5

votes

Aren't Probiotics useless?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 01, 2013 at 10:52 AM

As we all know many people claim that probiotics are very useful and I do believe in this however the methods of the delivery of probiotics are very questionable. Most of the gut flora is located in the large intestine AKA the colon. The probiotic capsules cannot make it to the large intestine intact I do not know of any single delivery mechanism capable of this. Therefore most of the bacteria in the probiotcs is released into the small intestine which may even cause SIBO. Many probiotic companies even claim that they have different strains of probiotics and certain strains do belong in the small intestine. But once the capsule is released into intestine the bacteria cannot choose where it is released. Can someone speculate on this?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2013
at 02:53 PM

Like everything N=1 is what matters. I've got a healthy gut (in my opinion) so I don't take probiotics. There is a lot of supplementation going on in the paleosphere, but that's what separates paleo from whole-foods diets - it's taking a whole-foods diet and tweaking (hacking) it to eke the most performance out of it. Arguably, paleo is not natural, and that's fine!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 11:42 PM

I've been taking probiotics for over a year, and 150-250g of whole milk kefir per day for a few months. Haven't noticed any difference compared to the paleo diet I was on prior to them.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 11:40 PM

Insurance isn't, but where do you draw that line? Dosing on C/D/K, adding selenium, zinc, magnesium, probiotics, CLO, etc. The whole point of paleo diet is that we shouldn't need all that if we eat properly, yet much of the discussions here and elsewhere in the paleosphere is about supplementation. There must be a limit drawn somewhere; we can't apply insurance everywhere for financial reasons alone.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on January 01, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Wisper, yeah it may not be relevant. One of the chemos given was a super-antibiotic - Adriamycin - known informally as The Red Devil. I expect I'm repopulating my gut flora from a more extreme starting place than some. So while I get benefit, probiotics might be more subtle in someone not having been through a major antibiotic recently. Also, except for sensation in my abdomen and output which are mostly subjective measures, I have no way of addressing the OP's question about whether the probiotics make it to the lower gut.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 01, 2013
at 08:41 PM

A healthy person by definition shouldn't need probiotics - everything should be all in order down there. The question is, how do you know? It's akin to taking a multivitamin almost, you should eat all your nutrients, but a little insurance isn't awful.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:44 PM

I get that. Although the OP asked whether probiotics even survive, but I think the better question is whether probiotics in pill or "natural" form are a useful supplement for normal, healthy people. Perhaps a separate question is necessary as the responses aren't addressing that at all, and only talking about outlier cases or matters which I find largely peripheral.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:41 PM

It's not only n=1, but it's also a very rare outlier case in a very specific situation. I don't mean to discount what you're going through, though; all the best, and speedy recovery! What I mean is that your experience might not be at all relevant to the rest of us.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:04 PM

I'm saying our bodies and probiotic bacteria aren't helpless. Our bodies don't want bacterial growth in the upper GI, and nor do the bacteria want to set up shop under such conditions. That's the norm. Of course, there are broken people, with screwed up immune systems, screwed up digestive systems that let bacterial growth happen out of their normal place. That's dysfunction, the exception to the rule.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 06:43 PM

Getting upvotes, but still doesn't even begin to answer the question whether they are useful or not.

9adbf19e76ac38da796f29302c4be90a

(209)

on January 01, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Thank you for your post and sharing your experience. I wish you health and happiness in the new year.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 01:13 PM

I added probiotics and lately kefir to my diet, and haven't seen any impact one way or the other. Good question, would like to hear some research backing any fuzzy claims from the probotics industry or pro-kefir people.

  • Size75 avatar

    asked by

    (91)
  • Views
    3.6K
  • Last Activity
    1254D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

7
94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on January 01, 2013
at 03:43 PM

My n=1: I finished up 6 months of chemo in November. During chemo I had typical issues and then some with my GI system. My guts would vacillate from constipation to explosive diarrhea. At one point, my MO (medical oncologist) recommended I take a probiotic. It totally worked. I was somewhat skeptical before and now I'm not.

I recently purchased a Garden of Life probiotic for women 50+ (I'm not quite there but close enough...) that's refrigerated and has kefir strains in it. My lower gut felt a little uncomfortable when I took it but not bad and my intestines haven't been irregular either way with it. I stopped the GoL probiotic because I'm still doing radiation and there's a suggestion from a study that kefir strains may "protect cells against cell death caused by radiation damage, raising the possibility that it will lessen the cytotoxic impact of radiation on breast cancer cells." So I went back to a basic lactobacillus probiotic maybe once every other day, I also eat yogurt a couple of times a week. I'll take the GoL again after I'm done with radiation.

I'm also currently on an estrogen uptake inhibitor that has a classic side effect of constipating patients. My MO was surprised I'm not constipated by it but I reminded him he got me started on probiotics.

94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on January 01, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Wisper, yeah it may not be relevant. One of the chemos given was a super-antibiotic - Adriamycin - known informally as The Red Devil. I expect I'm repopulating my gut flora from a more extreme starting place than some. So while I get benefit, probiotics might be more subtle in someone not having been through a major antibiotic recently. Also, except for sensation in my abdomen and output which are mostly subjective measures, I have no way of addressing the OP's question about whether the probiotics make it to the lower gut.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:41 PM

It's not only n=1, but it's also a very rare outlier case in a very specific situation. I don't mean to discount what you're going through, though; all the best, and speedy recovery! What I mean is that your experience might not be at all relevant to the rest of us.

9adbf19e76ac38da796f29302c4be90a

(209)

on January 01, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Thank you for your post and sharing your experience. I wish you health and happiness in the new year.

4
874ff271ca3379984344d5f9f760fec3

on January 01, 2013
at 12:16 PM

Most probiotics DO seem useless. I recently took a doctors advice which took me to the refrigerated section of the health food store. Two very specific types which I would have never normally spent that much money on...WORKED! Without a doubt.

There is always Fecal bacteriotherapy.

3
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 01, 2013
at 02:51 PM

Step back, the most fundamental probiotics are foods. Does it make sense than probiotic supplements cannot deliver their 'payloads' to where the belong, but probiotic foods can? SIBO results because of a dysfunction that allows to bacteria to propagate/colonize where they shouldn't.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 06:43 PM

Getting upvotes, but still doesn't even begin to answer the question whether they are useful or not.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:04 PM

I'm saying our bodies and probiotic bacteria aren't helpless. Our bodies don't want bacterial growth in the upper GI, and nor do the bacteria want to set up shop under such conditions. That's the norm. Of course, there are broken people, with screwed up immune systems, screwed up digestive systems that let bacterial growth happen out of their normal place. That's dysfunction, the exception to the rule.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 07:44 PM

I get that. Although the OP asked whether probiotics even survive, but I think the better question is whether probiotics in pill or "natural" form are a useful supplement for normal, healthy people. Perhaps a separate question is necessary as the responses aren't addressing that at all, and only talking about outlier cases or matters which I find largely peripheral.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 01, 2013
at 08:41 PM

A healthy person by definition shouldn't need probiotics - everything should be all in order down there. The question is, how do you know? It's akin to taking a multivitamin almost, you should eat all your nutrients, but a little insurance isn't awful.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 11:40 PM

Insurance isn't, but where do you draw that line? Dosing on C/D/K, adding selenium, zinc, magnesium, probiotics, CLO, etc. The whole point of paleo diet is that we shouldn't need all that if we eat properly, yet much of the discussions here and elsewhere in the paleosphere is about supplementation. There must be a limit drawn somewhere; we can't apply insurance everywhere for financial reasons alone.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on January 02, 2013
at 02:53 PM

Like everything N=1 is what matters. I've got a healthy gut (in my opinion) so I don't take probiotics. There is a lot of supplementation going on in the paleosphere, but that's what separates paleo from whole-foods diets - it's taking a whole-foods diet and tweaking (hacking) it to eke the most performance out of it. Arguably, paleo is not natural, and that's fine!

3
9adbf19e76ac38da796f29302c4be90a

on January 01, 2013
at 02:07 PM

I agree with the sentiment that probiotics may not be beneficial to everyone, but if you have GI issues they could help. My friend is a cancer survivor who had her GI re-sectioned and I can tell you in my N=1 experience it has been very helpful to her. So helpful in fact that she makes her own kambucha at home.

1
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 01, 2013
at 08:09 PM

I don't think probiotics are for everyone. They are needed for people with gut dysbiosis (GAPS strongly encourages taking Bio-kult).

However, they are counterproductive and can backfire for people with gastroparesis. For SIBO with impaired gut motility the research is inconclusive. They help some, they hurt some. Two cases of complete recoveries that I know of had no probiotics in their diet, in fact, they strongly advise against any probiotics.

I think probiotic foods are much more nutritious and effective than probiotics.

Are probiotic foods for everyone? Again, I am not convinced. Sure, I know that Paleo people had germs and bacteria everywhere, but I have a hard time seeing a hunter gatherer woman making fermenting foods. It is more a Neolithic invention, and the primary purpose is to preserve food/extend expiration date/ and maximize nutritional value. I would assume that fresh food would be more beneficial for that simple reason that we are more adapted to eating fresh things.

I could be mistaken though, I don't have all the evidence. I assume that for a healthy human beings probiotic foods would be helpful, but again, I do not have any research to back it up.

I would LOVE to see some accounts of people who were taking probiotics and what effect it had on them. I know that some people swear by goat kefir and water kefir.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 01, 2013
at 11:42 PM

I've been taking probiotics for over a year, and 150-250g of whole milk kefir per day for a few months. Haven't noticed any difference compared to the paleo diet I was on prior to them.

0
62fafa8cb15af7c562fa8c270f7b6174

on January 01, 2013
at 06:50 PM

The main function of 'pro-biotics' seems to be as an 'anti-biotics' that drive out unwanted gut-flora. They may make nutrients more bio-available before they pass entirely through the small intestine, but I'm not sure. You won't find any research that can tell you what your own SCOBY is actually doing there on your kitchen shelf. After about a year of drinking a pint of raw-milk kefir every day, I'm putting it in cold storage. N=1

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!