The explosion in probiotic supplements means more people are taking gut health seriously.
Which is good.
But what many people don’t know is that the hypey marketing claims of supplement companies are a loooong way ahead of the science.
In today’s video I reveal why.
I also reveal:
– What Dr. Michael McCann said about probiotics that left an audience of leading health experts stunned
– Why the rapid rise in the popularity of probiotics isn’t ALL good news (and what to eat instead to boost healthy bacteria)
– What led Russian scientist Ellie Mechnikov to the discovery of probiotics 100 years ago (and won a Nobel prize in the process)
“Probiotics will be to medicine in the twenty-first century as antibiotics and microbiology were in the twentieth century.”
This was Dr. Michael McCann’s bold declaration at a conference on the latest breakthroughs in immunity science at Georgetown University.
Was he right?
Do probiotics herald a huge shift in modern healthcare?
Or are they just a cash cow for supplement companies?
It’s an important question I will answer in today’s video.
Because you’ve probably heard tons about probiotics in recent years.
Celebrities like Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow have helped spread awareness on their benefits.
And they’ve rapidly grown from a celebrity trend into the mainstream.
The good news is this means more people realize that the gut is the core of all health in the body.
And more people are taking steps to gain a more diverse gut microbiome.
The bad news is there’s been a glut of probiotic supplements flooding the market.
They’re sold with Big claims.
And an even BIGGER price tag.
But with very little proof.
On the labels they boast of how many bacteria strains have been crammed into a single pill.
And how many colony forming units they have.
But with little to no regulation on how they’re made and promoted, how these numbers relate to gut health is weak, at best.
But the lack of scientific evidence hasn’t stopped sales QUADRUPLING in just ten years.
And four million US adults now take probiotics daily.
Mainstream medicine is showing interest in probiotics too.
The National Institutes of Health has reported that almost 1000 human clinical trials are ongoing into their health benefits.
But as yet, there are no firm conclusions.
And one shocking Israeli study found they may not work at all.
I’ll share what they discovered that could threaten the massive profits of the probiotic supplement companies in a minute.
First, allow me to quickly talk about what are probiotics exactly and how they work.
Probiotics were first discovered over 100 years ago by the Russian scientist Ellie Mechnikov.
He was amazed at how Bulgarian peasants enjoyed such robust health and long lifespans.
So he analyzed their diets.
And he noticed they ate large amounts of fermented yogurt.
After examining the contents of this yogurt, he made a discovery that not only won him a Nobel Prize but revolutionised gut health science.
Because in the yogurt he found strains of bacteria.
And that these bacteria were the secret to the remarkable health of Bulgarian peasants.
We now know these healthy bacteria as probiotics.
And we also know that they play a pivotal role in the absorption of nutrients, creating hormones that control all sorts of complex biological processes, and supporting our immune systems.
We also know that sustaining high levels of healthy bacteria is vital to stop the bad bacteria taking control and wrecking havoc to our guts.
Well, boosting levels of healthy bacteria is exactly what probiotic supplements are designed to do.
They’re like parachuting in good bacteria to colonise and repopulate the gut.
But like I said, the science has yet to match the huge marketing claims of supplement makers.
And no wonder.
The gut is incredibly complex, and even harder to study.
We’re only at the cusp of understanding how it works.
And the science on probiotic supplements is a long way behind.
Ever since probiotic supplements were launched, skeptics have questioned whether they survive in the gut long enough to work.
Because to reach the lower intestine where the microbiome is found, they have to survive a long, harsh journey.
First they have to take a bath in stomach acid.
Then they’re drenched in gastric juices.
and then they get pounded by the kidneys.
Then even if they survive this journey, they have to find space in the gut to colonise.
But the microbes already living there aren’t about to give up living space easily.
Some may even be hostile.
So the chances of probiotic supplements working seem slim.
It’s like sending a team of explorers into the darkest depths of the Amazon jungle.
Their numbers soon get depleted by malaria, exhaustion, and dangerous wildlife until only a few are left.
Even then, they have to find somewhere to camp in hostile territory.
And when you also consider that probiotic supplements have to survive at least 6 hours to colonize your guts, it’s no wonder many doubt they work at all.
This includes Dr. Mike Varshavski who said:
“My recommendation when it comes to probiotic supplements is that the average healthy person should not be taking a daily probiotic. It hasn’t been proven to give enough benefit to warrant the risks, and especially spending money on a supplement that may not give you any benefit whatsoever.”
While Matthew Ciorba, a gastroenterologist at Washington University in St. Louis, said in an interview with Scientific American that,
“probiotics are pure hype. The majority of studies to date have failed to reveal any benefits in individuals who are already healthy.”
That’s a pretty scathing assessment.
And his remarks are now backed by two recent studies by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.
In the first study, 19 volunteers took a probiotic supplement containing 11 strains of “good” bacteria.
A tube shaped video camera called an “endoscope” was then pushed down their throat and into their gut.
When the camera reached their small intestine, the researchers saw something that could spell disaster for the profits of probiotic supplement companies.
That only 8 of the 19 showed any evidence they’d taken a probiotic.
In fact, MOST of the evidence was in the toilet bowl afterwards.
Study author Eran Segal said in a statement. “The benefits of the standard probiotics we all take can’t be as universal as we once thought.”
The second study they did was even more alarming.
This study was designed to see if probiotics can repopulate the gut after a dose of antibiotics.
Because like I said in yesterday’s video.
Taking antibiotics is like setting off a nuclear bomb in your gut.
They INCINERATE all the bacteria that’s down there, both the good and the bad.
The participants in the second study had all recently taken a course of antibiotics.
And after they were given a probiotic supplement, their intestines were analyzed.
But this time, with NO OTHER bacteria to stop them the probiotics DID manage to stay in the gut long enough to colonize it.
BUT there was an unintended consequence.
The probiotics in pill form STOPPED naturally grown bacteria from returning.
Is it healthy to have guts filled with bacteria grown from a pill?
We don’t yet know.
But having only 11 strains is likely to spell trouble down the road.
So based on these two studies, the skeptics have been right all along:
Most probiotic supplements are NOT a miracle cure for gut health.
They’re just a great way of making expensive pee.
So that’s the bad news.
The good news is there’s no need to waste money on supplements to revitalise your gut health.
Because you can Gain All the Probiotics You Need from FOOD.
This is why I created my Ultimate Probiotic Smoothie recipe.
Because it enables you to get a daily dose of probiotics in a natural form that’s absorbed by the gut.
And in higher quantities than most supplements.
Because my smoothie contains 30 strains of probiotics, whereas most supplements contain only 5 or 6.
It ALSO contains prebiotics and digestive enzymes in their most natural form.
These are just as vital for gut health.
And in tomorrow’s video I’m going to explain why.
And what foods are potent sources of these nutrients.
So, that brings us to the end of today’s video on probiotics.
And why they’re more marketing hype than proven science.
Let me know in the comments if you found this video helpful.
If you have any questions, post those too.
And I’ll answer as many as I can before tomorrow’s video as we continue to day 4 of the Ultimate Probiotic Smoothie program.
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