Let’s start at the beginning
Back 20 or so years ago, almost nobody was aware of the important role that a healthy gut plays in our overall well-being. Now we know that our gut is super important. Everything from our mood and emotional health to our outward beauty, our ability to resist infections and diseases, and even our bone and joint health is materially affected by the health of the environment right in our own gastrointestinal tracts.
Because this information has become more widely available to conscious individuals who are interested in living their best lives by taking the best care of their precious body, more and more people are becoming aware of the important role of the ecosystem within.
Yes, inside your GI tract exists a lush and complex ecosystem of intestinal flora which works day and night to keep your body healthy, exuding outward beautiful, and functioning at its peak potential. Our bodies, and nearly everything we come in contact with, have colonies of microscopic organisms which carry out a host of essential functions in our environment.
Believe it or not, the typical human body has about 100 trillion microorganisms, also known as microbiota, in the intestines alone. As difficult as it is to fathom, this number is ten times greater than the total number of human cells in our bodies. The metabolic activities carried out by this industrious population of bacteria and archaea resemble those of an actual organ. So much so that some experts have actually begun to liken the gut bacterial colony to a “forgotten” organ.
To make this point even more mind-blowing, it has been estimated that these ‘denizens of the deep’ have around a hundred times as many genes when added together as there are in the whole of the human genome.
So what is actually being done by these little hitch hikers? Their list of functions is nothing short of astounding. Throughout your entire life, your gut flora are busily aiding in your digestion and keeping you vibrant and healthy by harvesting energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and providing for the subsequent absorption of short-chain fatty acids.
The most important of these fatty acids are metabolized by the liver and by the muscle tissue. Intestinal bacteria also play a role in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as metabolizing bile acids. Beneficial flora help to keep you hydrated by acting to increase the gut’s absorption of water, and also keep the counts of damaging, unhealthy bacteria to a minimum, among a plethora of other essential duties which are being attended to around the clock.
Shouldn’t the inner ecosystem pretty much take care of itself?
In a perfect world, or maybe more accurately I should say in a more primitive world, the answer is “yes.” Wait, what? Yes, as a more hygiene conscious culture, we are all very careful about making sure that everything we use, touch or eat is free from bacteria.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that we turn back the clock and go back to a time when we were vulnerable to even the slightest hint of infection, but our bodies were created to work symbiotically with many beneficial microorganisms which are eradicated from our foods in modern production and preparation for our main food resource: the grocery store.
As anyone who knows me is aware, I always recommend that my clients and readers shop local and organic for a host of good reasons. Among other things, foods that have been exposed to pesticides and herbicides have to be meticulously cleaned of these toxins prior to consumption, and stores that do not sell organic products routinely market foods that have also been subjected to irradiation.
One of the problems with this is that these practices also eliminate the healthy bacteria which would naturally be found there and which our bodies are designed to depend upon to control the populations of all kinds of pathogens to which we are constantly exposed.
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 world with plants that feed everything else. Throughout the course of a typical life, one would actually ingest a certain amount of soil indirectly, and sometimes directly, according to our instincts.
Bottom line: our natural reliance upon food from the soil means that soil-based microorganisms are part of our bodies in their most natural state.
Aren’t all probiotics created equal?
I doubt that anyone who is reading this hasn’t had at least some exposure to probiotic supplements at one point or another.
We know that using a reputable probiotic can help to restore populations of healthy microorganisms in the gut, thereby aiding in digestion, controlling yeast, preventing disease, maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion and strengthening resistance to allergens, but there are so many different ones out there.
In my work as a professional nutritionist — working with people from around the globe— I can say that the importance of digestive balance cannot be overstated.
We have all heard the old saying “You are what you eat,” We now know that it is more accurate to say, “You are what you digest.” Your body’s digestive process determines how much nutrition will ever reach your cells, regulating everything from your energy levels, and your aging process, to your healthful appearance, and pretty much everything in your body.
There are many commercially marketed probiotics, but how do we really determine which ones are most appropriate for our own personal ecosystems? Believe me, I understand how confusing it can be, and that is why I made it a personal goal to separate the information from the misinformation.
I found that the confusion around these supplements is actually exacerbated by much of the marketing literature out there. Why? Because most probiotic literature and marketing seems to focus on other strains that are less essential, less robust and less effective in helping us experience our peak of health and beauty.
It is natural to be impressed by the super high culture count numbers on a label, but like in golf, higher is not always better. Those big numbers have less to do with nature and balance, more to do with making an impressive label.
To complicate matters, manufacturers who simply focus on numbers to impress will frequently combine strains that compete with one another, resulting in the deaths of some less resistant strains right in the capsule, meaning the counts you are reading are accurate only for the time of packaging. These counts may be vastly different by the time the product reaches the store shelves.
What to do? When I am faced with a question like this one, I look for what makes sense within the framework of nature. We didn’t come from a factory or a lab, so the answer lies in our origins – the days before we learned to subject our foods to gamma rays or electron beams.
It turns out that nature has provided a perfect solution for probiotics. It’s been there since the dawn of time — and it’s found in the soil!
Had you lived in a time before all of the modern advances, like supermarkets and the mass importation of foods from other regions and even continents, a significant part of your diet would certainly be wild plant leaves and fruits that were native to your immediate area. You would pick them, and then you would simply go ahead and eat.
On the surface of those fruits and vegetables, live these very natural, completely invisible probiotics — called Soil Based Organisms.
It doesn’t have to be so different today – that is if you have your own organic garden or fruit trees. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go out for a nice walk, simply pick some fruit off of your tree, and eat it without thinking about the toxic chemicals you must wash off the surface first, the way that nature intended?
For optimum gut health, I believe it makes the most sense to put primary emphasis on getting the most complete daily consumption of SBOs, for all the reasons we have been discussing. Soil based probiotic organisms are what nature would give us in optimal conditions, and they are what my personal research and experience has shown to be best.
Aren’t all SBOs the same?
The short answer is no. All soils are not the same, and all bacteria are not the same. There are literally 50 million bacterial organisms in a single gram of topsoil, and not all of them are conducive to our optimal health.
We know that there are some bacteria which are not meant to be introduced into the human digestive tract, those which would be even considered pathogens to our bodies. Thus, we cannot expect that all SBO probiotic supplements are the same.
When I decided to introduce my own SBO Probiotic supplement, Probiotics, I chose to partner with an organic, vegan, non-GMO manufacturer who has discovered a way to take specific SBO strains found in nature — and then culture/produce them in a very pure way.
The result was Probiotics, a Class One probiotic. While there are other products out there of various price ranges, qualities, and levels of effectiveness, there have been no claims of adverse effects associated with Class One probiotics.
Our SBO’s are dried and “dormant” until they safely pass through the digestive process and then become activated in the presence of moisture. This means there is no need for refrigeration.
Specifically, the SBOs in Probiotics can aggressively work against pathogens–helping reduce or eliminate yeast, molds and other unfriendly bacteria (including candida issues!), while also paving the way for the proliferation of a variety of friendly flora, so that your digestion may become stronger, more robust and balanced.
This means that bloating and puffiness can go down, while your ability to digest and break down food into beautifying nutrition goes UP.
Probiotics has the most complete spectrum–29 different SBO strains, plus 2 other key probiotic strains that you’d find normally in cultured veggies…
Remember we are all different and our bodies respond differently to the same thing at times. I do not advise anyone to begin a regimen of any type of supplement without first consulting their care provider to be certain that it is the right thing for them.
Love your gut and improve your health! =)
To your health and beauty,
Question: Have you ever used a probiotic supplement before? What types of changes have you noticed in the way you feel, your energy level, and your overall outlook?