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Professor Simon Gaisford

Head of Pharmaceutics, UCL School of Pharmacy 

The way probiotics are manufactured could have an impact on their ability to multiply and thrive in the gut.


The live bacteria and yeasts added to supplements are thought to help support the natural balance of bacteria in a person’s gut. However, experts stress an important thing to consider when choosing a supplement is the way products containing probiotic bacteria are manufactured.

Probiotic products

Professor Simon Gaisford is an expert in the field and has spent several years studying probiotic products in his role as Head of Pharmaceutics at University College London School of Pharmacy. His research programme looks at the use of probiotics in various gut conditions. He talks of growing evidence that suggests that if you feel unwell, the balance of bacteria in the gut has shifted, known as dysbiosis.

He describes how probiotics are most often contained in yogurt-type products or capsules, where freeze-dried or powdered probiotic bacteria are added at a later stage. However, with water-based probiotics, the bacteria are fermented and incorporated live from the early stages of the manufacturing process.

Water-based products are more likely to have a positive impact in the body and help to support the natural balance of bacteria

Reaching the gut alive

Dairy-based products trigger digestion, with the stomach releasing enzymes and acid normally used to break down food.

Not only will this potentially destroy the bacteria in these products, it also means dairy products and capsules are less likely to reach the part of the gut that matters – the large intestine – alive or in the quantities needed to be able to thrive and multiply.

In water-based products the bacteria are primed to withstand stomach acid as the fermentation process allows the bacteria to become used to low PH (the measure of acidity), thus passing through the stomach to reach the gut successfully.

A positive impact

Professor Gaisford says: “Water-based products are more likely to have a positive impact in the body and help to support the natural balance of bacteria, due to the way they are delivered into the system.”

British gastroenterology guidelines recommend initially taking a probiotic for up to 12 weeks to assess the potential benefits.

Future research

Symprove Ltd use a scientific approach to developing bacteria-based products and their research with leading institutes increases the understanding of the role and function of the gut, uncovering just how many aspects of people’s health are linked to it.

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