Probiotic Problem #1 — Your Stomach Acid Kills Them.
In a 2008 exposé piece, a top U.K. food microbiologist named Glenn Gibson revealed a secret the supplement industry had been hiding for years. “Bacteria, including many probiotics, are likely to be destroyed by stomach acid.”
In fact, a peer reviewed study discovered the acid in your stomach is so powerful it can dissolve 63% of a razor blade’s mass in less than 24 hours.
If your stomach acid can burn through metal, of course delicate tablets of lab grown probiotics won’t survive! For a probiotic to work effectively it needs to be able to reach your upper large intestines, without being killed by your stomach acid — this is where the bacteria can work their magic and improve your health.
Quick Tip: If your probiotic requires refrigeration it will definitely not survive your stomach acid.
Probiotic Problem #2 — They Forget About Humanity’s Original Probiotic Source.
Our microbiomes are out of balance and this is a new problem. The microbiome is a delicate balance of bacteria which scientists have discovered affect many aspects of our health including our mental health, our digestion, and our skin — In fact, your intestinal wall is where 70% of the bacteria that regulate your immune system live!
Most people understand our gut bacteria are out of balance because of the modern diet. But have you ever wondered exactly where we got probiotics for the last 20,000 years of our existence?
Cavemen weren’t eating Kombucha, Greek Yogurt, and Sauerkraut after all. It turns out over 98% of our original probiotic intake came from just one source. They came from the soil our food was grown in.
Food wasn’t washed or processed as carefully as it is today — every time you ate fruit or vegetables you’d be getting a small dose of SBOs (soil-based organisms) which included powerful probiotics which are better for your health than the majority of lab-grown strains.
Most importantly, these probiotics found in soil are spore-forming, which means they can survive your stomach acid and won’t be released until they get to your intestines.
Probiotic Problem #3 — More Isn’t Always Better. Supplement companies want to stand out from all their competitors. So what do they do? They increase the dosage. They think “bigger is always better”. But our guts have a delicate balance of bacteria. If a probiotic has too much of a certain species it can out-compete the good bacteria in your gut and these beneficial strains will die off.
And then, if you stop taking these high-dose probiotics, more harmful bacteria can take over, leaving you with a more unhealthy balance than ever before. Most Gastroenterologists (gut doctors) recommend people take a spore-forming probiotic dose between 5 Billion and 10 Billion CFU 1-2 times per day. Probiotics with 30, 50, or even 100 billion will likely do more harm than good.
Eating Out and Other Food Concerns: You usually can't verify the food quality or safety of food when you eat out. Often restaurant food can lay out and be exposed to many different bad bacteria, which can de-stabilize your digestive environment, leading to stomach issues. Taking Smarter Gut Health provides additional protection with strong gut health support.
Probiotic Problem #4 — Pretending All Probiotic Strains Are Equal. Scientists estimate there are between 300 and 1000 completely different species of bacteria living in your gut. Some are beneficial and others are harmful. Most supplement companies just throw 2 or 3 different species of lactobacillus bacteria into a probiotic and they’re happy to sell it.
They choose the cheapest probiotics available instead of the bacterial strains that can make the biggest difference to your health.
For probiotics to help you transform your health, they need to be chosen specifically with each having a special purpose. They need to complement the good bacteria already in your gut and help out-compete the bad bacteria which lead to indigestion, bloating, yeast infections, and more.
Probiotic Problem #5 — They Don’t Include Beneficial Prebiotics. Imagine you want to grow some flowers. You have some seeds and you have soil. You plant the seeds and hope they grow. But, you’re missing something: water. The seeds won’t sprout without it. The seeds are like gut health and the water is like prebiotics.
When you take probiotics, you are adding a few carefully chosen species into your gut to improve the balance and fight off the bad bacteria. Prebiotics feed the hundreds of different good-bacteria species in your gut. They promote a better balance in your gut that lasts long-term and won’t just disappear after you stop taking the supplement for a few days.
When you look for a probiotic, make sure a complementary prebiotic is included in the mix. Taking a prebiotic separately can be a bad idea because there are many different types and the wrong one can interfere with the specific probiotic species you’re taking.