‘I religiously took these probiotics every day for two months – and I feel mentally lighter’

heights review
The probiotic you need to know aboutAlice Barraclough - Hearst Owned

Walk into any supermarket or health food shop and you will likely find aisles full of supplements allegedly containing ‘beneficial bacteria’ that will fix all your health issues. Call me a sceptic, but any pill claiming to relieve constipation, aid weight loss, or cure depression gets marked with a big red flag and a large side swerve.

In my opinion, most of the health claims plastered across probiotic capsules, pills, juices and protein bars are mainly just hype – and actually have very little actual science backing them up. In fact, a lot of supplements have not been tested for safety or effectiveness.

So when I came across science-backed, third-party-tested supplement brand Heights, my interest was piqued. Could these supplements actually be the nutrient gap filler I’ve been looking for?

heights probiotic review
Heights

How we tested

I decided to commit to eight weeks of taking Biotic⁺ – a daily probiotic from Heights – and I paired it with two daily capsules of Vitals⁺ (basically an all-in-one multivitamin). I took the capsules first thing in the morning – usually on an empty stomach, before my first cup of coffee of the day, every day for two months.

First up, what actually are probiotics?

Probiotics are widely known for their positive impact on gut health – but what actually are they?

Probiotics are microorganisms (i.e. live bacteria and yeast) found in food and supplements,’ explains Jackie McCusker, nutritionist at London Hormone Clinic.

‘They have a beneficial effect on health by helping to maintain and/or strengthen the microflora in the gut. We are home to trillions of bugs (i.e. microbes including bacteria) that live in the human gut and have significant health benefits.’

Foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi are rich in probiotics


What is Heights Biotic⁺?

Developed by leading neuroscientists and dietitians, including Sophie Medlin and Dr Tara Swart, Biotic⁺ is a probiotic supplement, informed by over 380 clinical studies. The ingredients in this particular capsule are plant-based and gluten-free and contain no allergens, fillers, colourants or contaminants.

Containing seven highly researched strains of live bacteria, Biotic⁺ is rooted in science. Third-party testing shows that Biotic⁺ delivers up to 50 times more bacteria, alive and active, than alternative formats (liquid probiotics, greens powder sand probiotics with a standard capsule). On paper, it’s impressive. But does it work?

Ingredients list: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell®-11, Lactobacillus paracasei LAFTI® L26, Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell®-52, Bifidobacterium bifidum Rosell®-71, Bifidobacterium longum Rosell®-175, Saccharomyces boulardii (yeast), Zinc oxide, Coating agent (hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, potato starch), diluent (acacia fiber), antioxidant (ascorbic acid (vitamin C)).

The review: ‘I took these probiotics every day for two months’

When starting any new wellness regime, it’s pretty normal to want to see the results straight away. You go to the gym and start strength training... you want to see the muscle definition. You start incorporating speed training into your running schedule... you want to hit that 5K PB. So, obviously, when I started popping a Biotic⁺ capsule every morning, I wanted to see – and feel – the impact. But, like all good things, it takes time.

I’m pleased to report that I didn’t experience any discomfort when I started to take these two months ago – although I was warned it’s fairly common to feel some effects as your gut gets used to the new bacterial strains in your system.

The capsules are quite large, and do take a little while to get used to swallowing – I’ll admit on a few occasions they made me gag (not pleasant) – but practice definitely makes perfect, and although I found them difficult to swallow at the beginning, I've got better (closing my eyes weirdly helps!)

While I’ve yet to see any physical side effects from taking this daily probiotic – I’m not suddenly less bloated and my skin hasn’t miraculously become acne-free – I have felt mentally lighter while taking these. And considering I’m someone with a history of mental health difficulties – and in the midst of planning a wedding (which would make anyone stressed) – I’ve felt noticeably calmer and more positive.

I also haven’t got sick once. And while I’m not a particularly sickly person, there’s been all kinds of colds and bugs floating around the office, yet my immune system has remained intact. No seasonal sickness for me.

How is it different from other probiotics on the market?

The key difference between Biotic⁺ and other probiotics is what the capsule is coated in. A lot of gut supplements on the market can’t actually survive the acidity of your stomach (so they don’t reach the colon alive). Biotic⁺ has been formulated with a special ‘delayed-release capsule’ to ensure that the majority of the bacteria reaches your colon, ready to get to work.

Heights conducted an in vitro study with an independent lab partner, ProDigest, to test the efficacy of Biotic⁺ using SHIME® (Simulator of Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem). They tracked the survivability of the bacteria in the upper digestive tract, under fasted conditions, and found that 33.9bn CFUs (that’s colony-forming units FYI – the standard way of measuring the number of live strains in probiotic supplements) reached the colon alive.

heights review
Heights


What are the benefits of taking a probiotic like Biotic⁺?

Research has shown probiotics to be capable of beneficially altering the microbiome in the gut, which in turn might prevent or delay the onset of gastrointestinal tract disorders,’ says McCusker. ‘Other benefits include, helping with mood disorders, immune function, allergies, chronic inflammation, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and healthy weight management to name but a few.’

And the risks?

The short-term effects of taking probiotics can include; ‘increased gastrointestinal discomfort when first starting them including, tummy upset, bloating and gas but these side effects should dissipate when your body gets used to them,’ says McCusker.

‘More serious side effects can occur in people who are suffering from serious illnesses and are on medication that suppress their immune systems. This is because in such cases there is a risk of live bacteria triggering an infection.’

WH verdict

At £50 a bottle, there’s no denying that this is an expensive supplement to invest in. But it’s clear that with Biotic⁺, you’re paying for a probiotic that not only works, but one where you’ll notice a difference – either mentally or physically. There’s no weird aftertaste like you might get with a liquid probiotic – and you don’t need to store it in the fridge (often an obstacle for people forgetting to take). Win, win. The subscription offering also means it’s super simple and easy to add to your daily routine – I’m already looking forward to next month’s delivery.


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