Brand Spotlights

Brand Spotlight: Omni-Biotic probiotics


Omni-Biotic, Europe’s leading probiotic brand and one of the most trusted, reliable probiotic brands worldwide, is developed by an Austrian company that takes science very seriously. Each probiotic strain they work with is deeply researched; they then combine the most promising ones in formulas that address specific concerns, completing human clinical trials on these formulas with results that are awe-inspiring. To add to that, Omni-Biotic's delivery mechanism ensures that the probiotic bacteria make it into the intestines alive and metabolically active.

Learn more about Omni-Biotic, their best-selling Stress Release formula, and probiotics in general — plus what to look for as you shop — with Omni-Biotic USA’s COO, Hannah Kleinfeld.


Dara: Tell us about the story behind your discovery and love of Omni-Biotic — it's a good one.


I started my career in management consulting in New York, where I focused on healthcare, working with large insurance or pharmaceutical companies, and I thought that’s where my career path would go. But in 2015 I got a really bad case of Lyme disease, which affected my whole body.

Very quickly, I turned from a classic “high performer” in my seemingly-invincible early 20s — traveling every week, energetic, happy, working out all the time — to being bedridden. I could maybe walk one city block. I had to go on medical leave, and I spent the next year and a half just learning about Lyme and becoming my own health advocate and health detective. Through that, I experienced the whole world of functional medicine and alternative ways of healing.

A major part of my personal experience with Lyme disease was that my gut was attacked, and the antibiotics used to treat the Lyme disease unfortunately made my gut health even worse. So I quickly dove into researching the gut microbiome, learning how almost every system in the body — the immune system, the nervous system, the detoxification system — is connected to the gut.

During that time, my doctor in Germany first introduced me to Omni-Biotic, which at the time was taking the German market by storm (I grew up between the US and Germany, and our family visits Germany frequently). She was raving about it: multi-species formulations, targeted to enable us to choose the best ones to support our particular needs, with great clinical studies — she’d never seen such good clinicals on dietary supplements.

So I started experimenting with it on myself. Every time I took Omni-Biotic, I saw immense improvements in gut health, mental clarity, and energy; I just felt like I was taking steps in the right direction. When I ran out of it back at home in the US, I tried various US-based brands and never experienced that same lasting impact. I’d see a few days of slight improvement, then it stalled. So I kept asking my family in Germany to send boxes to me.

Then I asked: why is Omni-Biotic not in the US? Clearly the market here is in need of targeted, clinically tested, very effective products.

When I was finally feeling better and went to Harvard for my MBA, I spent my free time trying to understand the market more broadly; this led to the conclusion that the US market needs Omni-Biotic. In parallel, I got to meet the founder of Omni-Biotic in Europe. Anita is a very inspiring woman who started the company when she lost the love of her life — quite young — to colon cancer. This sparked her passion for learning how to support a healthy gut, since an unhealthy one can harbor a lot of illness.

My dad is a multiple Fortune 500 CEO who was always passionate about health and wellness as a way to support his lifestyle. The two of us founded the US brand of Omni-Biotic, and we launched the product here at the end of 2019. We sell primarily to healthcare practitioners.


Dara: What makes Omni-Biotic so different from other probiotics available here in the US?


Omni-Biotic are targeted probiotics that are highly effective and clinically tested.

The “targeted” aspect is about using different formulations for different health outcomes, because different probiotic strains do different things in the body. The idea that you can combine 10-20 random strains and hope they do what you read in a research paper — that’s not always the case. In reality, probiotic strains can behave differently when tested in isolation, compared to when tested in a group of other probiotic bacterial strains. Furthermore, they can behave differently when tested in the lab versus when tested in human clinical trials.

Omni-Biotic starts out by really understanding what each strain does and what its mechanistic strengths are. For example, with Stress Release, the company’s goal was to formulate a product for the gut-brain axis, one that would support gut flora and neurotransmitter production. So they chose strains with those specific endpoints, and tested the final formulation in clinical studies. It’s very, very rare for dietary supplements to have these types of studies; they’re expensive, and it takes a lot of time to do them.

And from an efficacy standpoint, we’ve tested Omni-Biotic’s delivery system against 10 of the leading US brands. In Omni-Biotic’s formulas, 83% of the healthy bacteria arrive in the gut alive and ready to work, compared to an average of 7% across the 10 US brands.


Dara: Tell us more about the delivery system, because it is quite different!


It’s a powder that you dissolve in water prior to intake, so the freeze-dried bacteria come back to life in a neutral solution rather than in the gastric acid of your stomach, which is what happens in the case of a capsule. (With capsules, the probiotics end up soaking up all the stomach acid or the acidic digestive juices in the duodenum, which kills them.)

Omni-Biotic also has prebiotic nutrients mixed into the powder. When you rehydrate the powder in a non-acidic liquid like water, apple juice, or milk, the probiotics are rehydrated and immediately find their favorite food sources, which keeps them nourished through their journey.


Dara: Omni-Biotic uses human-derived probiotic strains. How do those compare to spore-based strains, which tend to be hardy enough for capsule delivery?


Spore-based probiotics are usually transient in your intestine. They’ll set up there for a moment, but unlike human-derived probiotics, they can’t colonize — so they just leave your body. The strains in Omni-Biotic can actually thrive and colonize there. When you’re taking probiotics, you ideally want them to set up shop there and stay. Think of it like building your own little production factory for important metabolites, hormones, and neurotransmitters in your gut.


Dara: There’s a lot of information out there about probiotics these days, whether spore-based (like Seed) or human-derived; how do you suggest choosing the right one?


There is so much confusion about gut health and probiotics, which is understandable: you might see 10 different brands on a shelf, and it’s natural to wonder what the difference is between the $20 bottle of gummy bears and the $68 box of Omni-Biotic packets.

I think it’s first important to understand that there’s a huge difference between the $15-20 drugstore probiotic with one strain — which might not even be alive anymore by the time it reaches your intestines — and any high-quality product, whether it’s spore-based or human-derived.

The difference between Omni-Biotic and other high quality brands is that with Omni-Biotic, because it’s more targeted, you’re digging deeper into those outcomes you’re hoping for, and there are clinical studies to substantiate it. So if you’re excited about specifically supporting the gut-brain axis in addition to gut flora, try Stress Release and see how you feel.


Dara: Speaking of the gut-brain axis, let’s cover Stress Release, which I understand is Omni-Biotic’s best seller. I’ve really noticed a difference with it!


Me too — I’ve taken every single one of the Omni-Biotic products we have here in the US at some point in my life, and my personal favorite is Stress Release. I do feel the impact not just on my gut but also on my mood, on my sleep, and on my focus. We have some high-profile fans of this formula, like Dave Asprey, Keri Glassman, and Danielle Bernstein, and it won “Probiotic of the Year” from Nutra Ingredients. Everyone feels it’s good for your gut, but it also has an overall grounding, calming effect because it has such a positive impact on the brain.

Its clinical studies are really interesting. We’ve done multiple studies on Stress Release, with some focused on the gut-brain axis, another interesting one on IBS, and smaller pilot studies on Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder.


Dara: Can you share some of the highlights from the clinical studies?


In looking at the gut-brain axis, Omni-Biotic did two separate studies with the same researcher. In the first part, we looked at attention span and response accuracy through memory tests. We found, after 4 weeks, a 2.5x improvement in response accuracy as well as an improvement in memory. We also looked at mood and found that improvement in positive mood doubled using the PANAS score, along with a 2x reduction in hopelessness and a 2.5x reduction in risk aversion, which is a measure used for people who are ruminating a lot, thinking back and forth instead of being emotionally certain about something.

The follow-up study looked at brain scans. fMRI studies showed a statistically significant improvement in the salience network (which measures more efficient and targeted attention) and reduced activity in the default mode network, which showed that mental activity increased when taking Omni-Biotic Stress Release.

And the study on IBS is interesting, too: we looked at gut barrier function and specifically looked for reduced inflammation in the gut while subjects took Omni-Biotic Stress Release. The clinicals showed a 48% reduction in zonulin, a key signal of leaky gut, and an 80% reduction in IBS symptom severity.

We also really love just hearing from customers. The other day, I heard from one who has IBS and said she can finally go for a dinner out at a restaurant without worrying about having a flareup the next day. That’s what fuels us as a team — helping people improve their quality of life and their longevity.


Dara: Can you take probiotics like Stress Release every day, forever, or is it something that should be taken as a 1-month “cure” from time to time?


If you were taking a single strain in very high quantities, that’s probably not something to do for the rest of your life. Your gut contains 400-600 different strains; if you were to take the same one in very high doses every day, that might create an imbalance.

But with a multi-strain probiotic like Stress Release, many will benefit from incorporating this into their daily wellness routine. Think of it this way: if you live on a farm where you grow your own veggies and you exist with no pollution, no stress, and no toxins, maybe you could just take it for a month or two to reset your gut and then be OK. But the reality in today’s world is that most of us are stressed, sleep deprived, overwhelmed with environmental toxins, or eating an overly processed diet. If you’re living in a city, you’re taking medication, you’re drinking alcohol every now and then – these are all reasons why gut flora might get imbalanced more often than you’d think. Our lifestyle today is really disruptive to the gut microbiome.

Some people, especially those who are very focused on health and wellness, might do one month on, one month off, or three months on, three months off. You can take it to rebalance your gut as a baseline, then as maintenance.

In general, I always suggest that you go by your gut feeling: see how you do when you’re taking the probiotics, and observe how you’re doing when you’re not.


Dara: Is there anything else you'd like everyone to know about Omni-Biotic and probiotics in general?

HANNAH: We think a place like Ayla is a good starting point to get probiotics on people’s radars. Even if we don’t often make this connection, it’s important to know that the gut influences so much of what we traditionally think of as “beauty” as well.

Some people say the skin is the external mirror of the gut: if the gut is in dysbiosis, and we have inflammation, that influences nutrient absorption — and the nutrients we need for healthy skin and hair can’t enter the body. It can also worsen inflammation, which can manifest in pimples or dull skin. So if you have inflammation in your skin, look at your gut, and maybe that could prompt you to see a nutritionist or doctor who can do some testing to get to the bottom of it.


One of the things we love most about skincare is that, once you begin paying attention to your skin and realize that it is connected to your overall health, you start paying more attention to that, too; you can read more about our point of view on holistic skincare — which Omni-Biotic fits into perfectly — in this blog post.

We are so proud to be among Omni-Biotic's very first retailers in the US, and its first in the beauty world. And Dara is grateful to her fussy gut for leading her into one of Vienna's oldest apothecaries while on vacation, where she picked up her first box of Stress Release and became a believer. You can shop Omni-Biotic here.


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