Does vegan yogurt have probiotics?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Does vegan yogurt have probiotics?” and will discuss its characteristics and suitability for a vegan lifestyle. 

Does vegan yogurt have probiotics?Great Sauce

Yes, vegan yogurt may have probiotic bacteria, but it also has a great source of food for friendly bacteria that comes from substrates of plants, known as prebiotics, some of which are fibers and polyphenols (1).

Vegan yogurts are plant-based and may be made by fermentation of cereals and legumes, by even the same bacteria that are used for milk-based yogurts, like Lactobacillus and Streptococcus (2).

However for a food product like yogurt, sometimes the presence of probiotics, doesn´t mean that the benefits of probiotic consumption are going to be reached, that’s because the concentration for conferring a health benefit (1×109 UFC ), is a must (3).

What’s vegan yogurt made of? 

Vegan yogurt may be made of cereals like oat, nuts, and pulp from fruits, among others, which are fermented, but sometimes fermentation is not enough to get a yogurt structure, so other additives like proteins or emulsifiers are required in the elaboration process (4).

When bacteria ferment the fibers in vegan yogurt it creates exopolysaccharides, like gel structures that contribute to a thicker yogurt, and also companies may decide to heat the yogurt to improve the texture (4).

However when it comes to vegan yogurt it’s not just about how similar is to a milk-based yogurt, there’s also the difference in its nutritional properties, being the main concern the lack of calcium, vitamin D, and B12, because those are nutrients highly present in milk, and important for your health (5).

Regarding the nutritional properties of milk yogurt versus vegan yogurt, it’s important to check that your vegan yogurt is fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and B12, that doesn’t mean that you can´t get the nutrients from other sources or supplements, but, who doesn’t prefer a high-quality vegan yogurt?

Do probiotics in vegan yogurt are different?

No, probiotics don’t differ much from vegan vs milk yogurt, probiotic bacteria are lactic acid, which means that when they get an adequate substrate like lactose in milk or fibers in vegan yogurt, they work in similar ways, making acid compounds that are good for your health (6).

Remember that probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that if consumed you may get  health benefits from them, but only if they are in adequate amounts, which means looking at the package and searching for a concentration of at least 1×109 UFC per serving (3).

The benefits of probiotic consumption are wide, however not all benefits have been proven for all health conditions nor all types of probiotics, you may find mainly lactic acid bacteria as probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria  but there are different species, varieties, and sub-species, and there are also yeasts like Saccharomyces (7).

Nonetheless, if you consume fermented food, certainly it is a good decision, not only because of the beneficial bacteria (that work hard for letting you enjoy  yogurt) but also because other healthy metabolites like Small Chain Fatty Acids may be present in yogurt(8).

How do probiotics contribute to vegan yogurt?

Probiotics contribute to vegan yogurt because of the “food” they like, that food is known as prebiotics, which are substrates for probiotic bacteria to ferment, and may be found mainly in cereals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and are necessary for making vegan yogurt.

Prebiotics are important for the production of vegan yogurt, but also they may help to increase probiotic bacteria establishment in the gut, or even help the good bacteria that are already there (1), when you consume prebiotics the good bacteria in your gut will thank you.

To get a benefit from prebiotic consumption, most of the evidence is established in the consumption of 3g of prebiotics ( in the case of prebiotic fibers), so, to achieve that, you may get it by a healthy diet, supplements, or why not, including sources like vegan yogurts (9).

Are there vegan friendly probiotics?

Probiotics surely are vegan friendly, bacteria are not part of the animal kingdom (10), so consuming probiotics is adequate for vegan diets, just be aware that all the other components in the food or supplement, like proteins or coating agents like casein, are adequate for a vegan way of life.

If you consume a probiotic, it may contain coating agents for protecting the microorganism and increasing its viability and so its shelter life, sometimes coating like casein that is obtained from milk (11) may fit or not to a vegan lifestyle, depending on how strict your diet is.

However, there are other coating agents, like inulin or vegetable fibers, that are also used for protecting probiotics, so it would be a great idea to check for the ingredients label and make sure that the supplement or food is a good fit for you (12).


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Does vegan yogurt have probiotics?” and discussed its characteristics and suitability for a vegan lifestyle. 


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