The oh-so controversial subject on soil based probiotics.
As a digestive warrior with a rebel spirit…..it seems the more controversial a supplement or protocol is, the more intrigue I have, which is how I found these spores that changed my life to begin with. Controversy is healthy and often necessary. And because I fight (and I fight hard) for what I truly believe in, sometimes opposition is expected.
Spores are revolutionary in the world of 'probiotics.'
What the heck are spore probiotics vs ‘regular’ probiotics?
‘Regular’ probiotics are food cultured probiotics. Traditional probiotics were cultured on milk. Now, because of dairy sensitivity, some companies are culturing probiotics with alternative foods such as chick peas.
They are live organisms, however, most are no longer alive once they hit the shelf of your health-food store. These guys need refrigeration to stay alive…..how many companies do you think are spending the money to ship them across country refrigerated?
Soil based probiotics are exactly what they sound like- they are from the dirt. They lie dormant in capsule form until they arrive in the GI tract and ‘seed.’ They require no refrigeration.
BOTH are transient, meaning they both do their job (colonize) and leave. Yes, spores will live on a little longer…..meaning you don’t have a take as high of a maintenance dose once you get populated with them.
All Strains NOT Created Equal!
So what does this mean? OK, so let’s say you go to Whole Foods and you buy a popular brand of non-spore probiotics. They're even refrigerated. You notice it has very high CFU’s of Acidophilus and this pleases you. But let’s investigate further.
You see, the species is Acidophilus, yes. But every species includes varying numbers of ‘strains.’
Acidophilus, for example, has 13 different strains. Only 2 out of those 13 strands have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties- the very properties needed for effective gut transformation.
Now, considering that these ‘superior’ strains are way more expensive and difficult to cultivate in a lab, which strain do you think 90% of these companies are using? Yup- the ineffective ones. But hey, the bottle says you’re taking Acidophilus ☺
Same concept with Spores- some companies are selling soil based organisms but actually only including one or two that are actually derived from spores. The rest are being derived from a vegetative cell which is way less effective.
But this allows them to call the entire product as soil based organisms; false advertisement. There really is no end to corruptive marketing tactics.
Before I dive into highlighting my personal experience with spore based probiotics as well as my clinical experience in prescribing them I highly suggest you read a post by a fellow functional medicine practitioner. This guy did such a FANTASTIC job at writing this article that it would be a disservice to you not to throw it your way:
I would be doing equally a disservice if I did not include the most popular article against spores. I believe in offering information. What you do with it is entirely up to you:
OK. So now I just want to state my fundamental truth on the topic:
Spores. Changed. My. Life
…….and many others
Let me reiterate: the probiotic industry last year brought in 8 million dollars, and it’s on the rise. It is now officially a fad. Let me ask you one very important question:
Has taking ANY ‘regular’ probiotic significantly and profoundly changed your gut/symptoms?
If the answer is yes, then I am ecstatic for you. Because you are the needle in the haystack and that is awesome.
If the answer is a resounding NO……then you are the norm.
I, too, like Michael over at Rebel tried almost everything out there. In fact I was just telling my partner the other day that he and I could take a luxurious trip to Italy with the money that we have collectively spent over the years on dead organisms in a pretty glass bottle. Ugh.
Spores are naturally found in the air, water and soil. They are referred to as soil based organisms because of their ubiquitous presence on earth.
The problem is that we are so far removed from the primal lifestyle we once lived that we don’t come into contact with these spores to the degree that we need to anymore. We are not living and playing in nature nearly enough, most of us don’t have our hands in the soil growing our own food, and (often) the food we purchase at the store has been grown in very depleted soil.
In other words, we are not getting these spores naturally as our ancestors once did.
These spores enhance our immune system in very crucial ways….ways that allow our bodies to fully recognize infection.
IBS and IBD are cases in which the immune system is not recognizing the bad guys enough to fight them. This is why such conditions are an epidemic in modern day times; our immune systems are incredibly deficient.
Certain developments of the immune system actually require spores, which we are just no longer exposed to. Between this deficiency, insane amounts of stress, eating food that’s incredibly void of nutrients and minerals, inhaling over 2,000 chemicals when we walk outside our doors- it’s no wonder our immune systems are failing us.
Auto-immune? I’m not sure I buy that label. For those of you that follow me and my work, you most likely already know that the term auto-immune doesn’t really work for me. I’m going to repeat a quote that I reference often, in case you are new to me.
“Infection and auto-immune 'disease' are the opposite sides of the same coin.”
Dr. William Chamberlin
When I began treating my illness as an infection, I got better.
You are not sick because your chakras are misaligned, because of your anger issues, or because you have not forgiven your mother. I am so tired of the new age nonsense that brings people to feel guilt and shame around their symptoms. We’re talking straight microbiology.
You got sick because we live in a modern day world that doesn’t support a healthy micro-biome and you (most likley) have a genetic mutation that allowed for these sneaky little buggers you picked up to over-ride the immune system. You are a good person- a whole, multi-dimensional being worthy of health and vitality.
It became fad in the 1960’s when the field of immunology came about to label conditions that weren’t understood as “auto-immune,” and all kinds of misinformation ensued. Good thing you are now becoming a digestive warrior!
OK, I digress….
Anyway, spores. When I began taking spores I went through the detox of my life. I was sick for weeks. I could only take a half a capsule every 2-3 days. I got a rash on my lower abdomen right over the area in which my colon was sick. I got a low fever. I had horrible, foul smelling diarrhea. My whole body hurt, all over.
I kept going because everything I read said that this might happen. I had connected with others that had experienced a very similar herx, and my intuition told me that what was happening in my body was a good thing, as challenging as it was.
A lot of people discontinue taking them at this stage in the game because they start panicking- which is understandable. This is why it is essential to go VERY slow with the spores, listening to your body and discerning the pace of treatment. The spores produce very powerful antibiotics in the gut……naturally. These antibiotics were doing their job, ridding the bad bugs from my system.
I knew my body was trying to fight a war. Finally, because before this I couldn’t even get my body to recognize the battlefield- there was no battlefield. It was just dead soldiers everywhere because the enemies had won.
Eventually……I got better. WAY better. And after a while, food allergies that came on when I was 15 and never let up (after almost 20 years of regular probiotics) began to dissipate. My mental state drastically improved. I actually began eating again like a normal person. Violins began to pIay. I cannot even put into words my gratitude for such genius microbiologists and doctor’s inventing this product.
These spores, that stay 100% alive through the harsh acidity of the stomach and find their way to the infected site, make perfect sense to me.
What doesn’t make sense to me is taking a product that a) is mostly dead before it arrives on the shelf in the health food store b) even in its prime not able to survive my stomach and c) doesn’t contain enough probiotics per serving to make a difference (even if it were alive and able to make its way to the colon).
I won’t even prescribe non-spore probiotics in my practice anymore, even a brand I strongly believe in (like CUSTOM) unless someone needs them rectally. For most, it’s simply a waste of time and money. Spores are way more efficient….there is almost no comparison.
I do very much believe in ‘regular’ probiotic enemas. They can absolutely benefit IBS and are paramount for IBD’ers. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the benefits from putting a QUALITY powdered probiotic where the sun don’t shine. For some reason I had so much resistance towards doing this, even after I had tried (with no success) fecal transplant.
But once I did there was no return. From the very first probiotic enema I experienced improvement. This makes so much sense…..this is a situation in which these organisms actually stay alive (assuming they are not already dead when you get your hands on them) as they are not dying in the acidity of the stomach. With a probiotic enema you absolutely want a minimum of 8-12 strains as diversity is key. We need diversity of bacteria in our guts.
Taking an abundance of one strain or two strains can create very serious imbalances. We want to emulate nature as much as possible. Nature is about balance; our healing journeys should be to.
Soil based organisms have been used safely for many years, but you wouldn’t know it. Bacillus Subtilis was widely used as an immune stimulator and treatment for digestive disorders in North America during the 1950s and 1960s. Its popularity declined after the introduction of antibiotics, despite its effectiveness and the fact that it comes with far fewer side effects. They are still widely used today in Germany and other parts of Europe……they are far more advanced in these countries than you might realize when it comes to healthcare.
Any guesses as to why these organisms were banned in the US in medical facilities? Do you think it has anything to do with $$$?
There are indeed a handful of companies in America producing soil based probiotics now. At the risk of this article sounding like a sales pitch, I’m going to go ahead and shamelessly say from the top of the mountain that MegaSporebiotic is superior to any other. It is the ONLY spore designed product that contains Bacillus Clausii (potent immune stimulator), and contains over 4 billion probiotic cells per dose- higher than any other on the market. It also contains the patented bacillis indicus HU36- the world’s first carotenoid (antioxidant) rich probiotic. This strain colonizes the GI and produces RDA levels of carotenoids right at the sight of absorption. The 5 strains included in this formula were designed to work synergistically together, and they do.
MegaSporebiotic is the future of micro-biome repair. I have seen so many individuals that I have worked with profoundly transform their digestive systems with this product. This has been such a novel outcome in comparison to the lack of results from ‘normal’ probiotics. Science has simply come too far to turn back now.
The way I see it……here are one’s choices when it comes to taking a controversial product such as this one:
Option #1: One can avoid experimenting altogether and just accept one’s current state of IBS or IBD.
Option #2: Experiment, knowing that there is minor risk and major potential for drastic improvement.
Of course one can always discontinue use if adverse reactions occur……however, herxheimer effect (detox) can look like an adverse reaction. Be your own detective.
My overall thoughts on spores- they are Spartans. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a Spartan on my side anyday.
In Battle Beside You,
Karen Mullins DOM