Culturelle Probiotics Review: Should You Take It for Digestive Health?
Culturelle offers a variety of probiotic supplements that they claim can provide support for your digestive and immune function.
Specifically, Culturelle states that you can expect the following with daily use of their products:
- A more balanced digestive system
- Improved digestive system function
- Reduced diarrhea, gas, and bloating
Culturelle claims that the benefits are made possible by their scientifically-proven probiotic ingredients.
With so many probiotic supplements on the market, how do you know if the one you choose will work? Culturelle states that your supplement should be backed by strong research – we agree.
In this review, we’ll provide an overview of the products offered by Culturelle, and highlight any available scientific support for their safety and efficacy.
Culturelle offers a wide variety of probiotic supplements, each geared towards specific individuals.
Though the intended target and proposed benefits differ slightly supplement to supplement, they all contain the same active ingredient (more on this later).
Right now, let’s review what Culturelle has to offer.
Culturelle for Adults:
- Digestive Health Daily Probiotic Capsules
- Digestive Health Daily Probiotic Chewables
- Digestive Health Extra Strength
- Digestive Health Women’s Healthy Balance
- Pro-Well Health & Wellness
- Pro-Well 3-in-1 Complete
- Pro-Well Immune + Energy
- Health & Wellness
- Ultimate Balance for Antibiotics
- Probiotic Gummies
- Probiotic + Multivitamin Gummies
Culturelle for Kids:
- Daily Probiotic Packets
- Daily Probiotic Chewables
- Kids Regularity
- Kids Complete Multivitamin + Probiotic
- Kids Daily Probiotic + Complete Multivitamin
- Kids Ultimate Balance for Antibiotics
Culturelle for Babies:
- Baby Calm + Comfort Probiotic + Chamomile Drops
- Baby Grow + Thrive Probiotic + Vitamin D Drops
- Baby Grow + Thrive Probiotic + Vitamin D Packets
Culturelle offers the same probiotic strain in all of their products, though they adjust the amount per serving or add additional ingredients depending on the desired effects.
For example, their Extra Strength supplement is identical to the Daily Probiotic blend, though it packs in 2x the amount of active cultures.
In addition to the probiotic strain, the Pro-Well 3-in-1 blend includes fish oil to support heart health.
The supplements geared towards kids and babies similarly include the same probiotic strain at 15–50% of the dose offered in the adult versions. Including other ingredients like chamomile serves to promote restfulness.
It seems as though Culturelle has a supplement for just about everybody. The question is, do they work? In the next section, we’ll explore the available research.
Culturelle seems to stress the importance of knowing precisely what is in the supplements you choose, and whether or not the ingredients are backed by science.
They claim that the probiotic strain found in all of their supplements, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, has been extensively researched. This is the strain thought to be behind the proposed benefits of Culturelle supplements.
Is there any truth to their claims? In this section, we’ll reveal if there is available scientific support for Culterell’s active ingredient.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (10 billion CFUin one Daily Probiotic Capsules)
Using the example of Culterelle’s star ingredient, we can learn a little about how probiotics are classified.
This system typically involves the genus (lactobacillus), the species (rhamnosus), and the strain (GG). Often, supplements do not include information about the probiotic strains offered in their products.
This is certainly one thing that works in Culturelle’s favor. This piece of information is vital as the effects of probiotics are strain-specific; while species in a particular genus may offer similar benefits, the variety of strains can all behave differently.
With this knowledge, we can determine the available research for this specific strain.
L rhamnosus GG is thought to aid digestion and alleviate the stomach flu, as well as support your immune system and allergy response.
In mice with asthma, 0.018 mg of L. rhamnosus GG reduced airway inflammation.
Treatment with 10 billion CFU of L. rhamnosus GG twice daily for 5-days did not improve the duration of diarrhea or vomiting in kids with the stomach flu when compared to placebo.
A recent review of 12 randomized trials evaluated the efficacy of L. rhamnosus GG in preventing diarrhea, a common side effect of those taking antibiotics.
They found that L. rhamnosus GG at doses ranging from 400 million to 120 billion CFU for durations ranging from 10-days to 3-months, effectively prevented antibiotic-associated diarrhea. They were unable to conclude the best dosing regimen for kids or adults.
Most recently, 100 billion CFU of L. rhamnosus GG improved the motility of the digestive tract in mice.
It seems as though there is available support for some of the proposed benefits of this specific strain, chiefly for improving or preventing diarrhea in those taking antibiotics. The doses offered by Culturelle fall within the range of doses found to be successful in studies.
Recent investigations in mice also offer promise as this strain may benefit those that battle constipation. More research in human subjects is needed to clarify this benefit, however.
The adult supplements offered by Culturelle seem to offer L. rhamnosus GG at doses ranging from 10–20 CFU. This strain was well tolerated by subjects who took much higher doses.
In general, serious adverse effects are infrequent, especially in doses comparable to Culturelle products.
Mild side effects can include abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. These symptoms can be alleviated by lowering your dose or discontinuing use.
They also offer supplements for children and babies. These too contain L. rhamnosus GG, though at a much lower dose. Though we did not come across studies involving babies, the doses offered for children are smaller than what has been investigated in research studies.
Nonetheless, involving a physician in the decision to use is a good idea, especially if you do not know the source of dietary symptoms you may be experiencing.
Though Culturelle products are not available on their website, you can track them down online or in-stores fairly easily.
Amazon offers their Digestive Health Daily Probiotic at $16.50 for a 30-count (1-month supply), and $22.49 for the 60-count. Both options are Prime eligible.
Walmart also offers Culturelle products, though they seem to be only available online. Their 60-count is $25.99 with free shipping.
Target offers Culturelle supplements online and in-store. Their 30-count is $16.99, though you have to spend $35 to get free shipping.
If you are unsatisfied, Culturelle recommends trying to return products to the retailer that sold it. Also, Culterelle’s website provides the following details:
“To process a refund request, please send: Your store receipt from an authorized retailer, clearly indicating the store where the item was purchased and circle the item and purchase price of the product being returned. The box and unused portion of the product being returned. A note briefly explaining why you are returning the item for a refund or exchange, and also include your name, mailing address, and telephone number.”
While other vendors offer supplements with unspecified L. rhamnosus species, those that specifically offer GG seem rare.
One option is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG from Super Smart. Their 60-count is available at their site for $23.00; each capsule also contains 10 billion CFU like those offered by Culturelle.
Most other products do not specify their rhamnosus strain. Also, the species is often included amongst others in a proprietary blend.
Companies are required only to provide the total amount of the blend, not the individual doses. In these instances, you would not know which strain is included, nor would you know how much is in the blend.
You can also obtain probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, though it would be challenging to be sure of which strains and how much you are getting.
Culturelle provides many probiotic supplements, all featuring L. rhamnosus GG. This specific strain has been well studied in the laboratory, in animal models, and in human trials.
There is support for benefits related to digestive health, and in particular, preventing diarrhea in those taking antibiotics. There seem to be other potential benefits on the horizon, though more human research is needed.
The amount Culturelle offers for adults and children also seems to be safe, based on the doses used in the available scientific studies. Their products are also reasonably priced when compared to other supplements.
Culturelle also offers information about the specific strain in their products, and how much is included. These details are not always available.
For these reasons, Culturelle probiotics offer a reasonable option to support your digestive health. If you are experiencing symptoms, however, you should seek the opinion of a physician first.
Identifying the source of your symptoms is an essential part of management. Once you know the cause, the best plan of management can be determined.
Tried this for first time on February 20, all night had smelly "gas" bloating, then 3 days diarrhea! Took a break from product, tried again. This time is no different!
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
76 year old male. I tried two other probiotic products before Culterelle. Neither helped at all. I did some research on the probiotic issue on medical sites. One source indicated that some can be helped and others can't. This source suggested trying either of two products, Culterelle was one of them. I have been using the Digestive Health version for almost two months now. It has really helped me. It has really helped me become more regular with very little stomach upset. I am pleased with this product but plan on trying the Immunity Support formula some time.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend