Traditional Probiotics vs. SBO’s – Which Are Better For You?
What Are Soil-Based Organisms (SBO’s)?
Ever since we launched Probiotics, the most popular questions pertain to what SBO’s actually are (sort of sounds like something from outer space, right?), and why they can be so helpful.
On the simplest level, SBO’s are the term for friendly microorganisms that have their origins in healthy, natural soil. Still, there’s so much more to explore when it comes to SBO’s—so I decided to do a blog post to provide more information, and to clear up any questions or confusion.
Always Begin With Nature
Whenever I’m faced with a thought-provoking health question, I always start by asking: “How does this work in nature?” In this case, looking at nature is key to understanding the various types of bacteria we come into contact with, and how they impact our health in different ways.
First, it’s critical to know just how prevalent and important these microscopic life forms are—both in nature, and in our bodies. Just in the human body alone, it’s estimated that there are over 1000 different strains of bacteria, numbering over 100 trillion in quantity. As a reference, that’s more than all the money—of all currencies, banks and from all other sources—in the entire world! And that 100 trillion number refers just the “good” microorganisms inside us. There are also many unfriendly forms that are even more difficult to count.
Now, if there are that many invisible life forms in our bodies, just imagine how many exist in nature. It’s a number too large to measure or count. And similarly, the natural world has healthy, friendly bacteria—along with unfriendly forms—that it must keep at bay in order to remain balanced.
The Soil Is Our Friend
Nowhere is the good/bad bacteria balance more important than in the soil. You see, the soil is the foundation for the entire plant world—and therefore all living things. The soil provides nutrients and the foundation for plants to grow, and for those plants to then nourish all other forms of life.
When the soil has the nutrients it needs, along with the right balance of bacteria—it’s able grow the healthiest, most robust plants that are strong, resistant to disease and full of vitality. However, when there’s imbalance—often due to the presence of unfriendly bacteria such as yeasts, molds and other pathogens—the plants are weak, tending to rot and decay. Here you can see what a healthy plant looks like, compared to one that’s been overrun by mold:
Now, seeing this, it makes sense that nature has created certain microorganisms whose role it is to keep those unfriendly bacteria at bay. For without them, all life would ultimately cease.
Enter Soil-Based Organisms…
By now, you probably guessed that soil-based organisms are nature’s first line of defense—they help keep pathogenic, unfriendly bacteria in check, while also paving the way for friendly bacteria to grow.
How do they do this? The first way is that they actually consume unfriendly/
Now, here’s where it connects to us: We humans evolved and adapted in symbiosis with the soil. We relied on it for food, and to supply the natural world with plants that feed everything else. We would ingest lots of soil indirectly, and sometimes directly, according to our instincts. (Have you ever seen children instinctively eat dirt!?) Bottom line: our connection, interaction and consumption of food from the soil means that soil-based microorganisms are part of us. Indeed, they always have been, since the dawn of time.
Seeing that, it’s not surprising that SBO’s play a similar role in our bodies. When ingested—which would have and did occur all the time as we lived in nature—these friendly microbes would protect us against pathogens, keeping our overall bacteria balance in harmony.
Guardians of the Good (Bacteria)
The second key role that SBO’s play, both in our bodies and in the soil, is to “set up shop” and work to aid/protect the growth of friendly bacteria. The technical term for this is resident forming—meaning, the SBO’s become more long-term residents of our intestinal tract.
While residing in us, their role is still what we described: They consume and digest unfriendly bacteria, producing a safe, healthy environment (including the creation of food) for the friendly flora in our intestinal tract. This can help create progressively greater probiotic balance, beauty, a healthy immune system, clearer skin, better digestion, improved overall health and so many of the other benefits we’ve covered.
Of course, there are many other valuable forms of probiotics—including those like l. plantarum found in cultured vegetables, which I’ve been eating and recommending for years. The difference is that, when compared to SBO’s, no other form of probiotic bacteria works as strongly against pathogens, or helps guard our inner terrain as strongly.
The lack of dietary SBO’s that we so clearly evolved with is, in my opinion, a hidden reason why modern humans face so many health challenges—in spite of all the advances in medicine. Because we’ve lost that direct connection with nature, and as a result, with the soil and the bacteria that came from it.
And without the presence of soil-based microorganisms—we have far less protection against the pathogens floating around, as well as less defense against the inner bacterial imbalances. Those imbalances result from consuming (or having consumed) processed foods, additives, antibiotics and other substances, all of which kill friendly bacteria indiscriminately.
Something to Think About…
At the very least, I hope that this post inspires you to consider immense impact that bacteria and microorganisms have on both nature and all of life. We tend not to think of them because they are invisible—yet these life forms are as important as oxygen, water or food—and absolutely necessary for our survival.
I worked with my team to develop Probiotics because I saw just how essential soil-based probiotic bacteria are for our health—and how modern life is taking us further and further away from optimum levels.
The problem is only furthered by the fact that most probiotic literature and marketing out there focuses on other strains that are less essential, less robust and less effective in helping us experience the best health and beauty. And don’t let super high culture count numbers on a label food you! Remember that big numbers have little to do with nature and balance, and don’t necessarily making a product more effective.
If you are going to take a probiotic, I feel it makes the most sense to put primary emphasis on getting the most complete, most optimum daily consumption of SBO’s, for all the reasons we just covered. Because SBO’s are what nature would give us in optimal conditions, and they are what my personal research and experience has shown to be best.
Just as we’re profoundly affected by the air that we breath, the water we drink and the food we consume—so are we too affected by the presence and balance of probiotics in our diet and lifestyle.
Surely, we must consider their role if the goal is to reach our highest potential for health, beauty and overall wellness.
In Love and Health,