Do live probiotics improve gut health?

live probiotics

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A recent study investigated if good bacteria in a particular formulation can reach the gut unmodified to colonise and produce health benefits.

Products containing probiotic species has produced a lucrative global market with a predicted profit of over $46 billion by 2020. However, the methods by which these probiotic supplements are made for oral intake are poor and fail to prevent the breakdown of these bacteria by the human digestive tract. This means that these good bacteria do not reach the small intestine in a functioning state, and any health benefits felt are likely to be placebo.

New research conducted and published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics found that good bacteria given using the live probiotic SymproveTM can effectively travel through the digestive tract unaffected, colonise the gut and modify the gut flora and immune response.

The bacteria was examined throughout this study using a new Simulator of the Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem (SHIME) and bacteria obtained from healthy human donors. Using this novel technique, researchers were able to examine the bacteria through in-vitro simulation of the human digestive tract, and thus bypass the need for invasive techniques.

Researchers of this study found that the introduction of the probiotics in Symprove to healthy human donors altered the percentage of bacterial groups in the gut flora, and this created a substantial increase in butyrate (a fatty acid which is important for health and wellbeing).

The study found that Symprove also increased the anti-inflammatory markers IL-6 and IL-10 and decreased the levels of inflammatory chemokines IL-8, MCP-1 and CXCL10, which are linked to inflammatory conditions and viral infections.

Several health conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, are found to have a lack of bacteria called firmicutes and actinobacteria and Symprove was shown to increase the levels of these good bacteria.

Barry Smith, Symprove Limited Founder and Chairmen commented, “Our research over the last 20 years has pushed to understand more about the microbiome and the essential role it plays in our overall health. This new research demonstrates the impact live and active probiotics can have on the body beyond the gut.”

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer


  1. Moens, F et al. 2018. A four-strain probiotic exerts positive immunomodulatory effects by enhancing colonic butyrate production in vitro. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 555, pp. 1-10.
  2. Eurekalert . 2018. Live probiotics can re-balance the gut microbiome and modify immune system response. [Online]. [19 December 2018].Available from:

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