Herbalife Simply Probiotic is a daily, science-backed powdered probiotic that provides 1 billion active probiotic cultures, which promote digestive health. It works to provide balance to good and bad bacteria (improving the gut bacteria profile), and as a bonus, has zero calories! But, how many of these probiotic cultures will actually reach the gut to make an impact?
We uncover what you should expect from Herbalife Simply Probiotic.
And that’s all it is – a probiotic: with the exception of a certain amount of maltodextrin, organic inulin, and some silicon dioxide, Herbalife Simply Probiotic is nothing more than a very small container of billion-culture servings of Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086.
As we’ve said before, the website tells us Simply Probiotic contains “no added flavors, colors sugars or sweeteners”. The problem here, though, is that not only is the maltodextrin included in its ingredients classified as a sweetener, it also interferes with the action of probiotic spores.
There’s also the issue here that because the label states Simply Probiotic is made in the USA with US and imported ingredients, there’s the chance that the maltodextrin is imported into the US, perhaps even from Europe. There it’ s produced from wheat, unlike the maltodextrin created in the US which mainly comes from corn.
So we have a potential allergy issue here, but Herbalife doesn’t see fit to mention anything about that anywhere.
And as for the probiotic itself, many strains of this particular bacterium – Bacillus-coagulans – are used for probiotics, as well as for other industrial purposes, including producing harmful toxins. Let’s just hope there’s no confusion in the factory any time, then.
When you start looking into probiotics and their side effects they suddenly stop looking so attractive. They interfere with antibiotics, and can even bring on infections that need treatment with antibiotics.
They can also interfere with users’ immune systems, bring on digestion problems and cause headaches – that’s if enough of them get into where they’re supposed to go in the first place. They have to travel through heat and acid, neither of which are much good for anything, before they settle in the gut.
Herbalife and its distributors sell Simply Probiotic in 1.06-ounce containers for $24.95, which works out to around $1.20 per gram serving, twice a day.
When we looked under the heading of “Details” on Herbalife’s web page for Simply Probiotic, and we found nothing. All the other headings on that web page had information of some kind beneath them. But not “Details”. We were not impressed.
We were also less than impressed when we discovered that not only was there the risk of health concerns due to the very real possibility that the maltodextrin could have been wheat-based, but it could interfere with any benefits users look for in a probiotic dose.
As for testing, Simply Probiotic’s bacteria had only been tested in vitro (meaning outside of a living organism) as stated on the website. But according to a July 2014 review published in the journal PLoS, maltodextrin tests on laboratory mice concluded that it “promoted the growth of unhealthy bacteria, which damaged the intestine and increased the risk of inflammatory disease”.
Not only that, but maltodextrin’s high glycemic index can cause blood sugar level spikes, which are no good for those suffering from diabetes symptoms or insulin resistance.
So why Herbalife thought to mix (or should we say, seriously diluting?) Simply Probiotic with such a substance was such a great idea, we really can’t figure that one out. Unless, of course, it had something to do with money.
From what we’ve seen, it just claims to be a probiotic, whose cultures “promote digestive health” … “helping you feel your best every day”. And that’s about it.
Not really. If you want it to promote digestive health and help you feel your best every day, you’d probably need a few billion more bacteria in each serving to do the job properly.
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Simply Probiotic is “made in USA with US and imported ingredients” so is the maltodextrin European, and therefore most likely made with wheat, with all the health complications involved? We have no idea.
Inulin is a “diluent” according to the FDA’s GBI-30 6086 GRAS notice, but now what we have to calculate is just how diluted Simply Probiotic really is. Looking through the product specifications on the notice for the original probiotic, we see that it contains fifteen billion (1.5 x 1010) bacteria in each gram.
So it would seem that the good people of Herbalife have been diluting it pretty heavily.
Since maltodextrin has been shown to reduce the efficiency of those bacteria, it’s very possible that even though they’ve reached the gut where they’re supposed to balance things out, there’s not going to be enough of them to do their job.
For this particular probiotic, there is the potential for overstimulation of the immune system and metabolism rate, for a start.
And as for probiotics in general, there’s the possibility of digestion problems, breathing difficulties, itching, rashes, hives, and infection.
If users’ immune systems are working well, they could develop fungal and/or intestinal infections, and of course, there’s potential for interference with existing antibiotic medication courses.
We were unable to find any customer reviews for Herbalife Simply Probiotic.
All customers and distributors of Herbalife are now able to get refunds on unused products, a major improvement on the situation in years past. Within 30 days, customers have the right to return one opened pack and all other unopened packs to their Herbalife distributor for a full refund. In the past, some distributors have been accused of failing to honour this agreement, but know that they are under instruction to do so; if a customer faces any issue, they should report their distributor to Herbalife directly.
Well if you absolutely must buy it, there’s always the Herbalife website, or potentially your over-friendly local Herbalife Independent Distributor.
Let’s go back to that $1.20/ gram serving for a second. Another big company called Reflex Nutrition sells pretty well identical Bacillus coagulans under the trade name of LactoSpore, which we’re seen in a couple of other reviews (Reflex Micro Whey and Reflex One Stop All In One) – and LactoSpore can be purchased on Amazon in its raw state for anything from $0.36 per gram serving to $0.12 per gram serving. (But you have to buy it in 55-pound batches for those twelve-cent servings, which to a company as big as Herbalife, would be much less than peanuts – even if they did buy it at retail prices, which they won’t. We’d estimate they’d pay four cents a serving wholesale before any bulk purchase discount.)
So Simply Probiotic is definitely overpriced. And it’s very likely underpowered, too: we’ve reviewed another probiotic – Floragen3 – which contains 15 billion bacteria per serving. That’s a lot more than just the one billion in each serving of Simply Probiotic – even if, as Herbalife tell us, over 70% of them make it to where they’re supposed to go.
Back to LactoSpore, which retails at a fraction of the price of Simply Probiotic: it contains 6 billion bacteria per gram – compared to Herbalife’s single billion.
So all in all, even if Herbalife wasn’t Herbalife we’d still be a lot happier buying our probiotics elsewhere, basically because they’d be stronger and cheaper and we wouldn’t be pestered about joining a distributor downline for weeks, if not for months on end.
And for those reasons, we do not recommend Herbalife Simply Probiotic to our readers.
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Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.