Nutrition

Shopping for a Probiotic? Look for These 4 Things

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ICYMI: We conducted two in-vitro gut model studies for Synbiotic+—and the results were major. Check them out.

Shopping for a high-quality probiotic supplement can be tougher than it seems. There’s a lot of noise out there, which makes the selection process all the more tricky. As skeptics, we know how it goes—so we tapped our renowned Scientific Team and asked them what key properties to look for in a gut support formula—or, put another way, how they determine whether or not a probiotic supplement is worth the jump. Here’s what they came back with.*

Look for: Clinically-studied dosages

If you’re taking a probiotic supplement, your chief concern is probably whether or not it’s doing its job, no? One way to ease the mental burden is to reach for a formula that contains clinically-studied strains at clinically-studied dosages. Both are important markers of a product’s quality and thoroughness. By shopping from brands that invest the time—and money—required to ensure that each biotic has a clinical study matched to the dose (hi, Synbiotic+), you can temper that inner voice wondering, “Wait a second… Is this even working?”*

Look for: Postbiotic support

Sure, you may be familiar with the benefits of probiotics when it comes to supporting gut health. But did you know they only paint part of the picture? Postbiotics—aka bioactive compounds produced by food-grade microorganisms during a fermentation process—are another important element, which is why it’s interesting that the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic brands don’t contain any.† Synbiotic+, on the other hand, is formulated with a postbiotic—specifically tributyrin, a source of butyrate (which studies show is the primary energy source for the cells that line the colon).* (1,2)

Essential reading → Postbiotics: Benefits, Types, and More

†Based on the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic supplement brand by 2019 retail sales

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Look for: Traceable strains

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: One of the simplest methods for determining whether or not a brand is trustworthy is to dig a little deeper and see how transparent they are about what goes into their formulas, along with the quality of their ingredients. In other words, assess each company’s commitment to transparency, and opt for ones that show you the receipts along the way. In the case of Synbiotic+, it’s Made Traceable™, just like all of our other products. What that means for you: The supplier, final location of manufacturing, and purpose of each labeled ingredient is on Ritual.com. (FWIW, none of the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic brands can say the same.)†*

†Based on the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic supplement brand by 2019 retail sales

Look for: Delayed-release capsules

It’s not just the formula that matters; you’ll want to be mindful of the delivery mechanism, as well. In particular, our experts recommend reaching for delayed-release (DR) capsules. DR capsules are custom-designed to dissolve later, in the intestines, where they’re intended to get to work—and in the case of Synbiotic+, help the primary ingredients survive the harsh conditions of the stomach in a viable form. (None of the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic brands use this capsule technology, so keep your eyes peeled.)†*

Another thing to look out for packaging-wise are in-wall desiccants, a fantastic method designed to help keep products dry and stable. Also, bonus points for shelf-stable formulas, since you can store them right next to your multivitamins—no more forgetting your daily dose. And yes, Synbiotic+ checks all these boxes. Talk about building a habit.*

†Based on the top 5 selling products from the top 5 probiotic supplement brand by 2019 retail sales

Next up… When is the best time to take a probiotic?

References:

  1. Wegh CAM, Geerlings SY, Knol J, Roeselers G, Belzer C. Postbiotics and Their Potential Applications in Early Life Nutrition and Beyond. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Sep 20;20(19):4673.
  2. Campos-Perez W, Martinez-Lopez E. Effects of short chain fatty acids in human health. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2021 Feb 9;1866(5):158900.

Meet Our Experts

This article features advice and has been reviewed by members of our Science Team.

Science Thumb — Arianne

Arianne Vance, MPH, Senior Scientist

Arianne Vance is a Senior Scientist at Ritual. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology from UCLA. Her graduate research focused on maternal and child health, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and maternal mental health. She is passionate about sharing her love of science by presenting cutting-edge research in an accessible and engaging way.

Science Thumb — Arianne

Arianne Vance, MPH, Senior Scientist

Arianne Vance is a Senior Scientist at Ritual. She earned her MPH in Epidemiology from UCLA. Her graduate research focused on maternal and child health, with an emphasis on breastfeeding and maternal mental health. She is passionate about sharing her love of science by presenting cutting-edge research in an accessible and engaging way.

Meet the Author

Courtney Cho

Courtney Cho, Content Marketing Manager, Writer, Journalist

Courtney Cho is a health and wellness writer who has covered a wide variety of industry topics, from the science of nutrition and gut health to clinical testing and greenwashing. After earning her B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she specialized in journalism and reporting, her career has focused on the intersection between clean products, ingredient transparency, and science-backed wellness—and how everyday habits can contribute profoundly to our quality of life.

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Courtney Cho

Courtney Cho, Content Marketing Manager, Writer, Journalist

Courtney Cho is a health and wellness writer who has covered a wide variety of industry topics, from the science of nutrition and gut health to clinical testing and greenwashing. After earning her B.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she specialized in journalism and reporting, her career has focused on the intersection between clean products, ingredient transparency, and science-backed wellness—and how everyday habits can contribute profoundly to our quality of life.

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