Karma is a unique bottled water brand that contains probiotics. The brand also sells water with CBD and with electrolytes, and has a patented push cap that they claim optimizes freshness and potency of ingredients.
But does Karma Water contain nutrients shown in research studies to support optimal health? Does it contain any questionable additives? How do real users rate and describe the effects of Karma Water? And is the company's patented cap technology proven to be more effective for nutrient retention?
In this article we’ll address all of these questions and more, as we evaluate the ingredients in Karma Water based on medical studies to give our take on whether or not the brand is a healthier choice than regular water.
We'll share our thoughts on whether the patented cap technology elevates this brand over the healthy drink competition, feature unsponsored customer reviews and provide a cost comparison to show which retailer sells Karma Water for the best price.
The ingredients in the Strawberry Lemonade flavor of Karma Probiotic Water are shown above.
Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 is the probiotic strain included in this water, at a dose of 2 billion colony-forming units (CFU).
This is an impressive dose for a beverage, and is within the range of most probiotic supplements according to a Fact Sheet published by the National Institutes of Health.
This probiotic strain was shown to have anti-inflammatory and regenerative effects in a clinical trial published in the Journal of Inflammation Research.
The active ingredients in Karma Probiotic Water beyond the probiotic strain are a blend of vitamins and one mineral, including vitamin A and vitamin E.
There are three inactive ingredients in this formulation that may be questionable from a health perspective.
Natural flavors is a broad categorical descriptor that fails to identify the specific chemical compounds used. Without this information, it’s challenging to assess the safety of those flavoring additives.
Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer shown to cause inflammatory reactions in some individuals, as we documented in our article on is Fresca healthy.
Cane sugar is refined sugar, and while there is only 5 grams (g) of added sugar in this drink, and added sugar consumption may be associated with increased cancer incidence according to a medical review published in the Cancers journal.
Overall, we’re impressed by the probiotic strain choice and dose, but we don’t currently recommend Karma Water due to the inactive ingredients discussed above.
It's also notable that Karma Water is packaged in plastic, and plastic bottled water is clinically shown to be higher in microplastics than tap water.
Strange Clinical Info on Karma Water Website
At the time of publishing this article, there is a strange clinical citation on the Karma Water website, on the probiotic product pages.
A large button titled “Clinical Information” directs to a clinical trial on HIV, titled “Immunomodulation of Antiretroviral Drug-Suppressed Chronic HIV-1 Infection in an Oral Probiotic Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial.”
This study used the same probiotic strain as used by Karma Water, but we can’t imagine the company is suggesting their water is useful in the treatment of HIV, or that their primary customer base is HIV patients.
There are other trials on this probiotic strain that are more applicable to the general population, such as the one we cited in the previous section of this article, and we’re genuinely confused why this information is currently on the brand’s website.
We urge the brand to clarify why this study is included in a “Clinical Information” button.
It’s also notable that this study was on patients taking oral capsules containing the probiotic, not drinking Karma Water.
Does the Cap Increase Freshness?
Core to Karma Water's marketing claims is the suggestion that their patented cap technology increases freshness.
Under a header on the brand's website titled "The Karma Difference," the company states the following:
"The active ingredients found in premixed vitamin drinks diminish sharply over time. So while there may be the stated level of vitamins at the time of bottling, there may be substantially less by the time you drink it."
Karma has a push-down cap that allows the active ingredients to blend into the water at the time of drinking, rather than the time of manufacturing.
While this is a unique technology, the brand does not provide any proof at the time of publishing this article that this cap technology increases nutrient retention compared to regular bottled water.
We hope that in the future, the brand funds a clinical trial to test whether or not their cap is actually more effective than the competition.
Karma Water published a YouTube video detailing their cap technology:
We Tried Karma Water Ourselves
As the author of this article, I wanted to try Karma Water myself to share my thoughts on its taste and the overall product effects.
I purchased the "Berry Cherry" drink from my local Walmart and had it as the first thing to eat or drink on a workday.
I will say that the actual product experience is somewhat entertaining and unique. I've never had a drink where I had to manually infuse the active ingredients into the water, and the color changes as shown below:
However, the taste is absolutely terrible in my opinion. It tasted like slightly sweet Tylenol and I could barely get the whole bottle down. This is the worst-tasting water drink I've tried yet for an Illuminate Health review.
As far as product effects, it's not marketed as a product to have acute effects, so the fact that I felt no different is unremarkable. Probiotics can improve gut health over time, but I already eat a diet rich in probiotics.
Overall, I would rate this product 1/10 due to the taste, and will never purchase it again.
Does Karma Water Cause Side Effects?
Karma Water doesn't appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, which makes it challenging to determine whether or not the supplement is likely to cause side effects.
However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.
We already documented in the ingredient evaluation section that citric acid may cause serious side effects in some individuals, but this is a common additive and we don't consider it likely to cause side effects in the average consumer.
Probiotics can cause digestive discomfort such as gas and bloating in some individuals, as we discussed in our Garden of Life Probiotics review article.
However, the probiotic dose in Karma Probiotic Water is on the low end of the standard range, so we don't consider it likely to cause side effects in most people.
Overall, we consider Karma Water unlikely to cause side effects in the average consumer.
There is no mention of side effects on the brand's website at the time of publishing this article.
Real Users Review Karma Water
A YouTube creator named “Must or Bust” shared his thoughts on Karma Water as part of a series that evaluates whether or not popular products are worth the money:
A TikTok creator named “ceomsneishh” shared her thoughts after drinking Karma Water for a week straight:
@ceomsneishh One Week Karma Water Review #karmawater #karmawaterprobiotic #karmawaterchallenge #healthyguthealthylife #probiotics #karmawaterreview #samsclubfinds #blackgurltiktok #guthealthtiktok #probioticwater #honestreview ♬ original sound - They Call Me Neishh ✨
Our Clean Probiotic Picks
Express 3-in-1 Probiotic by Bulletproof is our top probiotic supplement pick. It contains both prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics to support optimal gut health, and costs under $35 at the time of updating this article.
Supergut Fiber Mix is our top prebiotic supplement pick. It's made of a blend of fiber powders including green banana powder resistant starch and resistant potato starch.
A medical review published in the Advances in Nutrition journal analyzed data from various clinical trials and concluded that resistant starch intake was associated with improved gut health, weight loss in overweight and obese individuals, and improved insulin resistance.
"...many studies demonstrated that VSL#3 has a beneficial effect on obesity and diabetes, allergic diseases, nervous systemic diseases, AS, bone diseases, and female reproductive systemic diseases."
All three of the supplements recommended in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be questionable or unhealthy.
Real Customers Review Karma Water
Amazon is a better resource for unbiased customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.
Karma Probiotic Water is the brand's most-reviewed product on Amazon, with an average review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars and over 9,000 total reviews at the time of publishing this article.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Linda Tauber" who gives the product a 5/5 star rating and likes its taste:
"I was looking for a probiotic drink that had good flavor and I finally found it. The watermelon flavor is very refreshing. I don't realize I am actually drinking something that is healthy. I tried this flavor and the fruit punch. They were both very good. I definitely recommend this product."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Gerardo" who claims to have experienced side effects:
"Beware , i have taken many probiotics in the past with no issues but this probiotic drink made me sick ! I felt terrible anxiety , stomach problems, headaches , and racing heart . Im sure there is some chemicals causing this reaction . I wouldnt buy"
Karma Water currently has an average review rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Facebook.
Karma Probiotic Water currently has an average review rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars on Google.
Where to Buy Karma Water for the Best Price
Karma Water is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a 12-pack of Probiotic Water at the time of publishing this article:
EveryMarket: $44.67 (link)
Walmart: $30.70 (third-party seller, link)
Amazon: $29.88 (free shipping, link to official Amazon listing)
Karma Water is currently 5-40% cheaper on Amazon than other third-party retailers.
It's notable that Probiotic Water is not currently sold online at the brand's website.
Pros and Cons of Karma Water
Here are the pros and cons of Karma Water in our opinion:
- Research-backed probiotic strain and dose
- Should support gut health
- May have anti-inflammatory effect
- Novel cap technology
- May increase nutrient retention
- Contains cane sugar
- Contains citric acid
- Contains flavoring additives
- Bottled in plastic
- We can't find any evidence that the cap increases nutrient levels compared to regular caps
- Strange clinical citation on brand website
- Expensive for water