Are Soil-Based Probiotics Better? Here's what you need to know!
As more people become aware of the importance of gut health, probiotics have become a popular way to improve digestive function and support overall well-being.
While many different types of probiotics are available, soil-based probiotics have gained popularity in recent years.
But are soil-based probiotics really better than the others? In this article, we'll explore the benefits and drawbacks of soil-based probiotics, and how to get them naturally.
I'm Ashley Oswald I'm a registered dietitian, and founder of Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help people improve and eliminate bothersome gut issues like diarrhea and/or constipation.
So this topic is right up our alley. And I can't wait to discuss it with you about it.
So let's just go ahead and dive right in.
What is a Probiotic?
Let's start out by talking about what is a probiotic?
The world health organization defined a probiotic in 2002 as any microorganism that when provided in adequate amounts, confers a health benefit to the host.
So in layman's terms, it basically means if you take enough of the probiotic, that it's going to have a potential health benefit to you, or it's at least been shown to have a health benefit to somebody or in studies.
Per the research, probiotics can provide a range of benefits, including improved digestion, stronger immune function, and even mental health benefits. Research has shown that probiotics can help improve the symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and allergies.
Probiotics are often referred to as "good" bacteria, as they help maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut, and they are found naturally in some foods, such as yogurt and kefir, and are also available in supplement form.
One strain of soil-based probiotics that has gained particular attention is Bacillus subtilis CBM 588.
This strain has been shown to support healthy immune function and improve gut barrier function. It has also been shown to have antibacterial properties, which may help reduce the risk of infection.
Soil-based probiotics versus the others
Soil-based probiotics and regular probiotics are both marketed as supplements that can help support gut health and boost the immune system. However, there are some key differences between the two that are worth considering.
Soil-based probiotics are derived from soil, which is rich in a diverse range of microorganisms. These probiotics typically contain strains of bacteria that are not commonly found in the human gut.
Regular probiotics, on the other hand, are typically derived from the human gut and can easily be found in a variety of fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, real sauerkraut, and more.
One of the potential advantages of soil-based probiotics is that they are typically more resistant to things like heat, acid, and your gut environment, meaning that they are more likely to make it to your large intestine without getting damaged. And more likely to take hold in your gut. This is why they have become a popular talking point lately.
However, it's important to note that soil-based probiotics may not be suitable for everyone. People with compromised immune systems or certain medical conditions may be advised to avoid these types of probiotics.
Regular probiotics, on the other hand, have a long history of use in traditional medicine and are generally considered safe for most people. They are also available in a wider variety of strains and formulations, which can be helpful for targeting specific health concerns because we have more research available.
Ultimately, whether you choose a soil-based probiotic or a regular probiotic will depend on your individual needs and preferences. It will depend upon what you've tried before, and weighing the potential benefits to potential risks of trying a soil based probiotic for your current health symptoms and concerns.
This is becuase, the reality is, that we only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the microbiota in our guts (large community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and more).
So, we can take an educated guess as to what type of probiotic might be best for one person based upon the research, but we must also monitor symptom improvement and possibly labs, to understand how this probiotic is working for the individual.
It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen and to choose a reputable brand that has been tested for purity and potency, which we will discuss next.
Soil based probiotics are often easiest to purchase in supplement form, but you can find some in fermented foods as well, such as in GTs kombucha which contains Bacillus coagulant GBI-30, 6086.
What should you keep in mind when you're buying any probiotic?
When you're looking at a probiotic and you see on the label, you should see Genus species strain.
So for example, you would see on the label Clostridium butyricum CBM 588. This is actually a specific soil-based probiotic that's been known to help increase butyrate production in the gut, and that butyrate's that really powerful, anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acid that we've talked about in other blogs and videos.
So for someone that is having a difficult time increasing their butyrate production, this soil based probiotic could be a good option, because it might be more likely to adhere to this person's gut than non-soil-based probiotics might.
Why is it important to see the genus, species, and strain on the bottle?
It's important so we can understand what research has been done on this one specifically.
It's because if, for example, you only see Clostridium butyricum, we wouldn't know for sure if this is the same strain researched and found to improve butyrate production.
And so the research in "are soil-based probiotics good or bad"
It really comes down to the type that you're going to be taking, and the research that we have behind that type, because some of them, yes, we have some proven potential benefits, but others we don't.
We also need to know more about you, and whether this might be a good fit to trial to see if it might help your specific symptoms and health challenges.
And so when we come back up to the big picture, soil-based probiotics versus non-soil-based, it's really not as simple as saying, which is better, because you have to get down into the weeds a bit to say, Hey, would this specific genus species strain, be good for this specific issue.
So it's all personalized nutrition, right? It's what we do at our clinic.
For example, say a client is coming in with Crohn's disease. We can say, okay. So this is what the research is that we have on probiotics for Crohn's disease. And then decide for that particular person, because sometimes there are other challenges or symptoms going on. Might this be potentially beneficial? And should we try it?
Further, there are a lot of limitations to doing probiotic research, because as you might have learned in our other topics, even just changing the foods that we eat can change the type of microbiota or the bugs, in our gut. So there are a lot of variables that need to be accounted for in probiotic research, and it's nearly impossible, if not impossible, to control for everything. Even stress can affect the types of bacteria in our gut!
So if you are eating the standard American processed eating plan for a week, and then all of a sudden you switch all over to a real whole foods eating plan, your gut bacteria are going to change because of that within a day or two.
So next let's talk about whether Are they safe?
So there are a few things we want to talk about here. The first thing is you want to trust the company you're buying from and you want to look into where are they sourcing this probiotic from and what are their manufacturing methods.
And then also what's the research they really have on the strain. So genus species strain that letter-number like the CVM 855, what research do they have? Because there are a lot of companies out there making really over-exaggerated claims on the probiotic they're trying to sell for obvious reasons.
And then the next thing is if you are somebody who's considering this is immunocompromised, maybe they're on have like IBD, on certain medications, or they're struggling with cancer, or they have really extreme kind of intestinal permeability gut issues, you're going to want to avoid supplementing with probiotics because there are case reports of people dying from supplementation of probiotics, even food-based forms like kombucha when their immune system is that compromised.
And then lastly, sometimes these products on the shelves have inactive ingredients. So it's not the probiotic in them, but it's the other ingredients that you might know this exacerbates, your symptoms make your symptoms worse.
So for example, some of them have lactose in them. And if you're sensitive to lactose, or have lactose intolerance, it can make your symptoms worse. Or there might be a prebiotic in it. But because of where your gut is, you're just not able to tolerate that. And you notice that you get worsening of the gas and bloat that you're struggling with. So just be aware of that.
So what to do?
If you want to get the benefits of soil-based probiotics without taking supplements, there are a few natural ways to do so.
Get outside and walk in the soil. Spending time outdoors and getting your hands dirty can expose you to a range of soil-based microorganisms.
While you don't want to go overboard and expose yourself to potentially harmful bacteria, spending time in nature can provide a natural dose of soil-based probiotics.
Buy local organic produce or from farmers that you trust. Organic farmers are more likely to use natural soil amendments such as compost, which can contain soil-based microorganisms.
Eat fermented foods that contain soil-based probiotics. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir can all contain soil-based probiotics. These foods are a delicious way to get a dose of probiotics while also enjoying the flavor and texture of fermented foods.
You just need like a tablespoon a few times a day of different fermented foods to get trillions of bacteria and probiotics.
And so I hope this topic helps clear up the conversation of soil-based probiotics versus other probiotics for you.
So thank you, everybody. I hope you're having a great day and I'll see you on the next topic.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH