The 7 Best Prebiotic Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

How to choose a prebiotic that is right for you

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When it comes to supporting a healthy gut, both prebiotics and probiotics are essential. Probiotics are live-microorganisms—or “good bacteria”—in the intestinal tract that support digestive health and immune function and may prevent certain chronic diseases. Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics, enabling them to grow and flourish in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Prebiotics are plant-based, insoluble fibers that our bodies cannot break down. These fibers stay intact until they reach the lower intestine, where they serve as nutrients for probiotics through fermentation. Dr. Douglas A. Drossman, MD, a gastroenterologist practicing in Durham North Carolina, describes prebiotics as “specialized plant fibers that act like ‘fertilizer’ to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.”

Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain prebiotics, so you can achieve adequate intake from a balanced diet. “Using prebiotics or combining them with probiotics may further promote digestive health and reduce gastrointestinal symptoms,” says Dr. Drossman.

Some of the highest prebiotic functional foods include chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, chia seed, asparagus, onions, and unripe bananas. If you are looking to boost your prebiotic intake beyond your dietary intake, you may consider supplementation.

What to Look for in a Prebiotic Supplement

Third-Party Testing:

Supplements are not FDA regulated and therefore may have claims that are not substantiated or misrepresent their product's contents. In general, it is best practice to look for supplements that have been third-party tested. Third-party testing is a process where an independent company tests products for purity, potency, quality, and safety.

Amount:

In some individuals, large quantities of prebiotic supplementation can cause abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas. When starting a prebiotic, it is best to start with smaller concentrations to test for tolerance. Try a powder and use half the recommended amount. If well-tolerated, increase your dose to the suggested serving size.

Type:

When it comes to the type, meaning capsule or powder, choose a product that best fits your needs. If you regularly make smoothies, try a powder form. If you travel frequently or like the ease of swallowing supplements, consider a capsule.

Prebiotic vs. Symbiotic:

Assess your dietary intake before choosing a supplement. If you do not regularly consume probiotic foods (like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, or kraut), try a symbiotic blend. If you have plenty of probiotic-rich foods in your diet, you may want to try a prebiotic only.

Prebiotic Dosage

Always speak with a health care professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

There is no recommended dose that one should consume in a day nor a set tolerable upper limit for prebiotics. Prebiotics are fibers but not all fibers are prebiotics. In general, it is recommended that women consume at least 25 grams, and men 38 grams, of fiber per day.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best time to take prebiotics?

    In general, consistency of supplementation is the most important factor for optimal results—so, pick a time of day to take your prebiotics that works best with your schedule. If you are taking a symbiotic (probiotic + prebiotic), some studies show that probiotics should be taken with or just prior to a meal containing fat. Prebiotics are isolated compounds from plant-based sources, so they are likely digested best with foods. Try a prebiotic powder blended into your morning smoothie.  

  • How do prebiotics and probiotics work together?

    Probiotics are live-microorganisms or “good bacteria” in the intestinal tract that support digestive health and immune function and may prevent certain chronic diseases. Prebiotics serve as food for probiotics, enabling them to grow and flourish in the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are plant-based, insoluble fibers that our bodies cannot break down, so they stay intact until they reach the lower intestine, where they serve as nutrients for probiotics through fermentation. Both prebiotics and probiotics are needed to optimize gut health by creating a healthy microbiome.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science, as well as clinically tested and approved for use in humans. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. These attributes include non-GMO, Organic, and allergy-friendly products that are free of most artificial ingredients including colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. When possible, we recommend products that are third-party tested and certified.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

Here, the best prebiotic supplements on the market:

Best Overall : Nature’s Way Nature’s Way Fortify Daily Probiotic

Pros
  • Affordable price 

  • Provides prebiotics and probiotics

Cons
  • Only contains 50 mg of chicory root fiber 

Nature’s Way Fortify Daily Probiotic is our best overall pick because of its affordable price, combination of pre and probiotics, and use of researched bacteria strains. This product packs a 1-2 punch of probiotics and prebiotics from chicory root fiber. Requiring no refrigeration, one capsule ensures 30 billion live cultures and 50 milligrams of chicory root fiber until the date of expiration. Chicory root is a source of inulin, a soluble fermentable fiber that is categorized as a prebiotic.

A 30-day supply of Nature’s Way Fortify Probiotic comes at an affordable cost; a steal for a third-party tested supplement (tested by ConsumerLabs.com) that is also certified gluten-free and non-GMO verified.

This supplement is for you if you are looking to support optimal gastrointestinal health and wellbeing. 

Key Nutrients: Chicory Root Fiber, Lactobacilli Blend, Bifidobacteria Blend | Vegan: No | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No but Non-GMO verified

Best for Women: Garden of Life Once Daily Women’s Probiotics

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Once Daily Women’s Shelf Stable Probiotics
Pros
  • Shelf stable; does not need to be refrigerated 

  • Vegetarian Friendly

Cons
  • Lower in prebiotic fiber than other synbiotic formulas


If you’re looking to target women’s health specifically, try this symbiotic blend from Garden of Life. In addition to lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains, it contains a combination of L. reuteri and L. fermentum, which support vaginal health and immunity. The prebiotic fiber blend is from organic potato starch, a resistant starch, and organic acacia fiber, a soluble fiber. Studies have shown acacia fiber is a well-tolerated soluble fiber supplement that may help lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar control, promote regularity, and aid in appetite control and weight loss.

Garden of Life Once Daily Women’s Shelf Stable Probiotics with Prebiotics contains 50 billion CFU of probiotic culture and 377 milligrams of prebiotic fiber blend.

Key Nutrients: Organic potato, organic acacia fiber, Lactobacilli Blend, Bifidobacteria Blend | Vegan: Vegetarian | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Prebiotic blend is organic

Best Gummy: OLLY Probiotic + Prebiotic Gummy

OLLY Probiotic + Prebiotic Gummy
Pros
  • Shelf stable; does not need to be refrigerated 

  • Gluten-free

  • No artificial flavors or colors

Cons
  • Xylitol is used which can cause gastrointestinal side effects

If committing to a daily capsule is not for you, prebiotics in gummy form are an easier (and tastier) option. One gummy provides 500 million CFU of strain-specific bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856. This strain of probiotic has been researched for its role in treating irritable bowel syndrome in patients with diagnosed depression. In addition, it has been studied for its ability to ferment prebiotic fibers.

The source of prebiotics in these gummies is inulin and fructooligosaccharides, known as FOS for short. We love that these gummies are NSF certified. NSF certification helps consumers identify products that have been independently tested and certified to meet rigorous standards for quality, safety, and label claims.

Key Nutrients: Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856, inulin, FOS | Vegan: No | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best On-The-Go: GoBiotix Prebiotic Fiber Boost Travel Pack

Pros
  • Great for travel

  • Gluten free, sugar free

Cons
  • More expensive

Traveling can often trigger constipation and other unfavorable gastrointestinal side effects due to changes in your diet, a disrupted schedule, and dehydration. Stash Prebiotic Fiber Boost Travel Pack by GoBiotix in your travel bag to help keep your bowel movements regular (and be sure to hydrate).

This supplement contains fructooligosaccharides, a type of prebiotic carbohydrate found naturally in plants that may reduce constipation, improve mineral absorption, and decrease levels of serum cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and phospholipids.

Prebiotic Fiber Boost Travel Pack by GoBiotix contains 5 grams of a fructooligosaccharide blend and comes in individually-wrapped single servings. Simply mix the powder in water or blend it into a smoothie.

Key Nutrients: FOS | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Powder: Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Fiber

Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Organic Fiber
Pros
  • Numerous third party certifications

  • Easily dissolves in your favorite liquid

Cons
  • Only 1 gram of insoluble fiber

For those who would rather drink their supplements, this organic prebiotic supplement is for you. One tablespoon of this super clean, vegan powder provides 5 grams of prebiotic fibers from five different food sources.

Choose from a citrus or unflavored option and blend one tablespoon into a glass of water or juice. NSF certified gluten-free, USDA certified organic, certified vegan, and verified non-GMO—you can feel good about including this supplement into your daily routine.

One pack comes with 32 servings, a more affordable option compared to other prebiotic supplements.

Key Nutrients: Acacia Fiber, orange peel, baobab, apple peel, cranberry seed | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: Yes

Best For Sensitive Stomachs: Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Synbiotic Probiotic

Pros
  • FODMAP diet friendly

  • Free of common allergens

Cons
  • More expensive

Klaire Labs is one of our go-to supplement brands. All of Klaire Labs probiotic products are independently tested to ensure quality and integrity. The Ther-Biotic Synbiotic is ideal for adults looking for gastrointestinal support who may have sensitive stomachs. Combining seven specific probiotic strains with a low FODMAP prebiotic, this product is designed to be effective and comfortable to take.

Klaire Labs uses Sunfiber, partially hydrolyzed guar gum that happens to be the first fiber and first stand-alone ingredient to become FODMAP Certified. Partially hydrolyzed guar gum may be helpful in ameliorating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, but continued research needs to be done.

Key Nutrients: FOS | Vegan: Yes | Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No

Best Capsule: BioSchwartz Advanced Prebiotic

Pros
  • Shelf stable; does not need to be refrigerated 

  • Gluten-free

Cons
  • More research needs to be done to support many of the claims

BioSchwartz Advanced Prebiotic contains the prebiotic xylooligosaccharide (1,000 milligrams) as well as strains of bacteriophages, which translates to “bacteria eaters.” While more research needs to be done, some studies have shown that supplemental bacteriophages effectively target and destroy bad bacteria in the gut while preserving good bacteria.

The ingredients in BioSchwartz Advanced Prebiotic include: PreticX Xylooligosaccharide (XOS), Organic Oryza sativa, PreforPro(LH01-Myoviridae, LL5-Siphoviridae, T4D-Myoviridae, LL12-Myoviridae), Cellulose (Vegetable Capsule), and Vitamin C (as Ascorbyl Palmitate).

Key Nutrients: Prebiotic fibers PreticX Xylooligosaccharide and PreforPro | Vegan: Yes Gluten Free: Yes | Organic: No

Final Verdict

Try Nature’s Way Fortify Daily Probiotic (view at Amazon) if you want a product that uses researched probiotic strains and whole foods-based prebiotics at an affordable price.

If capsules are not your thing, go with Garden of Life's Organic Fiber (view at Amazon) supplement and feel confident blending this organic, vegan powder into your favorite beverage.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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