Whether you take regular or Soil-Based Organisms (SBO), I truly believe that probiotics are one of the most essential supplements that everyone should take daily. Probiotics can support overall wellness from heart to gut health, combating allergies, and even reducing eczema. Probiotics balance and maintain many areas of the body, including vaginal health for women, optimal weight, and bowel functions. After discovering my own issues with gut health, I now take probiotics daily.

With a wide variety of probiotics on the market, it’s important to mention that not all are created equal. It can be confusing trying to understand the difference between all the types available. In this article, I’ll review the differences between regular and soil-based, known as SBO probiotics. I’ll cover why they are essential to achieving optimal health and how to determine whether a regular or SBO probiotic is right for you. First, let’s discuss probiotics in general.

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What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living microorganisms that can work in your gut to support your body in several ways. They can be found in dietary supplements and fermented foods. They even inhabit your body’s natural microbiome.1

A healthy microbiome has been linked to preventing 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, absorbing water, and fending off dangerous bacteria that can upset your gut microbiome.4 They also synthesize essential vitamins, such as B vitamins, thiamine, and riboflavin. Now, let’s dive into the array of benefits that probiotics provide.

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. Even taking a single round of antibiotics wipes out your good bacteria along with the bad ones in your gut microbiome. Probiotics can help replace your good bacteria and keep bad bacteria in check. This restores balance to your gut and keeps it functioning properly. Yet, there are several other benefits of probiotics for your body.

The Benefits of Taking a Probiotic - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

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 bad bacteria types, but 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. This keeps your intestinal lining in good condition.

2. Probiotics Support Your Immune System

Your gut hosts 80% of your immune system. Probiotics support a healthy gut and immune system response. Ensuring that your immune system is properly functioning is critical for good health. One of the mechanisms of probiotics regulating immune system function is through the activation of toll-like receptors in your gut, which supports a healthy gut lining.7

3. Probiotics Promote Regular Bowel Movements

Regular bowel movements are an important part of optimal health because this is how your body expels toxins and waste products. 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 account 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, but 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, if the transit time is too short, then your digestive system will not have the opportunity to absorb enough nutrients. This can result in diarrhea or loose stools, as well as dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. A transit time that takes too long can indicate 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 support 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 their impact 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.

How To BoostYour Beneficial Probiotics - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

Probiotic Foods 

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-rich foods include:

Probiotic Yogurt 

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, an inflammatory component that many people are sensitive to. There are non-dairy versions of yogurt that do not contain the Lactobacillus strain, typically made with coconut instead of dairy.

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods including kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles 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.

Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotics are dietary fibers from carbohydrates that bypass digestion to get into your colon. Once in your colon, the microorganisms metabolize and ferment the prebiotics to survive, which creates a variety of byproducts to support your gut health. While probiotics add to the population of good bacteria, prebiotics feed that good bacteria in your gut microbiome.

Prebiotic foods, such as garlic, leeks, apples, asparagus, and bananas have the greatest health benefits. 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. So it’s important to remember that you must clear any gut infections or dysbiosis before adding more prebiotics to your diet. 

Probiotic Supplements 

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: 

  1. There’s really no way to tell exactly which strains are in your foods.
  2. There’s no way to know whether they are strains that work well together. 
  3. 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. More so, if you can’t eat some of the foods on the list because of the dietary restrictions I mentioned previously.

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. Next, I’ll explain the difference between two major types of probiotics – regular probiotics and soil-based probiotics so that you can choose the best option for you.

SBO Probiotics vs. Regular Probiotics

As I mentioned earlier, there are two types of probiotics: soil-based organisms or SBO probiotics, and regular probiotics. Let’s discuss each of them. 

Probiotics: SBO (Soil-Based Organisms) Probiotics vs Regular probiotics - Infographics - Amy Myers MD®

Regular Probiotics

The typical bacterial strains found in regular probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A quality probiotic will also contain the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, which helps fight off disease-causing gut organisms and supports a healthy bowel pattern. 

Regular probiotics are intended to populate the large intestine, maintaining a healthy intestinal microecology. This is the most important benefit of probiotics because they benefit the body in the variety of ways.

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, it’s important to consider the number of CFUs. 

Probiotic Capsules

I personally searched for years to find a high-quality, potent probiotic but had very little luck. Most probiotics on the market require refrigeration and have a short shelf life because CFUs die off quickly. By the time you get the probiotic delivered and consume it, you aren’t truly getting what is stated on the package label anymore. 

That’s why I formulated Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion to ensure you’re getting high quality, potent strength for optimal gut health. The best part is that they have a long-lasting shelf life with no refrigeration required. 

Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion both contain 14 live strains that I carefully selected to work together to support a healthy intestinal microecology for optimal bacteria balance. I specifically included Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains, which can help support healthy bowel function, particularly when antibiotics compromise your flora balance. This starin is particularly beneficial for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which 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 population with IBS.

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 without the need for refrigeration. Whereas Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion is available for those who cannot tolerate a high level of probiotics and provides an excellent maintenance dose.

SBO Probiotics

In our hyper-hygienic modern lives, we are over-sanitized and so far removed from the dirt that grows our food. 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.

Soil-based 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, making 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

There are certain situations where standard lactic-acid based or regular probiotics can actually cause more complications than they solve. SIBO, or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, is one of those situations.

SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine often caused by chronic constipation or challenges with the nervous system. Adding more lactic-acid based bacteria into the small intestine can often add more fuel to the fire. This is why I recommend a soil-based probiotic such as Primal Earth Probiotic. This may be more tolerable if you have SIBO, or suspect SIBO may be at the root cause of your issues.

Understanding the difference between regular and soil-based probiotics is the first step in determining which one is right for you. 

What Is the Best Probiotic for You?

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. I suggest adding a probiotic to support an optimal balance of synergistic bacteria to enhance your digestive health. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, both Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion and Probiotic Capsules 100 Billion contain 14 live strains that help support healthy bowel function. If you find it hard to tolerate a potent probiotic with high CFUs, then that’s where Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion may be right for you. Personally, I take Probiotic Capsules 30 Billion every day for my own gut maintenance. 

If you are dealing with a gut infection such as SIBO, soil-based or SBO probiotics such as Primal Earth Probiotic may be ideal to eliminate any overgrowth of bad bacteria. Since regular probiotics can often add more fuel to fire and contribute to overgrowth of both good and bad bacteria. By choosing soil-based like Primal Earth Probiotic, this may be far more tolerable because it does not add anymore bacteria into your small intestine. 

Regular and soil-based probiotics both support healthy digestion and synthesize essential vitamins. Each provides several benefits to maintaining a healthy microbiome and are recommended for daily intake. However, you must take the appropriate probiotic for your current condition. 

Article Sources

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  3. Is acne vulgaris more common in men or women?. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC. Medscape. 2020.
  4. Good Bacteria Vs. Bad Bacteria: How Bacteria Can Be Healthy Too!. John Staughton . Science ABC. 2019.
  5. Health benefits of taking probiotics. Harvard Medical School. 2020.
  6. What Are Probiotics?. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC. WebMD. 2020.
  7. Probiotics and immune health. John Staughton. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology Vol. 27,. 2011.
  8. Bowel Movements. Nutrition Facts. 2021.
  9. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020.
  10. Yoghurt. J. Buttriss. Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition, Second Edition. 2003.
  11. 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.