The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as "live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."
This is very true of most probiotics.
Most good companies that produce probiotics go to great lengths to make sure that they have live organisms in a capsule, and that when taken, confer a health benefit.
But having a live organism in a capsule is just one part of the story.
90% of leading probiotic brands contain combinations of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium species.
While these are highly prevalent in the intestines naturally from birth, they are killed by stomach acid when consumed orally as adults.
When you are a baby, your stomach lacks acidity in the early stages of development - allowing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium to be transferred during live vaginal birth, mother's breast milk, and your environment.
As you develop, you've already been colonized with Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium, and your stomach acidifies to prepare for solid foods that may introduce unwanted pathogens.
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium organisms were never intended by nature to be supplemented by mouth following birth and breastfeeding!
So this means that most probiotic supplements are alive when you take them, but are immediately killed by your gastric juices.
Since we also kill off our healthful bacteria with fluoridated and chlorinated water, antibiotics and chemicals in our food, we must replenish them. We can do so by taking these living probiotics on an empty stomach. When our stomach is empty it is near neutral pH so the bacteria should exit the stomach unscathed.
Then, we can maintain these healthy bugs by eating diverse fruits and vegetables that feed our microbes with healthy fibers and starches known as "prebiotics".
We can also consume fermented foods.
Fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha and others contain valuable byproducts from fermentation that are healthy for us, but they are NOT truly repopulating the gut with healthy organisms like we used to think! Most of the probiotics are still being killed on arrival. You would have to eat a lot of these foods with hopes that some of the bacteria will make it to the colon alive.
A probiotic supplement should actually replenish growth and re-population of the microbes in the gut and confer a health benefit.
So What must a true probiotic do?
This is a tall order. Instead, nature intended that we feed our existing bacteria with diverse plant starches and fibers from our food. These probiotics need food or they will perish. The right starches feed the healthful bacteria but will starve the pathogenic bacteria and yeast. On the other hand, sugary foods will feed only the pathogenic bacteria and yeast. Also, if you killed off your healthful bacteria with antibiotics even ONCE, you get imbalances.
Since most of us are in this boat, what can we do to rebalance our microbiome?
Take SPORE probiotics and feed them with prebiotics.
Spore based probiotics have protective "shells' that protect them from heat, drying, acidity, antibiotics, radiation, enzymes and more. These come from the Bacillus family.
They are found in soil, rocks, and in humans and other mammals, including marine life!
Spore probiotics actually live and colonize in the intestines and are considered a NORMAL part of human gut bacteria.
They are safe and have a long record of clinical use. Humans have co-evolved with spore organisms since the beginning of time.
Our immune system expects them and depends on them for optimal function.
The soil is how these organisms found their way into our bodies. We used to eat plant foods covered in them. But now we live very clean lives away from the dirt, so to maintain healthy levels, we're left with supplementing with them.
Prebiotics are resistant starches that feed the healthful bacteria. We can not digest these starches but our healthful gut bacteria can, and in doing so, they produce all kinds of beneficial byproducts. One of the most important is Butyric Acid. This short-chain fatty acid protects the colon lining, feeds the colon cells to keep them healthy and provides energy for our bodies and brains. Makes you think twice about passing over the sunchokes in the grocery store.
There are many prebiotic foods such as, green bananas, sunchokes, potato starch, jicama, chicory, dandelion and a few others. Well then, how many of us are eating those?
In comes the prebiotic supplements. There are a few good ones on the market that will feed the healthful bacteria without unwanted ingredients.
Where can we get these spore probiotics and the prebiotics?
Many of you may already be familiar with these products since I use them in my practice and preach of their extraordinary health benefits.
MegaSporeBiotic™ SPORE-BASED PROBIOTIC | ANTIOXIDANT
MegaSporeBiotic™ is the first 100% spore-based, broad-spectrum probiotic clinically shown to support healthy gut barrier function. This unique all-spore formula effectively RECONDITIONS the gut by increasing microbial diversity and encouraging the growth of key health-promoting, commensal gut bacteria. MegaSporeBiotic™ boasts a 5-year shelf-life, does not require refrigeration, and maintains efficacy during antibiotic therapy.