Align is a brand that makes digestive health supplements, and their most popular product is a probiotic for digestive support. The brand claims to have millions of users, and to be the "#1 doctor and gastroenterologist recommended probiotic."
But does Align contain ingredients proven in medical research to support gut health? Does it contain any potentially unhealthy additives? Does it cause side effects? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Align's probiotic?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in Align's probiotic based on medical studies to give our take on whether it's likely to support gut health or if it's a waste of money.
We'll highlight some questionable additive ingredients, discuss potential side effects, document what retailer sells Align for the lowest price and feature real, unsponsored user reviews. We'll also explain why Align was successfully sued over their health claims.
Align Probiotic Ingredients
Bifidobacterium longum 35624TM is the sole active ingredient in Align, and this probiotic strain has been studied in several clinical trials.
A clinical trial published in the Sports journal found that this probiotic strain improved exercise recovery.
A 2022 clinical trial found that this probiotic strain improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The number of patients experiencing IBS symptoms while taking this probiotic decreased by 50%.
Given that probiotics generally improve gut health, and that Align provides an effective probiotic dose, we do believe that this supplement is likely to improve gut health in healthy adults, and may be especially useful for those with IBS.
But Align also has some questionable additive ingredients. The inactive ingredients in this formulation are shown below:
Titanium dioxide is colorant that was recently banned in the E.U. for use as a food additive over genotoxicity (DNA-damaging) concerns.
Propyl gallate is another preservative, and a medical review on its safety described this compound as “slightly toxic when ingested.”
Sucrose is also known as table sugar, and as we referenced in our review of another probiotic supplement called Bio X4, added sugar can contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease when consumed in excess.
Real, Unsponsored Align User Reviews
Amazon is a more honest resource for customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.
Align has been reviewed over 6,000 times on Amazon with an impressive average review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
The top positive review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Jay S" who claims to have experienced benefit:
"Been taking this stuff for a while for gut health and it seems to make me feel better in general. It is supposed to work best along with a prebiotic like Benefiber or yogurt."
The top negative review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Lauren" who claims to have experienced side effects:
"...for some reason Align made me extremely sick. I felt like no matter how much water I drank I was still thirsty, dizzy and extremely dehydrated to the point I was having liver issues. I felt like I was extremely sick over all. When I stopped taking them my body went back to normal within a day."
A YouTube creator named "Lola's Life Lessons" has one of the only unsponsored Align probiotic videos we could find. She took the supplement for 42 days and shares her experience:
Why Was Align Sued?
In 2011, Align was sued in a class-action lawsuit according to Top Class Actions. The plaintiff alleged that Procter & Gamble (the manufacturer of Align) was falsely advertising their products as being beneficial for digestive health without any proof.
In 2017, according to the above link, the manufacturer chose to settle the lawsuit for $30 million.
We don't consider this to be a red flag or really much of an issue given that it doesn't pertain to the ingredients or potential efficacy of the product; just the claims made by the manufacturer.
Does Align Cause Side Effects?
Align's probiotic supplement doesn't appear to have been studied in any clinical trials, so it's impossible to say for certain whether or not it causes side effects. However, we can make an educated guess based on its ingredients.
Side effects caused by the probiotic strain in Align were not reported in the clinical trial on healthy adults cited in the ingredient review section. In the trial on patients with IBS, 4.1% of participants reported side effects. These side effects were minor and not life-threatening, including gas and bloating.
Align's FAQ page states that their supplement is unlikely to cause side effects.
As we documented in our review of probiotic supplement Synogut, high doses of probiotics can cause minor digestive distress in those with a poor diet who are not used to ingesting natural probiotics.
Overall, we consider Align unlikely to cause side effects for anyone, but those with IBS may be at a slightly increased risk of minor side effects like gas and bloating.
Where to Buy Align for the Best Price
Align is sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a cost breakdown by price-per-capsule:
Walmart: $0.79 (link)
Amazon: $0.79 (link to official Amazon listing)
Align's probiotic is currently 13% cheaper on Walmart and Amazon than Target.
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.
Pros and Cons of Align
Here are the pros and cons of Align in our opinion:
- Effective probiotic strain
- Effective dose
- Should improve gut health
- Unlikely to cause side effects
- Three questionable additives
- Relatively expensive