How important is gut health? Is it simply pseudoscience, as some contend? Or is there a valid, clinically supported reason the global probiotic market (Food, Beverages, and Dietary Supplements) exceeds $50 billion annually? In this comparison article, we explore the role of biotics (prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics) in digestive health and how they impact immune function, disease prevention, general well-being, and even mental health. Good gut health is essential. It is responsible for converting food into energy, delivering nutrients into the bloodstream, managing waste, and protecting against disease – more than 70% of your immune cells reside in the gut.
Next, we contrast the approaches of two leading digestive health products: GutBio Max from Kara MD and Bio Complete 3 from Gundry MD. Although there are many similarities between the two companies and their founders, their marketing, corporate philosophies, and go-to-market strategies, there are distinct differences in the products and their formulations. Finally, we analyze the competing products’ formulas, purported benefits, and price value relationships and provide our perspective on which product might benefit consumers based on their specific requirements.
Biotics, Prebiotics, Probiotics (Synbiotics), and Postbiotics
To validate one of our opening statements relating to scientifically supported clinical claims, we refer to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Biotics are live microorganisms which upon ingestion in sufficient concentrations can exert health benefits to the host.” The combination of probiotics, living organisms/healthy bacteria, and prebiotics, fiber that supports and nurtures these organisms, is referred to in dietary supplements as synbiotics. Together this symbiotic relationship can alter the gut microbiota improving its survival rate and beneficial activities, positively impacting the immune response, and protecting us against colds, viruses, pathogens, and other “bugs.”
Both GutBio Max and Bio Complete 3 contain pre- and probiotic compounds, although they utilize different ingredients illustrating their different philosophies, and Kara MD does not use the “synbiotic” terminology.
The two products diverge regarding the “postbiotic reaction/compound.” In the evolution of dietary biotics, probiotics were first; followed by prebiotics to support healthy organisms. Postbiotics were the third concept. Science tells us that postbiotics refer to “bioactive compounds produced by food-grade microorganisms during a fermentation process,” such as metabolites, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and functional proteins and that the use of postbiotics can improve overall health.
Bio Complete 3 uses a patented and clinically validated postbiotic ingredient, CoreBiome, an SCFA (Short-Chain Fatty Acid). GutBio Max does not contain a postbiotic compound. Rather it relies on the chemical reaction of its two pre – and probiotic ingredients to produce postbiotic butyrate, an SCFA (Short Chain Fatty Acid).
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Overview
Both GutBio Max and Bio Complete 3 are dietary supplements that come in vegetable capsule form. Previously, though, GutBio Max was marketed as GutBio Align and was available in either powdered or capsule form. We could not detect any changes in the formulation, dosage, or promised benefits of Bio Max versus Bio Align.
GutBio Max is a doctor-formulated supplement consisting of two proprietary blends:
- A 2.65-gram, all-organic Digestive Blend
- A 149 mg Probiotic Blend containing nine strains with 10 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units).
Each bottle contains 120 capsules, a thirty-day supply, supporting its four veggie capsules per day dosage. Ingredients are naturally and reliably sourced as well as gluten-free, Vegan-friendly, and non-GMO. As noted, the Digestive Blend is all organic.
Two points of interest on the Kara website:
- The statement, “unlike most other Biotic products on the market, GutBio Max is safe for people with shellfish and sulfa allergies.”
- The comment, “Combines Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Postbiotics for Maximum Effect.” As noted above, there is no actual postbiotic compound in the formula, and the product relies on a chemical reaction to produce the butyrate.
We go into more detail regarding the specific fibers and probiotic strains and their roles in the Formulation segment.
Bio Complete 3
Bio Complete 3 has no proprietary blends. Instead, it includes three trademarked ingredients, a prebiotic, probiotic, and a postbiotic (Core-Biome), to support the gut lining and alleviate symptoms of “leaky gut.”
Like GutBio Max, the Gundry product is doctor-formulated, manufactured in the U.S. in an FDA-registered facility, is third-party tested for quality and purity, and carries a ninety-day money-back guarantee.
Each bottle of Bio Complete is a thirty-day supply of 120 capsules. The recommended dosage is two capsules twice daily, preferably before a meal.
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: How They Compare
The similarities are remarkable. Both companies were founded by respected physicians who remain the outward face of the company, and both have excellent online presences to market their products. Below is a chart highlighting the various attributes of each product:
Product Comparison Chart
|GutBio Max||Bio Complete 3|
|FDA Registered in the U.S.||Yes||Yes|
|Probiotic||Yes, 149mg / 10 billion CFUs||Yes, 16mg / 2 billion CFUs|
|Advertised Benefits||Digestive Health, Immune Support, Weight Management, Prevents IBS, Detox Effect, Energy||Digestive Health, Immune Support, Weight Management, Prevents Leaky Gut, Energy|
|Price / per Serving||$34.95 / $1.165 per serving||$49.95 / $1.665 per serving|
|90-Day Money Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes|
|Where to Buy |
(Neither product is available in stores).
|Company website, Amazon, other online retailers||Company website, Amazon|
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Formulations
Beyond price, a question relative to Kara MD’s facilities being cGMP certified, and availability (Where to Buy), the profile and attributes of GutBio Max and Bio Complete 3 are remarkably similar. It should be noted the trademarked ingredients in Bio Complete 3 are inherently more expensive. It is in the doctor’s approach to formulations where the two products really differ.
GutBio Max has two proprietary blends, typically something we try to avoid in dietary supplements as less scrupulous manufacturers sometimes “fairy dust” their products with ingredients. We do not believe this is the case in Bio Max. The Digestive/Prebiotic Blend is a robust 2.65 grams, or 2650 mg, of Organic Blue Agave Inulin, Organic Banana Powder, and Organic Flaxseed Meal. All three organic compounds contain natural fiber to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
The Probiotic Blend consists of nine probiotic strains, delivering 10 billion CFUs. By comparison, Bio Complete 3 only contains one strain and 2 billion CFUs. Neither product ranks especially well in the number of strains or CFUs delivered in the highly competitive probiotic space; however, these products also provide prebiotics and a postbiotic ingredient or reaction. Consider that Harvard Medical School notes there are more than 500 different kinds of probiotic species.
A hallmark of patented and trademarked ingredients is that the ingredient manufacturer conducts clinical trials to support their product’s effectiveness at established dosages. Our research indicates that each probiotic included in the GutBio Max proprietary blend has also been the subject of clinical trials to support their efficacy. However, given the nature of a proprietary blend and the inability to determine the precise dosage of each probiotic, we cannot determine if the quantity of a given probiotic is sufficient to deliver the purported benefit. What we do know is that the ingredients in the blend are representative of the best probiotic ingredients available.
Bio Complete 3
At first blush, the three organic compounds and nine strains of probiotics provide an edge for GutBio Max versus Bio Complete 3, with only three ingredients. However, each Bio Complete ingredient was researched, developed, and extensively tested by an industry-leading ingredient manufacturer and licensed to Gundry MD.
CoreBiome, the postbiotic compound, is licensed to Gundry MD under an exclusive global distribution agreement with Compound Solutions – one of the more well-respected nutraceutical ingredient manufacturers in the natural products industry.
The trademarked prebiotic ingredient in Bio Complete 3 is Sunfiber, licensed from Taiyo International, Incorporated. Clinical trials on this soluble fiber validate digestive health and weight management benefits in addition to feeding and supporting your beneficial gut bacteria.
Finally, the third compound in Bio Complete 3 is ProDURA, a registered trademark of UAS Laboratories. Located in Wausau, WI, UAS Labs positions itself in the industry as “the” Probiotics Company. ProDURA is a Bacillus coagulans probiotic, a unique strain of probiotics clinically evidenced to support a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Benefits
The benefits cited on the Gundry website for Bio Complete 3 are supported by the clinical studies of its patented ingredients. As mentioned, the GutBio Max ingredients were also studied extensively. Our only reservation regarding validity is related to the dosage of each component. Neither company makes outlandish promises or hyperbole when discussing its product’s health benefits. Claims are remarkably similar, and we do our best to highlight distinctions between the two products.
Both products benefit digestive health, reduce gastrointestinal distress, improve energy, reduce cravings (weight management), and support the immune system. As might be expected, given its proprietary probiotic blend, GutBio Max emphasizes a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut and mentions a detox effect that reduces harmful toxins. Bio Complete 3 significantly emphasizes protecting the stomach lining and preventing “leaky gut syndrome.”
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Customer Reviews
The customer reviews on GutBio Max are underwhelming at best, with innocuous statements such as:
- It seems to be working for me
- Fantastic product
- Prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics. The perfect combo, and it works.
Digging deeper, we discovered comments about reduced bloating, regularity, and improved digestion, with the only negative comment relating to the required four-pill dosage. Several comments expressed hope that the product would work.
Bio Complete 3
Perhaps the marketing team at Gundry is more selective in the reviews they post, as most of the reviews commented on increased energy, improved regularity, reduced bloating, and several mentioned more clarity.
Turning to Amazon.com, seeking less bias in the customer review process, we find that the two products received incredibly similar results with GutBio Max, 59% five-star reviews, versus Bio Complete, 58%. The reviews for both brands included far more detail, and most cited improved digestion, energy, and mental clarity. Bio Complete 3 received better marks for positively addressing more severe digestive health issues, although the higher price for the Gundry product received some negative comments.
Ironically, in the Q&A section, several consumers questioned which ingredient was the postbiotic in GutBio Max. We concur that the label and marketing seem a bit misleading in stating the product includes pre-, pro-, and postbiotics.
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Price Value
KaraMD.com offers a single bottle with 120 veggie capsules (a 30-day supply) at $34.95 with quantity discounts, as follows:
The company offers an unconditional ninety-day, 100% Satisfaction Money-Back Guarantee on all KaraMD products purchased on their site.
Bio Complete 3
GundryMD.com offers a single bottle with 120 capsules (a thirty-day supply) at $69.95, or $49.95 with a Gundry account. They also offer a three-pack at $188.85 ($62.95/unit) and six-pack at $353.70 ($58.95/unit). There is free shipping for orders exceeding $49.00.
Like KaraMD, Gundry offers a ninety-day, money-back guarantee only for products purchased on the Gundry site.
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Other Considerations
If you are seeking a probiotic for general health, there are products on the market with more strains, delivering significantly higher CFUs. For those with more severe digestive issues, combining a prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic in one formula may be preferable.
There are larger corporations in the space, consumer product giants such as Proctor & Gamble, DuPont, and Nestle. However, both Kara MD and Gundry MD are established companies in the natural product space, led by respected physicians Dr. Mahmud Kara and Dr. Steven Gundry, both experts in gut health, functional medicine, and the microbiome.
Both products are doctor-formulated, although they take a different approach. If you are more comfortable with patented ingredients due to their clinical trials, Bio Complete 3 may be a safer option.
If you insist on organic ingredients, GutBio Max may be preferable, and the Kara MD product is safe for people with shellfish and sulfa allergies.
Although different, we are favorably impressed with both formulas and confident of the quality and purity of ingredients as substantiated by both companies utilizing independent third-party lab testing.
GutBio Max would be our choice for general digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence, constipation, or irregularity. However, for those with more severe gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS or leaky bowel, try Bio Complete 3 first. Note: we are not stating that either product will prevent, treat, or cure any disease; rather, they will support gut health.
From an economic perspective, GutBio Max is more affordable, and both products offer a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your results.
GutBio Max vs. Bio Complete 3: Which is Better?
Purely from a quality of ingredients point-of-view, we have to give the nod to Bio Complete 3. The patented and trademarked compounds in the Gundry product, at the Bio Complete dosages, are supported by clinical evidence of being effective in combatting gastrointestinal issues.
GutBio Max represents a somewhat better value; however, as mentioned, the trademarked ingredients in Bio Complete are inherently more expensive.
Although both products support digestive health and relieve gastrointestinal issues, the Bio Complete 3 seems a superior formulation for those with more severe digestive problems. Like us, some consumers were confused about the postbiotic ingredient in GutBio Max, not understanding the science that a chemical reaction between the pre and probiotics produces butyrate.
We do not suspect GutBio Max of “fairy dusting.” Still, the proprietary blends make it impossible to know the precise ratio of the individual prebiotics or probiotics in the formula.
Two excellent companies with best-in-class practices and two very competitive products. We give Gundry MD and Bio Complete 3 a slight advantage. But, if you’re still itching to learn more about each option, check out our full review of GutBio Max here and our full review of Bio Complete 3 here.