Just Thrive Probiotic Interview

Just Thrive Probiotic and Antioxidant is one of the products that we discovered during our time at Expo West and we couldn’t be more excited to begin our Just Thrive journey. In our previous post (click here to read) we introduced this wonderful product and invited you to partake in the 30 day challenge alongside us! The founders of Just Thrive, Tina and Billy Anderson, are passionate about all things wellness and when an opportunity arose to buy the rights to a groundbreaking probiotic, they jumped on it.

We were lucky enough to interview Tina and get her to answer all of our probiotic questions…

Tina & Billy Anderson

Tina & Billy Anderson


Tina Anderson

Co-founder and CEO of Just Thrive probiotics

What got you involved with Just Thrive?

My husband and I were in the pharmaceutical business and I was able to be our in house counsel, as I am an attorney. We saw a lot of abuse in the industry; the over prescribing of drugs, the overtreatment of chronic conditions with little to no focus on prevention. The straw that broke the camel's back was when we won a huge contract for a cholesterol drug and the rep told us to go to every doctor in the building and get them to lower the cholesterol number at which they could prescribe the drug. That was it. We just felt we were not doing our lives’ work. We decided to look into a different, more natural way to help people which was more in line with how we live our lives with our three kids. This took us into a major research mode and we started looking into many different options. My husband’s chiropractor was a formulator of different natural health products and he knew that we were looking for something specific. He called us one day to tell us that there was an opportunity to buy the exclusive rights for a groundbreaking probiotic strain from London University, so we took our life savings and dove deep in. It was the best thing we ever did. At the beginning we knew nothing about launching a brand or brand awareness or even of how to design a brand so it took a little while to get up and running.

Just Thrive

Do you have your own personal success story with Just Thrive?

Personally I have not had any digestive issues but I noticed that my long term health was improving after taking the probiotic. Since taking it, I have literally only got ill once in the last 5 years. I noticed the same results with my own children, both in college who take it every day. Besides strengthening my immune system, Just Thrive keeps my bowel movements regular and my digestion working smoothly. I always thought I was regular before and now it's like, ‘okay NOW I understand what regular really is’.

If someone is brand new to probiotics, what would you tell them before taking this?

I would say that you are the smartest person in the world to be doing this. The most important thing to do, bar none on our journey to natural health, is to take care of our gut. We know our gut is responsible for virtually all aspect of our overall health. All of our non-communicable diseases are attributable to the health of our gut, from diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, autoimmune issues. If you have an autoimmune issue, you have leaky gut and some imbalance going on in your gut.

When you’re looking at different brands of probiotics to take, you need to focus on those that have research behind them, and then you need to make sure that they survive during the digestive process. We know that majority of probiotics on the market today aren’t surviving, probably close to 90% are not. I would ask brands for their gastric survivability study to show that their strain survived at a pH of 1.3 or lower because a ph of 1.3 is the pharmacopeia standard for gastric survivability. Unfortunately, some brands will test for their probiotics survivability at a higher pH which allows for greater survivability, but that’s not representative of what a true gastric pH is, so the results are misleading. I would also tell people to look for a spore based probiotic because those are the ones that survive.

So it wouldn’t necessarily mean something if a probiotic says it has 50 billion live bacteria, that should not be a selling point?

No, not at all. In fact, that has become such a marketing tool. 50 billion is only good if we know they are all surviving. Recently, there was a third party lab that did a gastric survivability test on around 50 leading selling probiotics, and all had virtually no survivability, they were all arriving in the gut dead! Does it mean that the dead probiotics don’t do anything? No. We know they may give you some symptomatic relief but it’s not fixing the root of the problem. A true probiotic will go in, get there alive, and then should actually make a change in the guts flora so you will have a healthier microbiome. Less pathogenic bacteria and more good bacteria. So the 50 billion is really a selling tactic; 50 is not better than 20 unless they’re all surviving and usually they’re not. A lot of probiotics will read “50 billion *at the time of manufacturer”. Well it doesn’t matter if it’s 50 billion at the time of manufacturer if that’s not what you’re getting.

Another big thing to look out for is DNA verification. The strains that we list in our label are the strains that are actually in our bottle, no more no less. UC Davis did a study with 16 products off California store shelves and found only 1 of them met label claims. Meaning what is listed on the label was different than what winded up in the product. That’s important because let’s say there’s a probiotic with 15 different strains in it, most likely those 15 different strains will be thrown in the same vat and then grow together. We don’t do that, and the reason is because in a vat with 15 different strains, 1 strain could take over or 2 strains could come together and create a whole new strain that has never been tested for safety of efficacy. And then you’re selling something different than what the label states. We very specifically grow our strains in 4 separate vats and they are not mixed together until they are encapsulated. We have them independently verified by a third party lab showing that what we say is on the label is actually in the capsule.

I don’t want to say that the other brands went out to try to trick people, that was never the intention. The Natural Institute of Health came out with the Human Microbiome Project around 10 years ago and that told us more about the microbiome then we ever knew before. We now know that for something to be defined as a probiotic, the product needs to arrive alive and it needs to attach. It needs to actually attach to the intestinal cell wall and make a difference in the gut microbiome. The popular products that have been out there for years just pass through the stomach and intestines like food passes through and leave the same day. Our strains actually stay there for 21-28 days.


It seems like starting Just Thrive might hit someone stronger than other probiotics they’ve taken in the past (considering how much actually makes it to the gut). Are there any initial side effects that someone might have when they start or is there any sort of detox period to endure before you get the positive side effects?

Great question. There could be a detox effect especially if they have dysbiosis going on or food allergies, autoimmune conditions, or gastrointestinal discomfort. In those cases I would suggest starting out slowly.  You could do half a capsule and mix it with food or drink or even do one capsule every other day. Most people are fine with one capsule per day but we always encourage people to go slowly so they don’t experience any gastrointestinal discomfort; if they do, it’s actually a great sign. This would most likely happen within the first couple of doses and will not start up later.

Ideally should this be taken morning or night with food empty stomach?

Whether one takes it morning or night does not matter. What does matter is that you take it with food. Ideally take it with a nice hearty meal because these strains actually use the food to germinate throughout the intestines. It’s not harmful to take on an empty stomach, but you get more impact when you take it with food. There’s a myth that you should take probiotics on an empty stomach and the reason you have been told this is because an empty stomach has a higher pH, so there is a higher likelihood of a lesser probiotics surviving.

Since everyone has a slightly different microbiome, will Just Thrive potentially work better for some vs others…

The Bacillus strains which are used in Just Thrive are universal colonizers, meaning that every living species has a binding site for Bacillus. So that’s why this really does work for everybody even though we all have different species of bacteria in our gut. With our strains, we’re not trying to put more seeds in the garden, we’re trying to take the plants that are already there, bring them back to life, and get rid of the pathogens. Envision a garden that’s been trampled on; there are weeds growing everywhere, and analogize that to your microbiome. The old approach was to take seeds (different strains) and throw them in the garden which would be equivalent to planting a few new plants in that garden. With our strains, you still throw the seeds in the garden but the difference is they attach to the soil, get rid of the weeds, and then they take those plants that have been trampled on and turn them back to life. Basically, they take your good bacteria and bring it back to life. Also, a diversity is created in the gut which is the goal of any gut flora, to have a diverse microbicrobiome. That’s why these strains will work for everybody, cause they’re going to do something different in my gut versus your gut, they actually read the microbial environment. Just Thrive uses the strains we were intended to get, the same strains our ancestors got from the soil and from eating food off the land.


Is there ever a situation where you should up the dose or is one good for everyone?

Generally one capsule per day is perfectly fine. I take two if I feel run down or when I travel for shows and need my immune system to stay really strong. We have a lot of customers with children on the autism spectrum who have had great success with Just Thrive. One of the moms asked if she could give her child two because he was responding so well and I said sure go ahead but I don’t want you to spend more than you have to because 1 should do the job.

Would this be a lifelong supplement or something you take sporadically?

I would definitely say to take it on a regular basis. The reason is that our gut is being attacked on a daily basis. Even although we try to eat clean, there are antibiotics and pesticides on so much of our food. Even when we buy organic, we are still exposed. The stress in our daily lives is a huge culprit in gut health also and even sugar is hurting our gut. Just these few aspects can wreak havoc. There is a battle going on every day between the good and bad bacteria and we give the good guys a way to win. If there is a price issue and you want to try to spread a bottle over a longer period of time, you can try taking it every other day or every third day. It’s still way better to take Just Thrive every third day than to take a less expensive probiotic daily that has very little impact.

We talked earlier and something we were surprised to learn is that probiotics don’t have to be refrigerated. What is the myth surrounding that?

I think the myth started because people figured that instead of dead bacteria sitting on a mass retail store shelf, live bacteria was needed. Then it was assumed that live bacteria could last longer when refrigerated and still have life when put into your mouth. Actually this assumption is where the problem starts. If it takes refrigeration to keep the strains alive then there is no way that the product can survive digestion and a body temp at 98.6 degrees. So we are now back to the importance of the strains used and how they are produced. We keep our strains dormant until they are in your gastric system To me, a probiotic that needs to be refrigerated is a weak probiotic and one that will not do you a lot of good. It’s called the gastric barrier for a reason; it’s meant to get rid of unwanted things so these probiotics that are live would die.

A lot of people ask if you can ferment with Just Thrive probiotic and yes, they’re great to make your fermented vegetables, but you won’t get the same probiotic effect if you open the capsule. The reason is, if these strains enter the gastric system alive, they will be killed going through the gastric system. Our strains are actually dormant in the capsule and that’s why they’re called spores. They have an endospore shell around themselves and the endospore shell  protects them when they're in their dormant state.

When you manufacture spores, you need to put them in a vat to ferment and they become alive.. But Dr. Simon Cutting out of London University perfected a manufacturing process that’s able to keep them in their dormant state until they reach where they need to be (and we always get tested by an independent third party lab for survivability).  


Thank you Tina!

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