Here's a question you might never have been asked: Have you thought about your microbiome lately?
Whether people are being more mindful of healthy lifestyles, or just like talking about their bowel movements, gut health is all the rage. According to the 2021 International Food Information Council survey, consumers are increasingly interested in using probiotics and prebiotics to support a healthy gut microbiome. Bacteria-rich foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and pickles have become diet staples as people look to boost their digestive and immune systems.
But you don't need to eat your weight in yogurt — or brew your own kombucha — to add probiotics to your daily routine. Daily supplements can be a simple, easy way to get your gut in-check with a healthy dose of helpful microbes.
One such supplement designed to support your digestive and immune health is Ritual's Synbiotic+, a three-in-one capsule combining prebiotic, probiotics and a postbiotic for a balanced treatment suited for your stomach. Having recently hopped on the gut health hype train ourselves, we decided to see how this daily capsule could benefit our personal microbiome.
What are pre-, pro- and postbiotics, exactly?
If you're unfamiliar with what's really happening inside your body, your gut contains a diverse mass of bacteria called the microbiome. These "good" and "bad" bacteria can affect your body in a number of ways, and every individual microbiome is different. Having a good diversity within this bacterial community can help with maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract, normal digestion and a strong immune system.
Probiotics are a form of "good" bacteria that can help increase the positive microbe population taking residence in your gut. These living microorganisms can also help reduce the growth of pathogenic — "bad" — bacteria, boost healthy digestive production and prime our immune system to fight off unwanted pests.
For probiotics to thrive, they need the right fuel, which is exactly where prebiotics come in. While we can't digest these nutrients ourselves, prebiotics serve as the perfect food for our microbes, keeping things running efficiently as the probiotics do their job.
Finally, as the probiotics thrive on the prebiotic fuel, they produce metabolites, or postbiotics. These end products have a number of benefits as well, including maintaining cell health, maintaining your gut lining, influencing your metabolism, preparing your immune system to help defend against infections and more.
How do I know if a probiotic supplement is working?
There's not always a visual or surefire cue to whether a supplement is "working," and when you're dealing with your gut, it's not as easy to tell. If you do up your probiotic intake, here are a handful of improvements that could indicate your microbiome is functioning properly:
- Less stomach or abdominal discomfort
- Reduced gas and bloating
- More regularity in bowel movements
- Less indigestion or feeling "sluggish" post-meal
- An uptick in overall energy
Ritual Synbiotic+: the Breakdown
Prebiotics: PreforPro® to target undesirable bacteria and support beneficial bacterial growth.
Probiotics: BB-12® and LGG®, two of the most clinically studied microbe strains for improved digestive support.
Postbiotic: Corbiome® Tributyrin to fuel your gut lining and support your functioning gut barrier.
Taking aim at reshaping your relationship to your gut, Synbiotic+ packs prebiotic, probiotic and postbiotic support into one daily capsule. The delayed-release pill is designed to help reach the colon, promoting probiotic survival.
The probiotic blend contains 11 billion colony forming units — CFUs — from two of the world's most clinically-studied strains of microbe: BB-12 and LGG. If you had any questions about what's exactly in each capsule, Ritual's transparent supply chain provides plenty of information and study results, even down to the supplier and the ingredient's final location of manufacturing. This look under the hood is nice, especially in the supplement industry where smoke and mirrors can make up a lot of the "facts" behind a product.
Each moisture-controlled bottle of Synbiotic+ — priced at $50 for a cancel-anytime monthly subscription — contains 30 capsules and requires no refrigeration, which makes it easy to add to your normal routine. Taken with or without food, you're instructed to take one capsule, anytime during the day.
My experience with Synbiotic+
I've been wise to probiotics for a while, often consuming multiple bottles of kombucha per week, so I've gotten to understand how my gut reacts to new invitees. To keep my Synbiotic+ dosage consistent and on-track, I typically ingest my daily capsule with my morning glass of water before diving into my coffee regimen. The pills have an inviting mint flavor, which made swallowing the supplement easy on the tastebuds.
It should be noted that anyone adding probiotics to their diet may experience some adverse side effects when first starting out, which is to be expected. For example, despite my self-proclaimed "healthy" microbiome, I did experience some stomach rumbling and bloating after the first few days of testing. Thankfully, these ills can subside quickly as your body gets used to the extra microbes, and since everyone's microbiome is different, you can even skate these reactions, if you're lucky.
After roughly three weeks of use, I can definitely see some results. My stomach feels more regular and my energy has maintained its consistency. Large meals don't leave me bloated or sluggish for hours after consumption, and my "schedule" is not as erratic. Additionally, while very subjective, I generally feel healthier and better about my overall levels.
I've also enjoyed the ease at which I'm able to add probiotics to my diet with Synbiotic+, as opposed to my previous methods of kombucha or food consumption. Rather than planning meals or taking up space in the fridge with glass bottles upon glass bottles, the convenient pill bottle sits neatly on my counter with no intrusion.
Overall, I think I'll continue turning to Ritual for my daily probiotic fix. At less than $2 per day, cheaper than a grab-and-go bottle of kombucha, Synbiotic+ looks to be a simple yet effective way to keep your gut health in-check month after bacteria-boosted month.