The digestive health, direct-to-consumer (DTC) product category is massive and complicated. Studies show that digestive health and a balanced microbiome are essential for general well-being. Furthermore, gut health’s impacts extend beyond digestion to influence your immune system, physical appearance, mood, and beyond.
In America today, some sixty to seventy million people experience “digestive conditions” at least a few times each month. Many have lived with gas, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, or non-specific GI discomfort for six months or more. Even those asymptomatic now understand the importance of good gut health and seek “digestive consistency” for general well-being. As a result, consumers are increasingly willing to invest in supplements making digestive health claims, even when not treating a “problem.”
The category continues to expand as manufacturers’ products become more complex to address the various factors in digestive health. Initially, digestive aid products focused on fiber and enzymes. Then probiotics took center stage, with brands from the giants in the natural products industry: Garden of Life, Renew Life (Clorox), New Chapter (Proctor and Gamble), NOW, and Culturelle, among others. Next, prebiotics were introduced to support those healthy probiotics, and finally, postbiotics arrived on the scene. Today, manufacturers market multi-ingredient compounds and blends as they discovered digestive health is not a one-size-fits-all issue.
In this article, we compare two companies and their products in the digestive health space, Gundry MD’s Total Restore and Morning Complete from Activated You. Both products address gut health by balancing your microbiome, promising an improved sense of well-being, and increased energy, among other health benefits. However, Morning Complete tends to be more of a general gut health product, while Total Restore specifically addresses digestive issues such as “leaky gut” and its symptoms.
For background, we’ll provide brief overviews of the importance of a balanced microbiome and “leaky gut” syndrome. We then delve deeper into the companies, the subject products, formulations, ingredients, and compounds. Finally, we address the question of which of these two products might best address the digestive health benefits you seek.
For those looking for a more immediate response to which digestive aid product is better, it really depends on what benefits are most important to you. Looking for a daily digestive for energy and general well-being? Morning Complete may suffice. Addressing more significant digestive issues? Total Restore is our recommendation.
We encourage you to read our complete Morning Complete vs. Total Restore comparison as we detail other crucial considerations, such as lifestyle and diet, label transparency, and delivery method – capsule versus powder.
The Importance of Your Microbiome and Good Gut Health
The microbiome comprises all the microbes, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that live on or inside our bodies. Often used interchangeably, the gut microbiome or microbiota is comprised of trillions of bacteria, good microbes, and harmful bacteria. The objective of a digestive aid product is to increase (probiotics) and support (prebiotics) the healthy microbes, limit harmful ones, and achieve a healthy balance of the two to support ideal health.
In addition to its role in digestion, your microbiome supports your immune system, regulates hormones, produces vital nutrients, and eliminates harmful toxins. Recent studies further link the microbiome to mood, health, and even the way you think, referred to as the gut-brain axis. Clearly, maintaining a healthy microbiome and a balance of bacteria is crucial to well-being and disease prevention.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
One of the issues people may encounter when their microbiome is out of balance is “leaky gut syndrome.” Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramps, or other digestive issues, caused by intestinal permeability allowing food particles and toxins to leak into the bloodstream. According to the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Institute), when your immune system sees these organisms where they don’t belong, it attacks them, causing irritation and inflammation.
If not addressed, the microbiome imbalance and resulting “leaky gut” symptoms and inflammatory response may lead to more severe autoimmune conditions, including mood disorders, diabetes, and (IBS) inflammatory bowel disease.
Morning Complete from ActivatedYou
ActivatedYou is a relatively young online site marketing plant-based supplements with a primary focus on general health and wellness. Per the site, the company was founded by actress, animal rights activist, and health advocate Maggie Q, and ActivatedYou is where “Modern Science Meets Eastern tradition.” A second face of the company, Dr. Frank Lipman, provides scientific expertise. Wikipedia describes Dr. Lipman as a South African celebrity doctor, acupuncturist, and alternative medicine advocate. Per the ActivatedYou About Us page, the doctor is also a bestselling author, a pioneer in integrative medicine, and a gut health expert.
Morning Complete is a powdered dietary supplement featuring a plant-based formula of eight proprietary blends, including:
- Pre-and probiotics
- Green superfoods
- Metabolic support
- Sugar balancing blend
- Aloe Vera for cellular support
Given the nature of proprietary blends, we cannot identify the precise dosages of many of the ingredients. There are no organic or trademarked and patented components in the product. One compound, the Aloe vera leaf, was organic in previous product iterations. The probiotic blend contains nine strains, delivering 10 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units).
Morning Complete is a daily “wellness” drink designed to support regular digestive function, increase energy levels, and optimize overall health. The company recently introduced a new Citrus Medley flavor in addition to its original Apple Cinnamon.
A point of emphasis for the company is its position on environmental sustainability – in its ingredients, formulations, packaging, and shipping, even the lightbulbs in their offices. ActivatedYou products are manufactured in the U.S. and subjected to third-party laboratory testing for quality, purity, and potency.
All ActivatedYou products, including Morning Complete, are supported by a ninety-day money-back guarantee if you are not thrilled with your results.
The prescribed dosage for Morning Complete is one level scoop of easy-dissolve powder, 7.6 grams, with 8 ounces of water or the liquid of your choice. A nice benefit of the powder delivery form is the opportunity to mix your Morning Complete with your daily shake or smoothie. Each package contains a thirty-day supply.
Total Restore from Gundry MD
Gundry MD is a sophisticated online presence that markets supplements, skin and hair care products, food, books, and magazines. The company was founded by Dr. Steven Gundry, a New York Times best-selling author, formerly a distinguished heart surgeon, and today a leading expert on digestive health and the microbiome.
Dr. Gundry researches the ingredients and formulates all Gundry MD products, including Total Restore, a dietary supplement in capsule form. The Total Restore formula contains sixteen all-natural ingredients, including organics and two patented compounds designed to support a healthy gut lining and address full-body wellness and leaky gut syndrome.
All Gundry MD products are manufactured in the United States in a cGMP-certified facility and third-party tested for quality and purity. Each Gundry product is supported by a 90-day money-back guarantee (when purchased on the Gundry MD website).
The prescribed dosage for Total Restore is three capsules each day, preferably at your largest meal – or by taking a single capsule with each meal. Each Total Restore bottle contains ninety veggie capsules, a thirty-day supply.
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Comparison
The methods and marketing employed, third-party testing, and use of an M.D. as the face of the company are similar. Both companies sell their products primarily on their website, although they appear on Amazon.com. Neither product is available in traditional brick-and-mortar specialty shops. If you do your due diligence and search the sites, the cost is virtually the same for a thirty-day supply, and both companies offer a ninety-day money-back guarantee. The Gundry guarantee applies only to products purchased on their site, excluding Amazon.com purchases. Although the Morning Complete guarantee applies to their site and Amazon, they discourage buying products from any other site, and the guarantee is restricted.
|Total Restore / Gundry MD||Morning Complete|
|# of Ingredients||Sixteen||Eight blends / 35 ingredients|
|Organic||Yes – VitaBerry blend||No|
|Trademarked/Patented||Yes – two compounds||No|
|Prebiotic / Fiber||Yes, Cloves & Mushroom blend||Yes|
|Advertised Benefits||Promotes healthy gut lining, Addresses energy, Focus, Reduces cravings, Joint support, Weight loss||Supports the microbiome for digestive function, Increased energy, Sense of wellness, Healthy body weight, Anti-aging|
|Price / per Serving||$49.95 / $1.665 per serving||$49.00 / $1.633 per serving|
|90-Day Money Back Guarantee||Yes||Yes|
|Where to Buy
(Neither product is available in stores).
|Company website, Amazon||Company website, Amazon|
The products’ primary use and promised benefits drive the areas of significant differences, the formulations, ingredients, and delivery system. Total Restore has a more transparent label, organic, and trademarked compounds and is delivered via vegetable capsules. Morning Complete features prebiotics, fiber, and probiotics, essential components in a digestive aid product. The powdered delivery format enables the product to be enjoyed as part of a morning wellness regimen.
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Formulations
In this segment, we dive deeper into the ingredients and blends in the products and explain how the formulations support the intended benefits. Industry experts and the NCBI have performed extensive clinical trials on supplementation and the microbiome, identifying certain compounds as proven effective. We highlight in bold lettering those ingredients recommended by the NCBI found in each brand.
A 7.6 gram of Apple Cinnamon Morning Complete (7.2 in the Citrus Medley flavor) delivers the following ingredients:
- Prebiotic and Fiber Blend, 4.05 grams in Apple Cinnamon and 4.0 grams in the Citrus Medley, to nourish and support the healthy probiotics in your digestive tract for a healthy, balanced microbiome.
- Green Superfoods Blend, 735 mg, to optimize nutrient intake. This blend includes Berberine, a preferred ingredient.
- Metabolic Blend, 390 mg, to help support healthy body weight. Includes two recommended compounds Turmeric and Black Pepper.
- Antioxidant Blend, 100 mg, the healthy aging component, designed to address free radical damage.
- Sugar Balancing Blend, 100 mg, to help regulate blood glucose levels.
- Adaptogen Blend, 55 mg, helps the body deal with stress.
- Cellular Function and Liver Support Blend, 30 mg, contains Aloe Vera leaf and milk thistle. Aloe Vera is considered a stimulant supplement, and Milk Thistle is a proven compound for liver support.
- Probiotic Blend, 10 billion CFUs from nine strains of probiotics, including Bifidum, a highly recommended probiotic. Ten billion CFUs is considered the base level of probiotics to be effective.
Morning Complete is a complicated formula designed to address various systems, including digestive health, for overall wellness.
As mentioned, the Gundry product contains sixteen all-natural ingredients, including two patented formulas, PepZin GI and VitaBerry – the organic compound.
PepZin GI, licensed from Hamari Chemicals, combines Zinc and L-Carnitine. The clinical trials performed by Hamari show that the compound effectively maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the GI tract, relieves gastric discomfort, and promotes a healthy stomach lining.
VitaBerry, from VDF Futureceuticals, is a powerful antioxidant, organic berry blend. Additionally, the three veggie capsules contain the following ingredients:
- L-Glutamine, 213 mg, an ingredient endorsed by the NCBI as proven effective for digestive health.
- N-acetyl D-Glucosamine, 142 mg, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that recent studies indicate may help treat IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
- Magnesium Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB), 86 mg, may aid weight control.
- Grapeseed, Licorice, Cinnamon
- Maitake Mushrooms and Cloves as prebiotic fibers
- Black Pepper, for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to aid in the absorption of other ingredients
- Grapefruit, Marshmallow Root
- Berberine, to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut
This potent, Total Restore formula is designed to promote a strong, healthy gut lining and alleviate the symptoms of gastric distress, such as bloating, gas, and digestive discomfort.
Our only concern with the Gundry formula is that some ingredients may be at sub-optimal dosages.
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Benefits
As indicated throughout the article, the use and primary benefits of the products drive their differences. Morning Complete is a daily wellness drink to support overall general health and digestive regularity. Perhaps considered more a preventative measure. Total Restore is designed to support a strong stomach lining, which may help to prevent intestinal permeability and address the symptoms of “leaky gut syndrome.” One product is prophylactic and can be considered part of a healthy daily regimen. The other addresses more severe digestive symptoms – and no one will confuse consuming three vegetable capsules with an enjoyable, healthy, tasty daily regimen.
Additional benefits of both brands include energy, vitality, weight management, reduced cravings, mood, and healthy aging. Total Restore adds improved joint health as an added benefit.
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Price Comparison
Both products deliver a thirty-day supply. Total Restore costs $49.95 on the Gundry website and Morning Complete $49.00 on the ActivatedYou site. The difference equates to $.03 per day. Total Restore offers quantity discounts and a subscription service, as does ActivatedYou. In addition, both products offer cash back through Rakuten, Total Restore 5%, and Morning Complete 15% at the time of this writing.
Gundry and ActivatedYou prefer you purchase your product on their sites. Although both products may be found on Amazon.com, Gundry does not offer its guarantee on products purchased there – Morning Complete does authorize and guarantee products sold on Amazon.com, but not on any other site, “If you see Morning Complete on Walmart or other retailers — please, do NOT purchase it! Listings from these 3rd party websites cannot be guaranteed as authentic and will not include our 90-day money-back guarantee.”
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Things to Consider
Your first consideration should be what benefit is most important to you, an everyday wellness digestive aid or relief from other more severe digestive issues such as “leaky gut.” Diet, lifestyle, and possible allergies are additional considerations. Those adhering to a plant-based diet will prefer Morning Complete. Beware if you have allergic reactions, as the N-acetyl-D-Glucosamine in Total Restore is made from shellfish. Aloe Vera may actually cause certain digestive issues so take note if you develop diarrhea, loose stools, or abdominal pain. If so, consult with your medical professional. Pregnant or nursing women should also discuss adding either of these supplements to their regimen.
Morning Complete vs. Total Restore: Which is Better?
Which supplement is better is tricky as it depends on the benefit you seek. Cost, ease of accessing the products, and guarantees were neutral. Overall, we would have to give Total Restore a slight edge due to the organics and trademarked ingredients in its formulation. We prefer Gundry’s label transparency versus the proprietary blend approach employed by ActivatedYou, although dosages in Morning Complete appear adequate. Those following a strict plant-based diet will choose the Morning Complete offering.