Probiotics and probiotic supplements have taken the health and wellness world by storm. They’ve become extremely popular due to the main health benefits provided, including improving digestive health, supporting the immune system, reducing stomach issues, and the list just goes on.
With probiotics’ increase in popularity also comes a wide variety of probiotic supplement options to choose from. One such choice comes from a well-known supplement company that you may have heard of before, GNC Live Well. Their GNC Probiotic Complex contains multiple strains and aims to provide you and your body with all the benefits probiotics can give.
Like any supplement, though, some probiotics measure up to the task while others fall flat. So, is GNC Probiotic Complex a solid option, and is it really worth the price? Let’s take a closer look so you can decide if this probiotic is the right choice for your needs in this GNC Probiotic Complex review!
Virtually everyone in the natural products industry has, at one time or another, made the trek to GNC Headquarters in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The facilities are impressive, and there is a constant hub of activities as the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the health and nutrition space goes about its business.
The company, General Nutrition Centers (GNC), in business since 1935, has recently experienced some difficult times, declining brick and mortar store sales, significant store closings, a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2020, and the eventual sale to the Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, Harbin, China. However, with new owners, changes in the C-Suite, and access to capital, the new, leaner GNC is well-positioned in the growing nutritional supplement category.
Down in store count from 8,800 in 2014 to 6,800 today (4,800 in the U.S. and Canada), GNC remains the largest health and nutrition retailer in the U.S. They dwarf their specialty retailer competitors Vitamin Shoppe (758 stores) and Vitamin World (127 locations). But GNC is more than brick and mortar and epitomizes the “omnichannel retailer.”
The Company derives revenue through its company-owned retail stores, a growing e-commerce business, domestic and international franchise operations, and corporate partnerships, such as its “store within a store” concept with Rite Aid Drugstores. GNC also has a manufacturing arm that produces its extensive private label offerings and provides third-party contract manufacturing services to other brands.
Core to GNC’s go-forward plan is its private label program. New leadership intends to introduce even more private label products, which now make up 50% of its assortment. For GNC, private label means premium, value-added products, often formulated with patented and trademarked ingredients. GNC’s more popular proprietary brands are Mega Men, Ultra Mega, Pro Performance AMP, and Beyond Raw. Some of their well-known supplements include GNC Pro Performance Bulk 1340, GNC Mega Men Sport, and Nugenix GH-Boost, amongst others. In addition to differentiating its product offering to the consumer, private label is a crucial driver of significantly enhanced gross margins.
GNC Probiotic Complex is another one of GNC’s private label supplements. It is a multi-strain probiotic that contains 25 Billion CFUs and is designed to improve digestive health, support the immune system, and more. Let’s continue on and take a look at GNC’s quality control measures as well as drill down on GNC Probiotic Complex’s formula that features LAB4 probiotics, a multi probiotic blend, and FOS (a prebiotic fiber).
Probiotics Gaining in Popularity
The probiotics market, already a top 10 category in the supplement world, continues to expand and is estimated to reach nearly $70 billion in the next two years. Driving the category growth – people are more mindful of preventative healthcare and digestive health and continued innovation in probiotic formulations.
GNC stays on the cutting edge of product innovation through its access to industry trends, ingredient innovations, and clinical trial data to support structure-function claims. The major ingredient suppliers and third-party brands regularly approach GNC buyers seeking distribution in their stores and on their website. The most intriguing concepts, newest ingredients, and strongest clinical results find their way to GNC’s private label department for further exploration – remember, GNC private label means premium products formulated with patented and trademarked ingredients.
So, it’s no surprise that GNC competes in the growing probiotic category by offering the best-selling third-party brands, think national brands such as Garden of Live and Now Nutrition, and with a plethora of GNC private label offerings. GNC Probiotic Complex products, GNC Probiotic Solution products, Kids Probiotics, capsules, powders, chewable, soft chews, and gummies. The assortment of different potencies, from 10 CFUs to 150 CFUs, and the number of different strains is mind-boggling and must create confusion and consternation for the consumer. But we digress; this is a review of the 25 Billion CFU, GNC Probiotic Complex.
GNC Probiotic Complex
GNC Probiotic Complex is a dietary supplement in vegetable capsule form. The product has three primary components in the formulation, which we will discuss in greater detail in the key ingredient section:
- LAB4 Probiotics – a blend of four different probiotics
- Multi-Strain – twelve additional strains of probiotics
- Prebiotic – FOS (Fructooligosaccharides) 100 mg, a prebiotic fiber, a carbohydrate often used as an alternative sweetener in products.
The sixteen probiotic strains in GNC Probiotic Complex are designed to help restore intestinal balance, while the prebiotic’s role is to nourish the good bacteria. GNC guarantees the viability of the 25 billion probiotic CFUs (colony forming units) through the product’s expiration date. Unlike many other probiotic products, GNC’s offering does not require refrigeration and is gluten and lactose-free. Each bottle of the GNC Probiotic Complex contains thirty vegetarian capsules, a thirty-day supply.
GNC Probiotic Complex Manufacturing
GNC produces its own-label products under its manufacturing arm, Nutra Manufacturing, Inc. Nutra, with its 277,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art production facilities, is cGMP and FDA registered. Beyond those impressive certifications, the facilities meet all requirements for products exported to Europe, Canada, and Australia. In addition, the quality standards, over 150 quality and safety tests exceed the most rigid FDA requirements.
As mentioned, Nutra also provides contract manufacturing for other national brands through their SMP Supplement Manufacturing Partner model.
GNC Probiotic Complex Ingredients
While some probiotics may include a higher number of strains, such as 24 Strain Probiotic, GNC Probiotic Complex includes 16 specially chosen strains found in three separate blends/complexes.
The three components of GNC Probiotic Complex’s formula are below.
LAB4 Probiotics – Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria
- Lactobacillus acidophilus (CUL 60)
- Lactobacillus acidophilus (CUL 21)
- Bifidobacterium bifidum (CUL 20)
- Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (CUL 34)
Although not indicated on the GNC Supplement Facts Panel, LAB4 Probiotics are a trademarked ingredient. LAB4 efficacy is supported by more than ten human clinical trials and over 100 scientific investigations – with most of the studies published in peer-reviewed journals.
Lab4 is known for its durability and growth potential and is used in many popular brands of probiotics for athletes. The strains have also exhibited an effect on depression and anxiety.
Multi Strain Blend
Twelve strains of live, active probiotic cultures to help restore and replenish your intestinal balance. These probiotics are good bacteria formulated to protect you against digestive issues due to the modern American diet, antibiotics, and environmental factors.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), 100 mg
Fructooligosaccharides is a carbohydrate that occurs naturally in plants, composed of short fructose chains; they are called oligosaccharides. In digestive health products, FOS serves as a prebiotic fiber designed to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.
GNC Probiotic Complex Benefits
By replenishing healthy bacteria, GNC Probiotic Complex improves digestive health, reduces the incidence of diarrhea and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), addresses intestinal inflammation, and supports your immune system. The use of LAB4 Probiotics is clinically shown to improve gastrointestinal symptoms for athletes during training and has mental benefits by reducing anxiety and depression. It is interesting to note the almost complete absence of any structure-function claims attributed to LAB4 Probiotics on the GNC website and their packaging.
GNC Probiotic Complex Recommended Dosage
The company’s recommended dosage of GNC Probiotic Complex is one capsule daily, with food. This equates to a thirty-day supply per bottle.
How Does GNC Probiotic Complex Perform?
Typically, in our product reviews, this segment asks the question, “How Does the Product Perform – the Claims Versus Reality.” GNC adheres to a philosophy of transparency to see precisely what is in each of its products so that you know what you are putting in your body. They also are sticklers about structure-function claims and meeting or exceeding any verbiage on their website or product packaging. As such, with GNC Probiotic Complex, the claims made by GNC are strictly related to restoring and replenishing good gut bacteria and restoring intestinal balance. They forego any further stated benefits, even though clinical trials of LAB4 Probiotics would support such claims.
It is well established scientifically that probiotics have proven positive effects when consumed in sufficient quantity. With 16 strains and 25 billion CFUs, we are confident that GNC’s product will improve gut health, reduce intestinal inflammation, and most likely provide additional benefits with the inclusion of LAB4.
Is GNC Probiotic Complex Safe?
Although considered safe for most people, probiotics may cause stomach issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach cramps for some until the body becomes accustomed to using them.
Anyone with serious health or immune system issues may be at greater risk of having side effects, so please consult your medical professional before adding probiotics to your supplement regimen.
Pregnant or nursing women should consult their physician before using a probiotic product.
The GNC site also recommends you discontinue use two weeks prior to surgery.
GNC Probiotic Complex Pricing
A thirty-serving bottle, 30 capsules, retails on the GNC site for $24.99. From a pricing strategy perspective, this represents a premium versus other national brands such as Garden of Life, Schiff, and Mega Foods, all at $.50/serving or less. However, at $.89/serving, the GNC brand is well below the premium segment offerings from Renew Life and Gundry at $1.77 and $1.96, respectively. They also offer 60 capsules for $44.99 as well as an auto-delivery option that allows you to save 10% and get free shipping.
One additional thing worth noting, right now you can also buy 1 GNC Probiotic Complex and get a second bottle for 50% off at this link.
Typical of GNC’s philosophy, this premium quality offering, with a patented, clinically proven ingredient, is priced above the popularly priced segment yet at a value to the ultra-premium brands.
Although numerous GNC Probiotics are available on Amazon, the identical product does not seem to be available. A similar probiotic Complex with 25 Billion CFUs retails at $24.99 for a single bottle; however, this product does not contain the Multi Strain Blend.
Where to Buy GNC Probiotic Complex
As mentioned in the pricing segment, we were unable to find the exact product on Amazon. Likewise, although Rite Aid’s store within a store stocks many GNC Probiotics, the GNC Probiotic Complex was not available. Therefore, it appears if you want the LAB4 Probiotics, the Multi Strain, and FOS, you will need to buy GNC Probiotic Complex on the GNC website or at one of their stores.
In Summary: GNC Probiotic Complex
We are favorably impressed with the GNC Probiotic Complex formula, GNC’s go-to-market strategy, the manufacturing facilities, and their credentials. GNC Probiotic Complex seems appropriately priced, and the probiotic should actually exceed its product claims for efficacy.