management, and other health concerns -- including constipation.
Taking probiotic foods and probiotic supplements can help restore balance to your microbiome. Probiotics benefits for constipation (and other aspects of digestive health & comfort) may be noticed almost immediately.
Let's now take a closer look at your current concern -- constipation -- and discuss how probiotics may help.
What is Constipation and What Causes it?
Constipation means that your bowel movements are challenging or happen less often than usual. Generally, constipation is defined as stool frequency less than three times per week.
Beyond reduced stool frequency, the telltale signs of constipation include:
- Hard, dry or small stools
- Straining to have bowel movements
- Bloating, cramps, general gut discomfort
Chronic constipation is not only uncomfortable, it may limit day-to-day life performance.
Several factors contribute to constipation, ranging from easy fixes to more complicated challenges.
Failing to drink enough water and sedentary lifestyle, for example, are two direct causes of constipation that are easily remedied: hydrate more, move more.
More complex constipation causes include irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and prescription medications (including antibiotics) that you may be taking under the direction of your doctor.
Mood disorders including stress and depression have also been shown to have direct impact on gut health, and ultimately, constipation.
One of the worst causes of constipation -- low fiber intake -- is one of the easiest to correct.
And beyond fast and lasting relief of constipation, fiber comes with a treasure trove of impressive health benefits, too.
Fiber is a one-stop shop for all aspects of gut health, including relatively quick relief of constipation along with long-range support for overall health and wellness.
Fiber boosts the microbiome.
Part of the reason fiber works for gut health and especially for constipation is that types of fiber known as prebiotics feeds the microbe biome helping to boost the numbers of many different strains of probiotics that live in your microbe biome.
Here's the problem. Only 5% of Americans meet the daily recommended intake for fiber, which is 25 g for women and 38 g for men.
That's why the best probiotic for constipation is actually a prebiotic fiber supplement. Specifically, a type of fiber called inulin sourced from chicory root. More on that a little further down the page.
Best Probiotics for Constipation
There are many strains of beneficial bacteria that form your gut microbiota. Of all the probiotic strains, there are two that may be the best for constipation:
Lactobacillus (inc. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus bulgaricus)
Bifibacterium (inc. Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum)
Both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strain types have been shown to be depleted in cases of functional constipation.
They have also been studied, both alone and in combination, for their potential to help ease constipation and related digestive issues.
Researchers have reported that Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium may be the most effective probiotic strain varieties for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, which include constipation.
Both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains are available in supplement form. But probiotic supplement products can be unpredictable.
Inulin prebiotic fiber offers an alternative way to enhance your microbiome. It is found in our top product for constipation: Performance Lab® Prebiotic.
How to feed your microbiome
Let's quickly recap: If you're seeking to improve your bowel habits, you've got options for restoring gut balance and alleviating constipation.
The best probiotics for constipation are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
The best prebiotic fiber that boosts these strains is Inulin-FOS (Orafti® Synergy1).
Inulin and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are soluble prebiotic fibers found naturally in chicory root. Together, in Orafti® Synergy1, inulin and FOS present a blend of both short-chain and long-chain fibers.
This special structure is believed to better survive stomach acids, reaching the colon for maximum microbiome-nourishing effects.
Orafti® Synergy1 Inulin-FOS specifically targets Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
In other words, this form of Inulin-FOS prebiotic fiber boosts the two probiotic strains that are closely linked with constipation relief.
Performance Lab Prebiotic is our top choice for constipation because delivers a more reliable and comfortable microbiome support compared to probiotics alone.
This prebiotic supplement supplies an advanced upgrade on standard probiotics, feeding our gut's existing bacterial colonies to promote healthy growth in harmony with your body.
Probiotics Vs Prebiotics: Which is Better for Constipation?
Both probiotics and prebiotics are effective for relieving constipation.
High-quality probiotic supplements are effective over the counter remedies for constipation. Taking a daily probiotic supplement can directly raise the number of good bacteria to balance out the bad bacteria in your gut.
But probiotics in supplement form are fragile, and may be unreliable.
The beneficial bacteria contained in probiotic supplements must arrive intact to improve gut health. Probiotic supplements vary widely in quality, and, depending on formulation, may be associated with some gastric distress.
Top-shelf probiotics work in supplement form, but a high-quality prebiotic supplement may be even better for occasional constipation. It works in a more efficient and natural way:
Inulin fiber boosts Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics that are already living in your gut.
For that reason -- and many other prebiotic advantages -- taking a prebiotic like inulin may be a smarter alternative to taking a standard probiotic supplement.
Prebiotics nourish the microbiome and raise good bacteria in the gut, helping to stimulate their activity and growth. Prebiotic fiber supplements help restore the healthy microbiome balance associated with constipation relief and regular stool frequency.
But that's just one aspect of prebiotic benefits in the digestive system and beyond.
As prebiotics are fermented by probiotics, they produce short-chain fatty acids that have been shown in clinical trials to help strengthen the gut lining.
This benefit can help with leaky gut and also enhance the gut lining's important barrier functions for the immune system.
Prebiotic fiber also adds bulk to stools
As a source of soluble fiber, prebiotic nutrients soak up fluids like a sponge, swelling and expanding in the gut. As gut probiotics feeds on the prebiotic fiber, they start a fermentation process that softens the stool and improves its consistency.
These combined bioactivities add bulk to stools, helps increase stool frequency, accelerates gut transit time and generally makes stools easier to pass without straining.
Prebiotics help alleviate constipation while promoting overall digestive ease and comfort.
Beyond helping with occasional constipation, prebiotics do a lot more than probiotics, addressing health problems including:
- Helping weight loss by controlling appetite
- Supporting bone health by enhancing calcium absorption
- Promoting heart health by regulating bad cholesterol
- Maintaining balanced blood sugar levels
Prebiotics help overall health in addition to helping the gut
The Orafti® Synergy1 brand of Inulin-FOS is also backed by several human clinical research studies, with evidence pointing to impressive benefits:
- 8 g per day of Orafti® Synergy1 boosted calcium absorption by almost 20%.
- 10 g per day of Orafti® Synergy1 increased calcium absorption by 20% and magnesium absorption by 10%.
- 8 g of Orafti® Synergy1 was associated with 45% higher bone mineral density (versus placebo)
The above listed benefits of prebiotics are realized to maximum effect in our top supplement pick for constipation: Performance Lab Prebiotic.
Prebiotics are a readily available fiber that promotes regular bowel movements. You can find prebiotics in dietary supplements or in gut healthy foods such as chicory root, apple skin, bananas and beans.
Did you know? If you like to stock up on supplements, also keep in mind that prebiotics have a much longer shelf life than fragile probiotic formulas.
Probiotics for Constipation: The Bottom Line
Constipation is a common ailment that many of us suffer with at some point in our lives. Constipation and other related issues can throw off the balance in our gut microbiome, which can often have a negative impact on other aspects of health.
Probiotics are often the go-to supplement for any gut-related issues. While lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium help under certain circumstances, such as to ease IBS symptoms, or to replenish good bacteria after a course of antibiotics, they also have some drawbacks.
Prebiotics appear to be the better choice of gut supplement when it comes to supporting a healthy digestive system, boosting immune function, and providing a relief from bowel struggles such as constipation.
Probiotics are classed as a food, so are not always regulated to a quality standard
- The product may not contain the bacteria stated on the label
- The bacteria contained in the product are live and fragile, meaning they may not survive long enough to reach your gut
- The product may not contain enough bacteria to have an effect
So, while probiotics are generally harmless for most of us, it may burn a hole in your pocket as opposed to making a meaningful difference to your gut flora.
Our preferred pick is Performance Lab Prebiotic, an effective and reliable alternative to probiotics alone, which nourishes existing bacteria and provides digestive comfort, thus promoting overall gut health safely, comfortably and reliably.
Best Overall Supplement for Constipation: Performance Lab® Prebiotic
Performance Lab Prebiotic delivers ultramodern Microflora support for digestive, immune and metabolic health
Performance Lab® Prebiotic delivers Orafti® Synergy1 (Inulin-FOS from chicory root), the best prebiotic for boosting constipation-relieving probiotics, in a dose of 1.7 g of fiber in each serving.
Performance Lab® Prebiotic Fiber Benefits
- Contribute to normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency
- Helps improve stool consistency, making it easier to pass
- Can be used like natural stool softeners
- Stimulates fermentation processes in the gut that increase stool volume and softness
- Assists with easy and comfortable elimination
- Supports a resilient gut lining and reduce leaky gut risk
- Promotes a healthy and balanced digestive system
- Provides digestive support that comes on in a gradual, mild and comfortable manner, for benefits without bloating
Performance Lab® Prebiotic - Probiotic benefits
- Supplies the best prebiotic for specific strains of probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium -- known for relieving constipation
- Prebiotic Orafti® Synergy1's impact on gut flora has been clinically shown to promote a favorable colon environment for nutrient absorption
Performance Lab® Quality benefits
It's also worth noting that Performance Lab products are top-quality across the board. Orafti® Synergy1 is the most advanced prebiotic fiber on the market. But Performance Lab doesn't stop there.
Performance Lab Prebiotic is delivered in all-natural NutriCaps.
These easy to swallow capsules are 100% plant-sourced from pullulan, a type of fermented tapioca. In addition, NutriCaps are infused with prebiotic fiber, bringing a little extra digestive support to the mix.
Did you know? Prebiotic Orafti® Synergy1 Inulin-FOS has a mild, sweet taste. Prebiotic capsules may be opened and added to shakes, smoothies, coffee, cereals and other foods and drinks to nourish the microbiome, increase fiber intake and add a touch of sweetness.
If you're feeling backed up, probiotics and prebiotics can help deliver natural relief. Both are effective, but prebiotic fiber offers benefits that probiotics do not offer, ultimately making it a superior choice for constipation.
Of all the prebiotic supplements on the market, Performance Lab® Prebiotic is #1.
It uses premium-quality Orafti® Synergy1, the most advanced and clinically researched form of prebiotic fiber you can buy.
And, like all Performance Lab® formulas, Prebiotic undergoes extensive quality testing throughout the manufacturing process, ultimately producing a clean, safe and effective supplement.
Prebiotic offers more benefits than a probiotic alone. And, when taken with other Performance Lab formulas, Prebiotic enhances nutrient absorption and helps them to work even better.
For reliable constipation relief that delivers a plethora of additional benefits for overall health and well-being, consider taking the best prebiotic supplement on the market today: Performance Lab® Prebiotic.