The number of gut health and microbiome products boggles the mind. There are probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and postbiotics. They come as stand-alone probiotics, or prebiotics, in combination (synbiotics), and some products come with added postbiotic ingredients. The concept is the same, though, balance and support the healthy bacteria in the microbiome for improved gut health and immune function.
With that in mind comes the question, how do you know which supplement is worth using? That’s where we come in. In this article, we’ll review a relatively new company and a new voice in the gut health space, KaraMD Supplements and their KaraMD GutBio gut health supplement.
Is this the gut supplement you’ve been searching for? We’ll take a closer look at the company behind this supplement, its ingredients, its benefits, and more in this KaraMD GutBio review!
KaraMD – The Man and The Company
After practicing medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in the early part of his career, Doctor Mahmud Kara pivoted and shifted his focus to functional medicine and natural remedies. In 2018 he founded KaraMD, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio.
The KaraMD company has an online presence, karamd.com, marketing dietary supplements, bundles (groupings of products), and a complete system to aid in weight management titled the Metabolic Makeover. Their supplement line includes options such as KaraMD Pure Nature, KaraMD Revive Reds, KaraMD Ultra Beets, and – of course – KaraMD GutBio, among others. Products are grouped by the condition they are formulated to address as follows:
- Immune Health
- Gut Health
- Brain Health
- Athletic Performance
- Heart Health
Many of the products appear in multiple categories, such as the topic of this review, KaraMD GutBio, which appears in the following:
- Immune Health
- Gut Health
- Brain Health – as a component in the Nootropic Bundle
- Inflammation – as a part of the Inflammation Bundle
All KaraMD products are doctor-formulated and manufactured in the U.S. in an FDA-registered facility. Note, all facilities that manufacture dietary supplements marketed in the U.S. must register with the FDA. We cannot discern if it is an oversight, but there are no statements addressing cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) compliance or third-party testing protocols mentioned on the KaraMD website.
The Doctor’s philosophy, as stated online, is, “At KaraMD®, we believe your health is an investment not an expense, so we focus on creating products backed by science and medicine to help you achieve long term health results.” This is one of the very few dietary supplement companies that mention “backed by science and medicine.” Typically, natural product companies are more cautious about saying medicine concerning their products.
Per the doctor, KaraMD products are formulated to assist the digestive system, increase energy, improve cognition, and aid in recovery from athletic activities. GutBio Align is designed to address imbalances in the microbiome and leaky gut syndrome with a comprehensive formula of probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics.
Biotics, Pro, Pre, and Postbiotics – Bacteria, Fiber, and SCFAs
Most early work in dietary biotics focused on probiotics, the live microorganisms (usually bacteria) taken as nutritional supplements or found in foods. Most probiotics are bacteria much like those naturally found in the intestine, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. For a scientific explanation, the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) states that biotics are nutritional strategies designed to direct gut microbiota towards a more favorable state for host health. This “more favorable state” includes supporting the immune response as the beneficial bacteria in our gut represents some 70% – 80% of our immune cells.
Next, manufacturers added prebiotics to their gut health regimens, either as stand-alone products or in combination with probiotics, creating synbiotics that work together synergistically. Prebiotics are the non-digestible fiber that supports and nurtures healthy bacteria. More recently, gut health products added a postbiotic to the mix, SCFAs (Short Chain Fatty Acids), intended to protect the stomach wall lining.
Although Dr. Kara does not use the term synbiotics, KaraMD GutBio contains probiotics and prebiotics, producing the postbiotic butyrate, an SCFA (Short Chain Fatty Acid). It is interesting to note that there is no added postbiotic ingredient in the formula. Instead, the product relies on a scientifically supported interaction between the pre-and postbiotics to create the butyrate. The NCBI documents that postbiotics can improve overall health and address the symptoms of certain diseases.
What is KaraMD GutBio?
GutBio Align is a digestive health dietary supplement available either as a powder (5.29 oz per container) or vegetable capsule (120 caps, a 30-day supply). Both forms include prebiotics and probiotics, which synergistically produce the postbiotic butyrate. In addition, the products are non-GMO, gluten-free, and Vegan friendly.
GutBio Align comprises two proprietary blends, a Digestive Blend and a Probiotic Blend with slightly different powder and capsules dosages. Due to these proprietary blends, we cannot determine the precise dosage of the individual components. There are no patented or trademarked ingredients, rather as the site states, the product is made with high quality, reliably sourced ingredients. We go into more detail in the following segment regarding the specific fibers and probiotic strains and their roles.
A point of difference noted on the site is, “Unlike most other Prebiotic, Probiotic & Postbiotic products on the market, GutBio Align is even safe for people with shellfish & sulfa allergies.”
KaraMD GutBio Ingredients
GutBio Align’s formula contains a digestive blend and a 9 strain probiotic blend. Below, we will take a closer look at the ingredients used within these blends and how they may affect your health.
The Digestive Blend
The Digestive Blend is 2650 mg, with Organic Blue Agave Inulin, Organic Banana Powder, and Organic Flaxseed Meal. Each ingredient is a prebiotic, with natural organic fiber to support the growth of your healthy probiotic bacteria.
Organic Blue Agave Inulin Powder – Inulin, with its significant health benefits, is high in fiber and low in calories. It slows digestion and reduces cholesterol absorption by supporting the good bacteria Bifidobacterium and Lactobacilli.
Organic Banana Powder – Banana Powder is also rich in prebiotic fiber, helps promote gut health, and may reduce belly fat.
Organic Flaxseed Meal – Flax seeds, considered a superfood today, are a great source of nutrients due to their omega-3 fats and fiber content. Flax seeds promote regular bowel movements and improve your digestive health.
The Probiotic Blend
The probiotic blend consists of nine strains, 10 billion CFUs. For comparative purposes, we looked at several probiotic product offerings from some of the most popular brands in the space:
- Renew Life, Ultimate Flora, ten strains, 74.4 Billion CFUs
- Mega Foods, Mega Flora, fourteen strains, 20 Billion CFUs
- Gundry MD, 24 Strain, twenty-four strains, 30 Billion CFUs
For balance, we also looked at a product positioned identically to GutBio Align, Gundry MD Bio Complete 3. Bio Complete uses only one strain of probiotic, a patented and trademarked ProDura from UAS Labs, delivering 2 billion CFUs. However, Bio Complete also has a patented prebiotic and an added, patented, trademarked postbiotic ingredient, CoreBiome, an SCFA (Short-Chain Fatty Acid).
There are literally hundreds of probiotics on the market today. Below we look at those included in GutBio’s proprietary blend. Each of the probiotics in the formula has been the subject of clinical trials to support their efficacy:
Rhamnose lactobacillus is a bacteria that exists naturally in the body, used as a probiotic to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Clinically studied for its ability to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea and to support the immune function.
Bifidobacterium lactobacillus – a probiotic used to maintain a healthy digestive tract and to enhance immunity. Clinically studied to prevent constipation.
Ediococcus acidilactici – (Pediococcus Acidilactici) – unfortunately, this appears to be a typo on the supplement panel). Pediococcus acidilactici is a probiotic used to treat constipation, diarrhea, relieve stress, and enhance immune response. Clinical studies include trials supporting the immune system.
Lactobacillus acidophilus – is one of the more common probiotics used to regulate stomach acidity and boost your immune system. When formulated in combination with other probiotics, L. acidophilus may help prevent and treat diarrhea and improve symptoms of IBS. Clinical trials support this usage and may validate some of GutBio’s weight management claims.
Bifidobacterium bifidum – is a group of bacteria that help your body perform essential functions. Clinical studies indicate Bifidobacterium may help treat conditions such as IBS, constipation, ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, and the restoring of intestinal flora after chemotherapy.
Lactobacillus paracasei – a probiotic known for its antibacterial properties. Clinical trials indicate Lactobacillus can help fight off pathogens like E. coli and Candida albicans. Used primarily to address diarrhea, it may also affect other digestive issues such as colic, constipation, IBS, ad Crohn’s disease.
Lactobacillus casei is another form of the Lactobacillus probiotic with many of the same benefits bestowed by the paracasei variety.
Bifidobacterium longum – Very similar benefits to those indicated for Bifidobacterium bifidum.
What About the Postbiotics?
As previously mentioned, unlike similar products that include a third component, the postbiotic, GutBio relies on the reaction of pre-and probiotics to produce butyrate. Science tells us that probiotics help maintain a healthy balance in the intestines, prebiotics support the growth and metabolic activity of these probiotics, and the combination (synbiotics), shift the predominant bacteria in the gut to produce SCFAs, the postbiotic.
KaraMD GutBio Benefits
The benefits of GutBio Align are as indicated by the clinical trials of the individual probiotics, addressing constipation, bloating, diarrhea, IBS, and supporting the immune system. Additional benefits attributed to the product by KaraMD include increased energy, reduced cravings, and weight management. The website claims a detoxifying effect, cleansing the digestive tract, reducing harmful toxins, and healing the gut lining – normally attributed to the postbiotic effect.
KaraMD GutBio Dosage
The company recommends four veggie capsules per day, taken with 8 ounces of water or one level scoop of the powder, 4 grams. A typical dose of the prebiotic inulin is 3.1 grams per day, satisfied with the 3316 grams Digestive Blend in GutBio Align. Both formats include 10 billion CFUs, from the same nine strains, in the Probiotic Blend.
How Does GutBio Perform?
In the absence of human clinical trials on the finished product, or patented ingredients clinically supported at prescribed dosages, we are less enthusiastic about GutBio’s performance versus some alternatives on the market. The absence of a postbiotic component also seems to put GutBio at a disadvantage versus competitive products. With its Digestive Blend of fibers and the nine clinically supported probiotics, the formulation indicates the product will aid in digestion, reduce bloating and abdominal distress, and improve regularity.
On a cost basis, the GutBio Align product is a relative value versus the brands cited above, Garden of Life, Gundry MD, and Mega Flora. With its formulation and ingredients, we can endorse the product for those with stomach issues.
Is KaraMD GutBio Safe?
Probiotics are generally considered safe for those over 18 years old. Potential side effects of GutBio Align are the same as those of other probiotics:
- Digestive discomfort, gas, and bloating
- Possible headaches
The product does not appear to pose any safety concerns for pregnant or lactating women. However, those people with allergies or intolerances should consult with their medical professional before starting any new dietary supplement, including KaraMD GutBio.
KaraMD GutBio Pricing
The company website, karamd.com, lists a single bottle, a 30-day supply of either powder or capsule, at $34.95. Quantity discounts are available on the site when combining KaraMD product purchases, as follows:
Dr. Kara offers an unconditional ninety-day, 100% Satisfaction Money-Back Guarantee on all KaraMD products – if the product does not work for you as intended, contact their support team for a full refund.
Best Places to Buy GutBio
In addition to karamd.com, the product is available on Amazon.com and at Walmart. We could not find GutBio Align on other websites or in traditional brick-and-mortar stores (GNC or Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens, or CVS). The company website seems to be the best place to buy the product due to the quantity discounts.
In Summary: KaraMD GutBio
There are so many probiotic supplements on the market making an informed choice is challenging. Several of the best-in-class practices of elite supplement companies are missing in the KaraMD offering:
- Could not verify products are manufactured adhering to cGMP guidelines.
- No mention of independent, third-party testing for quality and purity.
- Lack of patented, trademarked, clinically supported ingredients.
- Proprietary blends make it difficult to identify the precise ratio of ingredients.
- No postbiotic ingredient.
Negatives aside, GutBio is a suitable formulation, designed by an M.D., using quality prebiotics and probiotics supported by clinical trials. Pricing and the money-back guarantee are positives. Product claims are within reason, and we’re confident the product will address digestive issues for those with stomach problems.
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