My Supplements

Please note you will only be provided with supplements if you are participating in Work Package 2 (WP2). 

This section is not relevant for volunteers taking part in Work Package 1 (WP1). 

Download a printable version of this information here.

What supplements will I be asked to take?

·      You will be given both a probiotic and a placebo supplement at different timepoints. 

·      The supplements you receive will be in capsule form.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial to your health when administered in adequate amounts. Probiotic bacteria are found in a variety of different products, including foods, dietary supplements, infant formulas and pharmaceuticals (e.g., Yakult yogurt).

A placebo has no therapeutic value and is used so that we can test the effectiveness of the probiotic.

·      Everyone who agrees to take part in WP2 will be put into a treatment arm

·      As the study is double-blinded, neither you nor the researchers will know which supplement is which. 

·      We simply refer to them as supplement A and supplement B. This means that both supplement A and supplement B have an equal chance of being the probiotic or placebo, and we do not know which is which. This is to reduce any bias

·      WP2 will have two arms: AB and BA. These arms refer to the order in which you will receive the supplements. 

·      For example, if you are assigned to arm AB, you will be given supplement A to take between your firstand second study appointments. You will then be given supplement B to take between your third and fourth study appointments. 

·      Alternatively, if you are assigned to arm BA, you will be given supplement B to take between your first and second study appointments. You will then be given supplement A to take between your third and fourth study appointments. 

·      You will be assigned to arm AB or BA through a process called randomisation, which means you cannot choose which arm you will be assigned to. 

·      You and the study researchers will know which study arm you are placed in, but not which supplement is which. 

When will I be given my supplements?

·      You will be provided with your supplements in person at the end of your first and third study appointments. 

·      They will be placed inside the opaque bag together with your sample kit for your next appointment.

·      You will not be provided with any supplements to take following your second appointment, as the time between your second and third appointments is the washout period. 

When should I take my supplements and how often should I take them?

·      You will be asked to take one capsule daily, preferably with breakfast or another meal that you eat regularly. 

·      We will send you reminders via email every week to help you remember to take the supplement. 

·      Alternatively, if you find that it helps you, we have provided a tracker you can use to record when you have taken your supplement. 

·      If for some reason you were not able to provide a faecal sample on the day of your study appointment, please do not start taking your supplement until the day after you have dropped the faecal sample off at the University of Reading. 

What happens if I forget to take my supplement?

·      As this will likely be something new to incorporate into your daily habits, it’s only natural if you forget to take your supplement every once in a while. 

·      If you forget to take your supplement once or twice that’s not a problem. 

·      If you find you’re forgetting to take your supplement more regularly, please inform the study researchers. 

·      We can provide you with a supplement tracker, which you can also print out using this link.

What happens if I lose or run out of supplements?

·      If you lose your supplements, please let the researchers know as soon as possible. It’s very important that you continue taking your supplements during the treatment periods, so one of the researchers will arrange for the supplements to be posted out to you as quickly as they can.

·      It is unlikely that you will run out of supplements, as the researchers involved in the study will have booked your appointments to ensure there are no more than 40 days between your first and second, or third and fourth study appointments.