I truly believe that probiotics, whether it’s a regular or SBO probiotic, are one of the essential supplements everyone should take daily! Probiotics can support your health in so many ways, from heart health to gut health, allergies, and eczema. Furthermore, probiotics offer a wealth of benefits from vaginal health for women to weight management to healthy bowel functions. I take one every day after my own issues with gut health.
Not every probiotic is made equal, however, so it might be a little confusing trying to understand the difference between all the types out there. Don’t worry! I’ll go over the differences between regular probiotics and soil-based probiotics, commonly referred to as SBO probiotics, and why they are essential to achieving optimal health. I’ll also tell you how to determine whether an SBO probiotic or regular probiotic is right for you!
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that can work in your gut to support your body in a number of ways. They can be found in dietary supplements and fermented foods, as well as within the natural microbiome of your body.1
A healthy microbiome has been linked to the prevention of a wide range of health conditions that often impact women, including urinary tract infections, Candida overgrowth, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and adult acne.23
Probiotics also have a range of essential jobs in your body, including supporting healthy digestion, synthesizing essential vitamins such as the B vitamins thiamine and riboflavin, absorbing water, and fending off dangerous bacteria that can upset your gut microbiome.4 Let’s go a little deeper into the benefits of probiotics.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that help keep your gut in balance. Eating a diet high in inflammatory foods, exposure to environmental toxins, and stress all feed the bad bacteria in your gut. What’s more, even taking a single round of antibiotics wipes out your good bacteria along with the bad in your gut microbiome. Probiotics can help replace your good bacteria and keep bad bacteria in check, restoring balance to your gut, and keeping it functioning properly. Yet, there’s several other benefits of probiotics for your body.
1. Probiotics Promote a Gut Balance
Probiotics can help you maintain the correct balance of gut flora in your body. Everyone’s gut has a mix of good and bad bacteria. The most common examples of good bacteria are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus. There are many types of bad bacteria but among the most common are Staphylococcus, Clostridium perfringens, and Escherichia coli.5
The good bacteria in your microbiome help protect the cells in your intestinal wall from invading pathogens by crowding them out and breaking them down.6 Probiotics also promote the repair of damaged tissue by supporting your immune system and the cells that build a structure called the extracellular matrix, which keeps your intestinal lining in good condition.
2. Probiotics Support Your Immune System
Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut. A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health, and probiotic support both your gut health and promotes a healthy immune system response. One of the mechanisms of probiotics regulating immunomodulatory functions is through the activation of toll-like receptors in your gut to support a healthy gut lining.7
3. Probiotics Promote Regular Bowel Movements
Having regular bowel movements is an important part of optimal health because it is how your body expels toxins and waste products to remain balanced. Women who have more frequent bowel movements have a lower risk of breast cancer, which may be because the bile acids absorbed from your intestines concentrate in your breasts and have an estrogen-like, tumor-promoting effect.8 As an added benefit, becoming more regular can also help you lower your blood pressure, as constipation can raise it. Probiotic bacteria accounts for up to 70% of the bulk of a healthy bowel movement, so it’s important to ensure you’re getting enough good bacteria to bulk it up.
4. Probiotics Help Bowel Transit Time
Probiotics not only support healthy bowel function, they also impact how long waste remains in your body. Bifidobacterium lactis in particular may support your body in moving waste along at the optimal speed. While this varies from person to person and even day by day, a 12-48 hour window is considered the normal range. Generally, a too-short transit time means your digestive system has not had the opportunity to absorb as much water and nutrients as it should. This can result in diarrhea or loose stools, as well as dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. Too-long of transit time means your digestive system is having trouble eliminating waste. This could be a result of constipation.
5. Probiotics Support Vaginal Wellness
Vaginal bacteria is also influenced by probiotics, including Lactobacillus. This probiotic produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which supports your vagina in maintaining an acidic pH level. This high acid helps the vagina fight bacterial infections such as bacterial vaginosis. This makes lactobacillus one of the best probiotics for vaginal health. That’s good news for the more than 21 million American women between 14 and 49 who get bacterial vaginosis each year.9
6. Probiotics Promote Optimal Weight
Another benefit of probiotics is the impact they have on your weight. Not only do they play a major role in digestion, but they also promote the production of short-chain fatty acids that boost metabolism and energy production. They support the absorption of the fats you eat, and help release satiety hormones that signal you to stop eating.
Where Can You Find Beneficial Probiotics?
Now that you know all the amazing benefits I’m sure you’re eager to know where to find these potent probiotics. The primary ways of finding beneficial probiotics are through your food or supplements. Let’s talk about probiotic foods first.
Kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles and other fermented foods are touted as a “must have” for a healthy gut microbiome by almost every functional medicine and natural health expert. In fact, you can hardly walk through a natural grocery store without seeing these products. Probiotic foods include:
Yogurt has long been touted as a gut health food. It is a fermented dairy product made with two species of bacterial cultures, streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus.10 The problem with yogurt is that it contains lactose, which is an inflammatory food that many people have a sensitivity to. There are non-dairy versions of yogurt that do not contain the Lactobacillus strain, typically made with coconut instead of dairy.
Fermented foods include kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles.These can be included in a healthy diet. However, if you have a gut infection like Candida overgrowth or SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) fermented foods can do more harm than good. All of the probiotics produced during the fermentation process feed not only the “good” bacteria, they also feed “bad” bacteria and yeast.
Probiotics add to the population of good bacteria in your digestive system. Prebiotics are compounds in food that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Prebiotic foods, such as garlic, leeks, apples, asparagus, and bananas have the greatest health benefits. Because these prebiotic foods pass through your digestive system without being broken down by digestive enzymes and gastric acids, they become an important fuel and nutrient source for bacteria in your gut.
However, I think of prebiotic foods as fish food—they feed everything in the fish tank, good and bad alike. Excess bacteria can feed off the undigested food in your small intestine, which produces hydrogen as a byproduct. Hydrogen can feed single-celled organisms in your small intestine called archaea, potentially leading to SIBO.
While these foods can be good choices depending on your specific health needs, unfortunately, it can be nearly impossible to get all the probiotics you need just from your food for three reasons:
- There’s really no way to tell exactly which strains are in your foods.
- There’s no way to know whether they are strains that work well together.
- It’s hard to eat enough volume of the right foods. For example, you’d have to eat A LOT of yogurt to ensure you are getting enough colony forming units to be truly beneficial. Especially if you can’t eat some of the foods on the list because of the dietary restrictions I mentioned!
This is why probiotic supplements are so important. Taking a probiotic can keep your gut functioning properly. Knowing which probiotic supplement to take is just as important. There are a lot of probiotics on the market today, so it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you. I’ll talk more about that later. First let’s go into the difference between two major types of probiotics – regular probiotics and SBO probiotics.
SBO Probiotics vs. Regular Probiotics
Do you know the difference in the probiotics out there? As I mentioned earlier, there are two types of probiotics: SBO probiotics, or probiotics based on soil-based organisms, and regular probiotics. Let’s discuss each of them.
Probiotic supplements are sold in different strengths called CFUs (colony forming units). The CFU tells you how many bacteria are within that particular probiotic. When searching for the best probiotic consider the number of CFUs.
Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion is designed for maximum support. You won’t see very many products on your local store shelves that have this potency level AND don’t need to be refrigerated. Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion is available for those that find they can not tolerate a high level of probiotics and provides an excellent maintenance dose.
As I mentioned earlier, the typical bacterial strains found in common probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A quality probiotic will also contain the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, which helps to fight off disease-causing organisms in the gut. It’s also been used to support a healthy bowel pattern. Regular probiotics are intended to populate the large intestine. The maintenance of a healthy intestinal microecology is the most important benefit of probiotics because they benefit the body in the variety of ways I mentioned earlier.
If you can believe it, there are certain situations where standard lactic-acid-based probiotics can actually cause more complications than they solve. SIBO, or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, is one of those situations.
Because SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel often caused by chronic constipation or challenges with the nervous system, adding more lactic acid based bacteria into the small intestine can often be adding more fuel to the fire.
This is why I recommend Primal Earth Probiotic to anyone who has SIBO, suspects SIBO may be at the root cause of their issues, or simply doesn’t tolerate most probiotics.
In our hyper-hygienic modern lives, we are so far removed from the dirt that grows our food that we’re missing out on some of the crucial microorganisms and probiotics that populate our soil which used to populate our own microbiomes. I believe this is one of the reasons digestive issues are more common today than they once were. That’s where soil-based probiotics come in.
SBO probiotics do not contain lactobacillus or bifidobacterium strains, yet they still provide all the benefits of a probiotic. SBO probiotics have a natural, seed-like structure that makes them stronger than lacto-based probiotics. Therefore, soil-based probiotics survive the journey through the stomach with the help of far fewer colony-forming units (CFUs) than lactobacillus-based supplements. This is due to the formation of endospores, which can withstand stomach acid, bile salts, and pancreatic enzymes that would normally destroy the bacteria.11
Now I’m going to tell you about how to pick a probiotic and the probiotic I use daily to support my gut health.
What is the Best Probiotic for You?
I recommend taking a high-quality probiotic supplement daily to maintain optimal gut health. They are so important that I developed Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion for daily maintenance and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion for rebuilding and rebalancing gut bacteria when you’re taking antibiotics, fighting Candida overgrowth, or working to repair a leaky gut.
I searched for years to find a high-quality probiotic without any luck. Most probiotics on the market require refrigeration and have a short shelf life because CFUs die off quickly so by the time you get the probiotic home and take it, you aren’t getting what is written on the package.
That’s why I formulated Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion to ensure you’re getting the highest quality of probiotic strains at the most potent strength for optimal gut health. And the best part is they do not require refrigeration and have a long-lasting shelf life.
Both Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion contain 14 live strains that I carefully selected to work together to support a healthy intestinal microecology for optimal bacteria balance. Among the strains I included are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, which can help support healthy bowel function, particularly when it’s been compromised by antibiotics. I included this one in particular because IBS is a major women’s health issue. In fact, of the estimated 25 to 40 million people in the U.S. alone who have it, women make up roughly two-thirds of the people who have IBS.
I saw thousands of patients with digestive distress, so I made sure to include strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Streptococcus thermophilus to support your optimal gut health. Lactobacillus plantarum binds to the innermost layer of the gastrointestinal tract to promote your gut’s population of beneficial bacteria. Streptococcus thermophilus works together with Lactobacillus plantarum to fight off unfriendly organisms.
When we are in optimal health, we live symbiotically with the bacteria in our bodies. If balanced, they promote optimal digestion and immunity, both of which are crucial to every aspect of your health and well-being. That’s why I suggest adding a probiotic to support an optimal balance of synergistic bacteria to optimize your digestive health. I take Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion every day for gut maintenance.
- Probiotics: What You Need To Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 2021.
- Sex-Gender Differences in Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Young Sun Kim and Nayoung Kim. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol. 24. 2018.
- Is acne vulgaris more common in men or women?. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC. Medscape. 2020.
- Good Bacteria Vs. Bad Bacteria: How Bacteria Can Be Healthy Too!. John Staughton . Science ABC. 2019.
- Health benefits of taking probiotics. Harvard Medical School. 2020.
- What Are Probiotics?. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC. WebMD. 2020.
- Probiotics and immune health. John Staughton. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology Vol. 27,. 2011.
- Bowel Movements. Nutrition Facts. 2021.
- Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020.
- Yoghurt. J. Buttriss. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Second Edition. 2003.
- Prescript-Assist probiotic-prebiotic treatment for irritable bowel syndrome: a methodologically oriented, 2-week, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical study. Alvah Bittner, Robert Croffut, and Mary Stranahan. Clinical Therapeutics 27. 2005.