In this Symprove review, we will introduce the probiotic supplement Symprove and explain the science behind some of its claims.
When thinking of gut health, you might instantly think of probiotics and you are not alone. Probiotics are increasing in popularity, but choosing the right one for you requires careful consideration.
Besides the Symprove review, this article will also cover the essential information about probiotics and IBS.
What is a probiotic?
“Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host” (1).
Probiotics can be found in:
- Dietary supplements (in liquid, powder, capsules etc.)
- Fermented foods (such as kefir and kimchi)
- Fortified foods (such as some cereals)
According to The British Society of Gastroenterology guidelines, probiotics are also one of the first-line treatments. However, they do not recommend specific species or strains (4).
It is important to note that probiotics are not a one-size-fits-all solution for IBS. Different probiotic strains have different mechanisms of action and may be more effective for certain subtypes of IBS (5).
To learn more about probiotics and IBS, we have written an in-depth article, “Probiotics for IBS”.
Before the Symprove review: What is Symprove?
Symprove is a water-based multi-bacterial strain supplement made by company Symprove Ltd.
Symprove contains four different strains of bacteria (6):
- Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus NCIMB 30174
- Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 30176
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCIMB 30175
- Lactiplantibacillus plantarum NCIMB 30173
Germinated barley extract has been shown in test tube studies to protect bacteria against stomach acid and pancreatic enzymes (7). It is important that the bacteria is protected from stomach acid as it needs to reach the large intestine alive in order to be able to work.
As Symprove contains probiotics and prebiotics, it can also be called a synbiotic.
“Synbiotics are mixtures of probiotics and prebiotics that beneficially affect the host by improving the survival and implantation of live microbial dietary supplements in the gastrointestinal tract of the host” (9).
What other ingredients are in Symprove?
Ingredients in Symprove are (6):
- Probiotics strains
- Germinated barley extract
- Sodium Citrate (acidity regulator)
- Potassium Sorbate (preservative)
- Vitamin C (acidity regulator)
- Sucralose (sweetener in flavoured versions only)
- Natural flavourings (in flavoured versions only)
Symprove review: Can Symprove bacteria reach the colon?
To have any impact, probiotics need to survive digestion. This can be difficult due to the acidic environment in the stomach (from gastric acid) and enzyme activity in the small intestine, which can kill live bacteria.
One test tube study showed bacteria from Symprove was able to survive stomach acid levels (10). This study does suggest that the bacteria in Symprove may therefore reach the large bowel alive but it does not prove that this is definitely the case. The issue being that the human digestive system is much more complicated than a test tube setup.
To confirm that any probiotic works in a human body, you must trail the probiotic actually in a human body.
Symprove review: Can Symprove reduce inflammation?
One test tube study on three stool samples from patients with ulcerative colitis showed changes in microbiota diversity in 48 hours after the addition of Symprove. After 48 h, there was also increased production of short-chain fatty acids, which have an important immunomodulatory role (14).
Short-chain fatty acids have a significant role in gut health and overall health, including (15):
- Supporting gut barrier function
- Maintaining gut immunity
- Mucus production etc.
Scientists also noticed an increased production of anti-inflammatory molecules (such as IL-6) and decreased production of pro-inflammatory molecules (such as TNF-α) (14).
In a human study involving 142 people with inflammatory bowel disease, Symprove was shown to reduce the level of fecal calprotectin in people with ulcerative colitis (16). Fecal calprotectin is a marker of inflammation. However, the probiotic made no changes for people with Crohn’s disease and overall no improvement in quality of life was seen in all types of IBD.
If you want to learn more about IBD, read our article: What Is The Difference Between IBS and IBD?
Symprove review: Impact of Symprove on balancing gut microbiota
Another test tube study showed some antipathogenic activity of Symprove against three infectious organisms, including E. coli (17). And, another confirmed Symprove inhibits Clostridium difficile, a bacteria related to antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (18).
Additional information to Symprove review: How do you take Symprove?
Always check Symprove’s instructions when you purchase the product. Symprove recommends drinking the supplement on an empty stomach at least 10 minutes before breakfast. Taking probiotics on an empty stomach allows them to reach your gut quickly (6).
The daily dose of Symprove is 70 ml, which you can measure with a cup you get with the bottle. Daily dose delivers 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units). Colony-forming units tell us the estimated number of viable bacteria that are able to multiply (27).
This dose is important as it has the number of bacteria that research showed to be effective.
According to The British Society of Gastroenterology Guidelines, you should take specific probiotics for 12 weeks. If you notice no improvements after this time, it is suggested to discontinue them (4).
Additional information to Symprove review: Does Symprove have any side effects?
In the first few days of taking Symprove, some people experience looser stools. This can be due to the new bacteria in the gut or prebiotic content. The manufacturer suggests continuing with taking the supplement as this side effect will settle soon (6).
When working with clients, I often suggest that they start with a smaller dose of the probiotic to allow time for their gut to adjust. However, you must work up towards the suggested dose to get the actual health benefit.
Additional information to Symprove review: How to store Symprove?
Symprove should be stored in a cool and dark place for up to three to four months. You should always check the label to read best before date (6).
Once you have opened the bottle, you should keep it in the fridge and drink it within ten days. Symprove should not be frozen or heated as both can kill probiotic bacteria (6).
It is important always to store your probiotics as the company instructs you to. This is because different types of probiotics have a different sensibility to environmental factors such as heat and moisture.
Additional information to Symprove review: Is Symprove Gluten-Free and Vegan?
Yes, Symprove is (6):
Symprove is gluten-free even though it contains barley extract. Barley is only used to make the liquid which serves as a food for bacteria and its protection. The production process is well-controlled to limit the release of gluten from the grains (6).
Symprove is gluten-free according to the Codex standard of <20 ppm (6).
Additional information to Symprove review: What flavours does Symprove come in?
Symprove comes in three different flavours (27):
- Strawberry and Raspberry
- Mango and Passion Fruit
- Mango and Passion Fruit
Summary of Symprove review
Symprove is a water-based dietary supplement comprising four probiotic strains in germinated barley extract.
Research has shown positive outcomes on improving IBS symptoms – pain and bowel habit satisfaction, but it did not improve bloating and quality of life scores.
Other studies also noticed Symprove reducing inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis but not in patients with Crohn’s disease. Moreover, another study detected Symprove had an impact on balancing gut microbiota by the antipathogenic activity effect in the guts.
So far, Symprove has been shown to alleviate some IBS symptoms. However, if you decide to start taking it and there is no improvement in 12 weeks, it is advised to discontinue.
Written by Barbara Lešnik, Student Dietitian reviewed by Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert.
Serena is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian. She graduated from Coventry University in 2021 with an upper second class in Dietetics and Human Nutrition.
Serena has previously worked as an Acute Dietitian supporting inpatients with both oral nutrition support and enteral tube feeding. She is now currently working as a Specialist Weight Management Dietitian. Alongside this, Serena has worked for The Food Treatment Clinic since 2022 and has created our low FODMAP, histamine intolerance and SIBO ebooks.
Serena has a keen interest in IBS and gut health, most specifically the low FODMAP diet. She is dedicated to helping those with gut conditions to improve their overall quality of life.
Last updated on August 27th, 2023 at 04:10 pm