What is the Role of Probiotics in the Microbiome?
The answer to the question has changed quite a bit over the last three to five years. We talked with Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan about how our understanding of the role of probiotics has shifted based on the latest research. To listen to our interview with Kiran check out the latest installment of Good Gut Solutions Microbiome Series.
Kiran explained to us that 10 years ago scientists who studied probiotics would tell you that probiotic therapy is used to reseed the gut with good bacteria. The idea was to grow these bacteria up in large factories, encapsulate them, put them in products, and you would reseed your gut with these good beneficial bacteria. The idea was that this was going to shift the balance between good and bad bacteria.
What Does the Latest Research on Microbiome Tell Us About How We Absorb Probiotics?
Now through research we know that this was developed prior to any understanding of the microbiome at all. We now know that really can’t reseed you gut. We now know that by a few years after birth, you have your full established microbiome. At that point, you can’t really reseed your microbiome with different organisms, especially lactobacillus and bifidobacter because those are the predominant organisms that you get from mom in the birthing process.
The idea of taking multiple different strains, growing them up and reintroducing them every day to try and reseed your gut just doesn’t work anymore. We know that most of those bacteria just die as they pass through the gastric system.
That being said, there are a number of lactobacillus, bifidobacter based products that have clinical evidence that they do have positive impact in the gut. Our understanding is that they provide symptomatic benefits. They’re not going and living in the gut. They’re actually just passing through. As they move through, certain strains have the ability to modulate the immune response because most of your immune tissue resides in the gut.
What is the Difference in Treating Symptoms or Repairing the Gut With Probiotics?
With probiotics that treat the symptoms, the probiotics go in, they create a metabolic response, and then they come out in fecal matter. That’s why when you stop taking a lot of those probiotics, the symptoms that you’ve been dealing with come right back. You’re not really fixing the core issue.
Probiotics that treat symptoms are not probiotic by the scientific definition because they don’t create a functional change in your gut permanently. What they do is they create a metabolic response in your gut as you consume them. This metabolic response will make you feel better immediately by alleviating stomach pain but as soon as you stop taking them the symptoms will return. This indicates that we’re not creating a functional change in the microbiome, and we’re not curing the problem.
What we really want to focus on is probiotic therapy. Is there a type of bacteria that has the ability to go in, survive through the gastric system, actually live in the gut, and create a functional change both to the microbiome and the immune system?
Is there a way to actually eliminate problems like IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, allergies, asthma, those kind of things, rather than just trying to manage the symptoms. That’s the big difference. The answer is yes.
Spore Based Probiotic Therapy Performs Long Term Benefits
Spore-based organisms are quite interesting. They’re one of the few organisms that fit the current definition of probiotic bacteria. The WHO (World Health Organization) has established what a probiotic is. Number one, it has to be a live microorganism. So you have to be able to show that it survives through the gastric system and gets to the intestines alive. It has to be one that can colonize and create a beneficial change for the host in terms of host microflora. These Bacillus spores have been studied extensively in human clinical trials and have a very long history of use.
Stay tuned for our next Installment in the Microbiome Series. We will explain exciting findings on Spore Based Probiotic Therapy. If you haven’t tried spore based probiotics yet we urge you to do so. Our clients have the best results when they are taken for a two-three month period.