Floraspring is a probiotic supplement made by a brand called Revival Labs. The brand describes this product as a "probiotic weight loss supplement," which is unique because we haven't come across much medical research suggesting that probiotics are effective for weight loss.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Floraspring based on published medical research to give our take on whether this supplement is likely to cause weight loss, or whether it's a waste of money.
Floraspring's ingredients are listed in a proprietary (prop) blend with a total dose of 25 billion colony-forming units (CFU), which appears to be an effective overall probiotic dose for general health maintenance. A medical review of probiotic dosage published in the American Family Physician Journal found that a minimum daily dose of 10 billion CFU was effective.
The probiotic species used in Floraspring appear to be safe and well-studied, but we can't identify much medical research associating these ingredients with weight loss. The first ingredient, lactobacillus acidophilus, is a strange choice for a weight loss formulation.
While this ingredient is associated with beneficial health outcomes overall, it’s also associated with "significant weight gain" based on a medical review of 17 clinical trials on lactobacillus acidophilus supplements. Researchers found that this species of probiotic increased weight on average when supplemented, potentially due to enhanced nutrient absorption in the gut.
Lactobacillus fermentum is the second-listed ingredient, and we can’t find any medical data suggesting this species is effective for weight loss. Given that it’s a lactobacillus probiotic, and based on the above-linked review, we will assume that it’s ineffective.
One specific strain of bifidobacterium breve, called bifidobacterium breve B-3, does appear to have anti-obesity effects based on a clinical trial published in the Bioscience of Microbiota, Food and Health journal. The researchers found that overweight subjects taking 50 billion CFU/day of this probiotic lost a statistically significant amount of weight compared with a control group.
However, we can’t take this data to suggest that this ingredient is effective in Floraspring, because Floraspring only lists the species and not the strain (we'll explain this in more detail later). We don’t know if the bifidobacterium breve included in this supplement is the B-3 strain or a different strain.
The amount of bifidobacterium breve in Floraspring may be underdosed for weight loss benefit, because Floraspring has 14 ingredients and a total dose of 25 billion CFU (which is an average dose of 1.79 billion CFU per ingredient), while the dose used for that one single strain in the medical study was 50 billion.
We cannot identify any medical research suggesting that any of the other species of probiotics in this supplement are effective for weight loss, so we will consider them all to be ineffective.
We would not recommend this supplement for weight loss, as we can't identify any effective ingredients proven to cause weight loss in medical research. This probiotic may be fine for general health maintenance, given that it has no harmful or toxic additive ingredients.
Questionable Health Claims
We take issue with many of the health claims made on Floraspring's website.
The product page has a header stating that "Research shows Floraspring helps with" a number of health-related outcomes such as weight loss, sugar cravings, gas & bloating and more. There is no citations to any medical research in this section. It's just a series of health claims without proof.
Floraspring has a page on their site titled "Does Floraspring Lead to Weight Loss?" where the brand claims their product causes weight loss.
The brand suggests that lactobacillus acidophilus, the probiotic we showed in the previous section to be associated with weight gain, is associated with weight loss. They cite a medical study which clearly states "the beneficial effects [of lactobacillus acidophilus] are strain dependent." Floraspring does not publish the strain used, so it's questionable in our opinion to cite this study as proof of efficacy.
We strongly urge consumers to avoid supplements from brands making bold health claims without significant medical evidence backing these claims.
Poor Probiotic Labeling
Floraspring refers to the ingredients in their formulation as “strains,” which is scientifically incorrect and suggests a lack of understanding of probiotics.
Probiotics have a genus, species, subspecies, and strain in descending order as outlined in this great probiotic overview resource published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
What is described on Floraspring’s label are probiotic species, not strains. Lactobacillus acidophilus, for example, is a species. Lactobacillus acidophilus CIRM-BIA 442 would be an example of a probiotic strain. It’s a more specific designation, and different strains within the same species can have different health effects.
The fact that a probiotic company has mislabeled basic probiotic taxonomy suggests to us that their formulators are incompetent, and we would recommend avoiding this company based on this fact alone.
We generally consider it to be a sign of a low-quality probiotic brand when only the species is listed. We recommend purchasing probiotics where the strain is listed for each ingredient, as this is important information.
One of the few probiotic brands that publishes the strain of every probiotic ingredient is Seed, and we published a Seed probiotic review for readers who are interested.
Our Clean Weight Loss Picks
There are food-based nutrients which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for weight loss.
Dietary fiber was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline).
Supergut Fiber Mix is our recommended fiber supplement, because it contains three different types of fiber powder and no questionable additive ingredients. Interested consumers can check out Supergut Fiber Mix at this link to the product page on the brand's official website, where it retails for under $2 per serving at a subscription rate.
MCT oil is quickly absorbed by the body and increases metabolic rate, which causes fat loss. A 2015 meta-study on MCT oil documented more than one pound of weight loss over 10 weeks. This equates to potential annualized weight loss of 6 pounds per year with less than one tablespoon's worth of MCT oil per day.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil product, because the only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts. There are no questionable additives. Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof MCT Oil at this link to the product page on the brand's official website, where it currently costs only $15.50 for over a month's worth of product.
Coffee is one of the few whole food ingredients associated with weight loss in clinical trials. A meta-analysis published in the Nutrients journal found that coffee intake was associated with reduced body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.
VitaCup Organic Instant Coffee Sticks is our top coffee product for weight loss, due to its convenience. No preparation or machinery is needed. The sticks can be mixed into hot or cold water (or other beverages) and consumed. The only ingredient is organic instant coffee; no questionable additives.
Interested consumers can check out VitaCup Organic Instant Coffee Sticks at this link to the product page on the brand's official website, where they retail for $1 per serving at a subscription rate.