Probiotic supplements have proliferated in recent years as more people understand gut bacteria's incredible power over our health. The growing popularity of these supplements is understandable, as the ability of our gut microbiome to affect our health may reach well beyond physical wellness; studies link gut bacteria balance to everything from cognitive function to emotional well-being.¹ Here, we'll thoroughly explore Multi GI 5 — one of several wellness products offered by Unify Health, and the one with the most potential impact on your gut microbiome. It contains a probiotic blend combined with amino acids, botanical extracts, and minerals that support gut health. It also includes a prebiotic blend to help feed the good bacteria, keeping them happy once they’ve landed in your gut. Find out how Multi GI 5 compares with other probiotics and whether it's worth your consideration.
Multi GI 5 relies on five probiotic species that have been the subject of numerous studies. And there are a few good reasons to consider Multi GI 5 over its competition, particularly if your main concerns revolve around inflammation in the GI tract. The specific probiotics species involved are known to reduce inflammation and temper the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, its lack of strain-specific ingredient transparency makes it hard to know its exact potential. Multi GI 5 avoids some popular but less effective species that could lower its price, making it both more enticing and a bit more expensive than some competitors. You can save some money by setting up a free account or buying in bulk, but the latter option still involves a significant investment.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. And with each passing day, it seems we know more about how probiotics and the microbiome play a critical role in overall wellness.
Our team has tested numerous probiotic supplements over the years, from off-the-shelf options like Multi GI 5 to fully customized blends from companies like Viome. We’ve dedicated hundreds of hours to researching the microbiome and probiotics, reading hundreds of clinical studies and visiting laboratories where microbiome testing takes place.
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
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Whenever we evaluate a probiotic supplement, we review all pertinent research published in recent years and consider several crucial criteria to recommend for or against its use. In the case of Multi GI 5, we looked at its effectiveness, cost, safety, and convenience above all else.
Among these criteria, effectiveness carries the most weight, followed closely by safety and cost. As we’ll discuss, comparing Multi GI 5’s effectiveness to its competition is problematic due to the mystery surrounding the exact probiotic strains it uses. Given the company’s reputation and considering the information we’ve gleaned from users, we’re able to say that it’s moderately effective in its field, though some other options offer more specific detail and higher doses of probiotics.
Multi GI 5 does present a different ingestion method than the capsules in which most companies deliver their probiotics. That can either be an added convenience or a burden, depending on your preference, so the convenience criterion — while crucial in its own right — didn’t quite carry the same weight as other parameters.
Let’s take a look at these four criteria more closely.
Determining Multi GI5's efficacy is something of a challenge since the company provides only the genus and species of the probiotics they deliver. We'll get deeper into just how specific you can get with your probiotic strains a little later, but without strain-specific detail, the exact characteristics of a given probiotic are indeterminable.
We reached out to Multi GI 5’s product development team, who told us they’d get back to us within a month. Five weeks later, having heard nothing, we reached out again. This time, they told us the information was proprietary and they could not share it. This claim, in our estimation, is without merit. We’ve evaluated dozens of probiotics in our research, and well over half of them provide strain-specific detail.
That said, genus and species give us enough information to understand the company's intentions in choosing certain probiotics, and we can get a good sense of what they're likely to do for most people.
For Multi GI 5, we know that they use:
These five are among the most popular and effective probiotic species available, each bringing a different benefit to the table.
Unfortunately, Multi GI 5 does not list its probiotic quantities in colony-forming units (CFU), which is a standard for understanding the potency of a given probiotic. Instead, they provide the weight of their probiotic combination in milligrams. Probiotics are living organisms, but they weigh the same dead as they do alive. Without explicitly listing CFU or, preferably, active colony-forming units (ACFU), it's hard to know how well a probiotic may work.
All that said, the combination of probiotics, prebiotics, amino acids, and minerals in Multi GI 5 presents what could be a highly effective formula. There’s no reason to believe they’re filling their supplements with inactive probiotics, but the weight just doesn’t tell the whole story.
At first glance, Multi GI 5 doesn't appear to be a great deal. It contains only five probiotic species and costs more than some competitors with two or three times as many in their blends. Once you get over the sticker shock, you might notice an offer to save by creating a free account. We highly recommend you do this if you're interested in Multi GI 5 or any Unify Health Labs product. Our team found savings ranging from 20-40% on certain products, including Multi GI 5, and we were not inundated by constant promotional emails or any other form of aggressive marketing.
Here's a quick look at what you stand to save by opening a free account before purchasing Multi GI 5:
|Single-bottle purchase||Three-bottle purchase||Six-bottle purchase|
|Price per bottle||$69.95||$62.95||$58.95|
|Price with free account||$49.95||$134.85||$254.70|
|Price per bottle with free account||$49.95||$44.95||$42.45|
|Total savings with free account||$20||$54||$99|
You can still find many probiotics that cost less than Multi GI 5, even at its highest bulk level. But those may not contain the same quantity or quality of secondary ingredients that you find in Multi GI 5. In particular, if you've tried probiotic supplements in the past and have had digestive issues in response that caused you to stop, you may have a better experience with Multi GI 5, as many of those secondary ingredients support digestion and absorption.
While the most specific effects of a probiotic rely heavily on exact strains, understanding genus and species is typically enough to ensure a product's safety profile. For Multi GI 5, those species have undergone a tremendous amount of research into various potential benefits, always with an eye toward safety.
Unify Health also makes their supplements in the U.S. in FDA-regulated GMP-certified facilities. The company website mentions quality testing, but it doesn't get into specifics. Typically, when a company performs third-party testing, it comes at a significant expense and provides a marketable bragging point. Companies like Ritual and HUM Nutrition make it very clear the extent to which they subject their products to external testing. The fact that Unify Health doesn't say whether their testing is third-party or in-house leads us to believe that the company has not opted for the more trustworthy third-party testing.
Another knock against Multi GI 5's safety profile is their use of inulin from chicory root as a prebiotic. Competing studies disagree about whether small amounts of FODMAPs could actually benefit people with IBS and similar digestive disorders.⁷ But the risk isn't worth it for those with particularly sensitive stomachs, especially considering that FODMAP-friendly prebiotic fibers are common.
Convenience in a probiotic depends on things like customer service, subscription options, and dosing simplicity. Since many probiotics come in large pills that can be hard to swallow, Multi GI 5 gains points in convenience for being a tasty drink mix. Of course, this means it’s a less portable option than capsules would be, and you’ll need more water to take it than you would a few small pills. The company recommends mixing it with water or tea before drinking.
Unify Health's 90-day money-back guarantee also adds a lot to their convenience rating. That guarantee allows you to try the product for a few months to see how it works for you, and you'll only be responsible for return shipping if you choose to return it for a full refund.
Where Unify Health doesn't quite live up to our convenience standards is in their lack of subscription options that would add a degree of simplicity and another opportunity for savings.
Some of our favorite probiotic providers offer the choice between one-off purchases and subscriptions, which we generally prefer.
Multi GI 5 is a health and digestive supplement from Unify Health Labs. Unify offers nine products for the time being, each of which is designed to support healthy digestion and nutrient absorption, bolster immunity, or improve your general wellness. Their reputation is still being forged, as the company only started in 2019, but they quickly attained a celebrity partnership with American Idol’s Randy Jackson in an attempt to bolster their credibility.
Multi GI 5 is one of Unify Health’s marquee products, and it combines minerals and amino acids with a probiotic blend and prebiotic fiber. It aims to populate the gut with good bacteria to improve digestion and nutrient absorption, repair perforations in the intestines, and regulate bowel function. Its specific probiotic species and genera boast successful trials in maintaining GI health, but Unify Health doesn’t share either the specific strains or quantities of their probiotics, making the efficacy of Multi GI 5 difficult to assess outside anecdotal reporting.
Unlike many probiotics in capsule form, Multi GI 5 is a powder mix you use to create a drink. That makes it easier to take for anyone who has difficulty swallowing pills. It comes in strawberry lemonade flavor, which is the only flavor option at this time. Most users seem to appreciate the taste, but it the mix is sweetened with several natural and artificial ingredients, including:
These ingredients might be a turn-off for some, particularly the stevia, which can have an artificial taste.
Anyone can stand to benefit from a probiotic regimen, and Multi GI 5 offers as good a blend as any. You should consider adding probiotics to your routine if you suffer from any of the following symptoms:
While that may seem like a lot of potential symptoms connected with gut health, it's only a small part of the picture. Of course, there can be any number of causes for physical or emotional distress, so we encourage you to talk to your doctor before introducing probiotics as a potential treatment.
Our understanding of the microbiome is nascent at best. New research continues to reveal new details and underscore the importance of this integral part of our bodies. Here are eight fast facts about the microbiome to catch up with some of the basics.
Multi GI 5 works by introducing a gut-healthy blend of ingredients to your system, including both probiotics and prebiotic fiber to feed those good bacteria. Their ingredients fall into three categories that we'll break down for you here.
Each probiotic in Multi GI 5 has a role to play. While one works to aid in weight management, another reduces inflammation. One specific strain can alleviate symptoms like diarrhea or constipation, while another regulates immune function. Taken together, this probiotic blend addresses nearly everything that gut health experts say can improve with the right microbial balance.
This species performs consistently well in mice studies looking at weight management.¹⁵ It regularly reduces body weight and seems to prevent the creation of new fatty tissue. Gasseri may offer significant benefits to premenstrual women. In one study, women reported better mood and less water retention in the days preceding their period.¹⁶
This probiotic species has been tested in constipation-predominant¹⁷ and diarrhea-predominant¹⁸ IBS trials, and it provided decreased symptoms and increased quality of life in both instances. It was well-tolerated in both studies.
In a study designed to examine the effect of Lactobacillus casei on obesity in children, participants saw a significant decrease in body weight (still within healthy loss ranges).¹⁹ Adult trials are not common, but one study looking at this species as an intervention for diarrhea saw positive results.
A meta-analysis of lactobacillus plantarum studies reveals that this probiotic can inhibit the immune system's reactivity to allergens, reducing incidences of contact dermatitis and adverse reactions to dust.²⁰ It can simultaneously enhance the function of anti-inflammatory immune factors and help maintain immune homeostasis.
It appears that Unify Health developed the Gut Health Blend in Multi GI 5 to support the function of the Probiotic Blend. Its ingredients reduce inflammation and digestive discomfort while creating an environment where probiotics can thrive.
Several studies show that glutamine can alleviate IBS symptoms at relatively low doses.²¹ It's potent in conjunction with a low-FODMAP diet, with reductions in IBS severity in as much as 88% of trial participants.
Most research into zinc's role in the gut is limited to animal models using rats or pigs. Some human trials correlate an increase in beneficial bacteria and a decrease in diarrhea-causing microbes with zinc supplementation.²²
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) comes in several forms, and it's often connected with gut health among keto dieters. Magnesium BHB may reduce inflammation, which can increase digestive comfort.
Gut health is inextricably tied to your immune system, and licorice root appears to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties.²³ That's thanks largely to its more than 20 triterpenoids and nearly 300 flavonoids. It also supports healthy digestion by improving the gut’s mucus lining.
Supplement companies often include black pepper extract in their products because it can increase the bioavailability of the supplement's other ingredients. That means your body should absorb more of what a supplement offers when black pepper is present.
Prebiotics exist to feed probiotics. They're fibrous and indigestible by the acid in a human stomach. That allows them to travel to the small intestines, where bacteria can use them as a food source.
What the Multi GI 5 label refers to as a prebiotic blend is a single ingredient: oligosaccharides. These come in the form of inulin the company derives from chicory root. This is where consumers with FODMAP sensitivities need to be careful, as oligosaccharides can contribute to digestive issues.
When probiotics come up among people who know there are different kinds out there, the term "strain" gets used a lot to describe one type to another. The problem here is that a probiotic strain is an extremely specific variant of broader probiotic categories.
Take a really popular probiotic like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, for example. That, in and of itself, isn't a strain. It's a genus (Lactobacillus) and a species (rhamnosus). There are multiple types of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, each with its own alphanumeric designation that signifies a strain.
Here's what the breakdown looks like for four strains related to two specific probiotic species:
While probiotics of the same genus and species often share some of the same effects, isolated strains have been studied for specific effects. Those results allow us to recommend one strain over another in certain conditions. For example, L. rhamnosus LGG has a lot of data supporting its use as a treatment for acute diarrhea, especially in pediatric cases.²⁵ Comparatively, HN001 boasts data connecting it with positive outcomes among mothers suffering postnatal depression and anxiety.²⁶
Multi GI 5 contains L. rhamnosus, but the company lists neither the strain nor the quantity of the probiotic. That makes it extremely difficult to know whether it's right for you. Many probiotics producers provide strain-specific information, and we often encourage people to consider those products first, as we can more clearly understand the potential benefits and risks of each.
Our team reached out to Unify Health Labs for more information about specific strains in their products. The first customer service reps we spoke to couldn't help us; the information they had at their fingertips was the same that you could find on the Unify Health website. A level deeper was the product management team, but all they could do was refer us to the product development team, who has yet to return our request for information.
For the most part, Multi GI 5 is perfectly safe. Its probiotics rarely exhibit adverse effects in clinical trials. Its gut health ingredients are similarly safe. As your body gets used to probiotics, you may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort, but this often fades within the first few weeks.
If you’re concerned about this adaptation process, you can titrate your dose by starting with half a scoop instead of the full scoop with each serving, then gradually add more as you get comfortable with the product.
The real safety concern with Multi GI 5 comes from its inclusion of a prebiotic in the form of inulin. By their very nature, most prebiotics pose mild physical dangers to anyone with FODMAP sensitivities.
FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.” It represents a class of foods that create significant digestive discomfort in certain individuals.²⁷ These ingredients absorb poorly for most people, but that malabsorption creates bloating, gas, distention, and diarrhea for some.
Not all gut health supplements include prebiotics. Some stick to probiotics alone or probiotics combined with gut health ingredients like the others found in Multi GI 5. If you know you have a FODMAP sensitivity, you may want to look elsewhere for probiotic support.
Some FODMAP elimination diets operate in phases that completely eliminate FODMAPs, then slowly reintegrate them before settling in a maintenance space. Once in the maintenance phase, a FODMAP-sensitive individual can consume FODMAPs in moderation and would be a better candidate for a supplement like Multi GI 5.
If you aren't aware of your food sensitivities, we suggest you take a test that evaluates your sensitivities or your current microbiome level. As an Innerbody reader, you can access exclusive discounts for at-home tests and find out which are right for you using our food sensitivity and microbiome testing guides.
Multi GI 5 is available in 1-, 3-, and 6-month supplies. Larger quantities offer greater savings. Here's how the price structure breaks down:
|Price||Cost per day||Total savings|
Compared to many other gut health supplements out there, this is a little expensive, even at the six-month tier. However, companies in this price range often combine their probiotics with prebiotics and other useful ingredients, much like you see in Multi GI 5, which makes its price a bit more palatable. That makes it a fair value for its potential benefits, but you still may be able to find equally effective supplements for less.
Unify Health accepts major credit cards and PayPal. Shipping from Unify Health costs $4.95 unless you spend more than $50. Orders above $50 receive free shipping, which applies to any amount of Multi GI 5 purchased without an account. If you choose to sign up for a free account, you’ll save up to 28%.
That account-based discount can bring the price of a single bottle below $50, which would make you pay for shipping. However, in our experience ordering Multi GI 5 and interacting with customer service representatives, there often seems to be a promotion going on that allows for free shipping despite this reduced cost.
The probiotics industry is enormous, and it's poised for continued growth in the years to come.²⁸ For consumers, that means many options are available in addition to Multi GI 5. But not every probiotic is created with the same goals in mind. There are two major kinds of probiotics — single-strain and multi-strain — with important distinctions. Single-strain probiotics aren't typically a smart investment unless your doctor specifically recommends them. That's because there are so many strains of bacteria in your gut at any given time; flooding that system with billions of one specific strain could create an unhelpful imbalance.
Multi-strain probiotics also offer more potential benefits since different strains have specific effects on the body. The best way to know what strains your body might need is to get your microbiome tested and review those results with your doctor or a gastroenterologist. But for now, let's go over some of the market's best probiotics that give Multi GI 5 a run for its money.
Viome is our top purveyor of at-home microbiome tests. They provide comprehensive and incredibly accurate results along with actionable insights you can use to augment your diet and better your health. But the company also offers its clientele fully customized probiotics, prebiotics, and nutritional supplements.
Custom probiotics, prebiotics, and supplements from Viome contain mixtures formulated from over 200 ingredients, including dozens of specific probiotic strains. There might be a little sticker shock if you only look at the cost of a microbiome test, but the pricing for custom-tailored probiotics is in line with many off-the-shelf options, including Multi GI 5. Those custom probiotics also come with a free at-home test that Viome uses to formulate your plan. Additionally, the subscription includes free yearly retesting, which allows Viome to make any changes to your probiotics.
|Monthly cost||Automatic shipment||Free retesting|
|Viome Precision Probiotics and Prebiotics Plan||$60||Yearly|
|Viome Complete Plan (Probiotics, prebiotics, and supplements)||$60||Yearly|
|Multi GI 5||$49.95||N/A|
Other companies offer at-home microbiome test kits, and some also have custom probiotic programs. But none compare to the depth of data and product quality Viome delivers. In our opinion, that makes Viome the best choice for anyone seriously looking to address health issues related to their digestion and microbiome. If you’re merely curious to see if probiotics might help reduce a minor amount of bloating, Viome might be overkill, at least to start.
If you aren't interested in supplementation to address potential imbalances in your gut microbiome, there are food sources that can provide you with a slew of good bacteria. You won't have as much control over the exact probiotics you consume or the quantity, but you stand to encounter a greater diversity of strains than you would by taking a supplement alone.
Of course, foods containing probiotics are perfectly safe to consume if you're already taking such a supplement, so you can enjoy both simultaneously. But the quantity you'll get from a supplement is so great that the strains within would likely outcompete food-borne probiotics for nutrients, essentially nullifying their potential benefits.
Here's a quick look at some of the best foods to eat for probiotic support:
Most yogurt products are fermented with lactic acid and bifidobacteria. Due to their variety and flavor, they're one of the most popular probiotic sources, even among people who don't know it's good for them. Unsweetened, non-fat Greek yogurt and Bulgarian yogurts are among your best options.
Kefir bears many similarities to yogurt in flavor, texture, and health benefits. In most cases, kefir provides a greater variety and quantity of good bacteria than yogurt.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink with origins in ancient China. It's become popular in the West over the last couple of decades, and you can purchase it readily from most supermarkets.
While a roadside hot dog vendor might be the last place you think to look for healthy foods, the fact remains that sauerkraut — a fermented cabbage — offers both probiotics and antioxidants.
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that offers similar nutritional benefits and culinary uses as tofu, but its flavor is more robust. In addition to probiotics, tempeh offers a generous amount of vitamin B12.
Miso is another fermented soy product, but it comes in a paste form and is often mixed with hot water to make soup. It's also extremely useful as a source of savory and umami flavors in culinary practice. It contains protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
Kimchi is essentially the spicy Asian equivalent of sauerkraut, but it relies on larger pieces of cabbage than the shredded leaves used in the European dish. It's much more thoroughly seasoned, with ginger, garlic, and fish paste in many recipes.
Traditional buttermilk — the leftover liquid from butter-making — is rich in probiotics, phosphorus, and calcium. Just make sure you're getting traditional buttermilk and not cultured buttermilk, which has no probiotic benefits.
Natto is the least well-known fermented soy product in the West. It simply consists of fermented soybeans that are rather slimy in texture. It's very good for you, but it's an acquired taste.
Like sauerkraut, pickles aren't typically thought of as a healthy snack. And while they are rather high in sodium, they also offer lots of good bacteria and some vitamin K.
As a treatment, the food-based approach is ideal for people who have only the mildest digestive discomfort. Still, given the health benefits they offer, it’s wise for nearly everyone to incorporate more fermented foods into their diet.
While most probiotic supplements advertise the ability to regulate digestive issues like IBS, traveler's diarrhea, and intestinal perforation, many also provide benefits to systems outside the GI tract. There is certainly a crossover for many strains that can improve health in the gut and elsewhere, but some companies have chosen to combine specific strains toward treating other aspects of wellness like respiratory or mental health.
ResBiotic combines patented strains of L. plantarum, L. acidophilus, and L. rhamnosus, the species of which have been shown to affect the gut-lung axis.²⁹
In addition to these probiotics, ResBiotic contains a botanical blend including:
Probiotics like those found in ReBiotic should have ancillary benefits for digestion in addition to their respiratory effects. So those interested in using their microbiomes as a path to lung health can choose a product like ResBiotic and not worry they won’t see any potential gut health benefits, as well. Unfortunately, like Multi GI 5, ResBiotic does not provide a number for colony-forming units, and they use proprietary probiotic strains, so research into their specific abilities is lacking.
here is increasing evidence the health of our guts plays a significant role in our mental health. This occurs on what's called the gut-brain axis, and studies have linked several probiotic strains to positive outcomes in cases of depression, anxiety, and Parkinson's disease.³³
Neuralli employs a single probiotic strain — L. plantarum PS128 — that is also sometimes called a psychobiotic thanks to its presumed role in the gut-brain axis. Despite being a patented probiotic strain, a fair amount of research is looking into its abilities, mostly in mice.
Some studies show improvements in symptoms of mice with Parkinson's disease, and others show its ability to increase the production of both serotonin and dopamine.³⁴ Those two neurotransmitters are the targets of SSRI and DNRI antidepressants, which help increase their levels in the body by inhibiting their reuptake.
The big problem with Neuralli is that it's significantly expensive, especially for a single-strain probiotic (around $165/month). Other strains of L. plantarum have been shown to work similarly on the gut-brain axis, as well, so this particular investment may be unnecessary. You might want to try it if you’re concerned about your mental health but wary of prescription treatments.
Neuralli's case helps reinforce the need for companies to provide strain-specific probiotic data in their ingredient lists so that consumers can make informed choices about which probiotics may work for them.
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