Probiotics: Lactobacillus and Soil Based Organism Supplements

What are Probiotics?Image of a bowl of yogurt with berries in it.

Probiotics are "good bacteria" that are the hallmark of a healthy gut. Probiotics is a Greek word meaning "for life," and we believe that supplying the body with probiotics is indeed necessary for a healthy life. These living microflora are responsible for a long list of health maintenance roles, most notably digestive regulation and immune support. It is believed that a healthy balance of good to bad gut bacteria is 85% to 15%. Since many chronic health conditions, stress, poor diet, and repeated, long-term exposure to particular medications can throw off this balance, doctors often recommend supplementing with probiotics in order to maintain good digestive health, prevent the growth of yeast, and support a healthy immune system.

It's a little-known fact that more than 80% of the human immune system is tucked neatly into the intestine. With the discovery of this information, medical science has really begun to grasp the importance of maintaining optimal intestinal function, a process that can be supported with probiotic supplementation. Major brands have even taken probiotics onto mainstream drug store shelves, though we only recommend certain probiotics that do not contain fillers or require refrigeration. Since Nourishing world is fully invested in bringing you the safest, most effective all-natural supplements, we have been hard at work coming up with a list of the best probiotic supplements for any health concern and patient.

Where do Probiotics come from?

Probiotics are naturally occurring in your gut and are present in a number of natural food sources. Common sources of probiotics are cultured foods such as kefir, yogurt with lactobacillus acidophilus, particular cheeses, and sauerkraut. Probiotics are also found in "good bacteria" in fermented foods such as natto, a Japanese bean dish that is rich in Bacillus Subtilis. Since it can be difficult to maintain optimal levels through diet alone, many people use probiotics supplements to regulate their digestive tract and promote regularity of bowel function. These probiotics supplements are found in capsule form as well as in proprietary blends of greens and protein powders.

What are the benefits of Probiotics?

Graphic image of little critters representing bacteria with the words

Probiotics can maximize the potential health benefits of food by supporting better nutrient absorption and bioavailability of vitamins and minerals in the gut. The research of Dr. Weston Price taught us about the complementary relationship shared by nutrition and overall health, which becomes even more obvious when looking at bacterial balance of the human digestive system. The Weston Price Foundation recommends Prescript Assist Probiotic.

When functioning properly, the digestive system helps maintain the balance of hormones and chemicals for the entire body. Probiotics ensure normal digestive motility, which has broad-reaching effects on energy level, resistance to viral illness, and even weight management. Probiotics support healthy digestion of food and proper, comfortable elimination of waste. There is even an important detoxifying effect of probiotics, as probiotic supplements help remove harmful toxins from the body and restore optimal enzyme production. This leaves the gastrointestinal tract clean, able to properly absorb nutrients, maintain a healthy pH balance, and able to support the natural immune defense mechanism.

Probiotics Can Potentially Improve Symptoms of:

  • Allergies
  • Food Sensitivities (Especially Dairy Intolerance)
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin Conditions such as Excema
  • Candida
  • Vaginitis
  • H. pylori Infections
  • IBS
  • Recurrent Ear Infections
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Viral Gastrointestinal Illness
  • GERD
  • Natural Flora Depletion caused by Antibiotic Use

Why would I need a probiotic supplement if I eat a balanced diet with plenty of yogurt?

Picture of different kinds of fermented food on a wooden table.

People knew about the importance of probiotics long before the invention of the probiotics supplement. Long ago, when raw, unpasteurized milk was the norm and every house had a Dutch oven full of sauerkraut sitting on the back burner, probiotics (specifically lactobacillus) were a regular part of everyday nutrition. Now, raw milk is rare if not illegal, and the traditional fermentation of foods has gone by the wayside in our fast-paced lifestyles. Since the modern diet has taken so many sharp turns, we have become accustomed to drinking chlorinated and fluorinated water, and the use of antibiotics is so prevalent in our medical culture, many doctors have found probiotics supplements to be a beneficial health tool for their patients.

So, if you are in an at-risk category for digestive health and already try to eat as many fermented foods and lactobacillus acidophilus-containing dairy products as you can, you will still benefit from adding a probiotics supplement to your daily regiment. Since lactobacillus loses its potency and effectiveness when it is heated, it is nearly impossible to get the same broad spectrum of probiotics bacteria from pasteurized dairy products as you can get from a whole-food supplement. Very few Americans have unrestricted access to a farmer willing to sell raw, unpasteurized milk. The concern for natural food sources is echoed for vegans and dairy allergy sufferers.

A large proponent of a dietary flora imbalance and the need for probiotic supplementation is due, in part, to the chlorination of our drinking water and overuse of antibiotics. Chlorination kills bacteria – good and bad – in the water supply and in turn kills bacteri – good and bad – in our digestive systems. The same rule apples to antibiotics, chemotherapy, and other broad-spectrum medications. As these powerful germ-fighting organisms kill off the harmful bacteria in our bodies, they upset the balance of natural bacteria and enzymes, leaving the body ill-prepared to defend itself.

Lactobacillus Acidophillus vs Soil Based Organism Probiotics

For centuries, the gold standard for probiotics was lactobacillus acidophilus. It was recommended in holistic health circles as well as mainstream medicine as a way to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria and aid digestion, especially for those recovering from illness who were in need of a "reboot." The downside to lactobacillus was, of course, its rather fragile state, which required refrigeration and optimal conditions during the manufacturing process. It is hard to maintain a potency level that can be guaranteed, but lactobacillus acidophilus stood in a category of its own for a long time.

In recent years, however, the Soil Based Organism strains of probiotics have emerged, and doctors are finding these strains to be worthy competitors of lactobacillus probiotics, especially for those who are unable to consume dairy products. Soil-based organisms, or SBOs, are spores and may be called spore-forming probiotics or spore-forming bacteria. Though they are not native to our digestive tract, they develop a symbiotic relationship once introduced and appear to be very beneficial.

While soil-based probiotics have not been known about for long, humans have been eating them as long as there have been humans! Ancient peoples used to get lots of SBOs in their diets naturally from eating vegetables, fruit, roots and anything they gathered. Pre-industrialized people worked and played in the dirt and ate freshly farmed food. With modern urbanization came a rise in processed food production, and the unrestrained use of pesticides has left our diets virtually devoid of these hardy, beneficial bacteria. Therefore, taking a soil-based probiotic supplement daily is a very good idea.

Probiotics are vitally important for everyone's digestion. We have found that there is an even greater need for probiotic supplements that are safe for both vegans and dairy allergy sufferers who are not exposed to lactobacillus acidophillus naturally through dairy consumption. Luckily, Nourishing World has a line of vegan-certified, non-dairy probiotics options, some that contain soil based organisms, and some with lactobacillus strains. Soil Based Organisms are even considered by some doctors to be a superior form of probiotic supplementation because bacteria derived from dairy products can degrade when exposed to stomach acid or left unrefrigerated, causing it to lose its potency when digested or sitting in storage. Laboratory evidence also suggests that Soil Based Organisms can be more easily absorbed by the intestines than lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics. We believe it is important to boost both kinds of probiotics, those native to our bodies as well as the soil-based, because they work so well together.

What Did Dr. Carolyn Dean and Dr. Mercola Really Say About Probiotics?

Dr. Carolyn Dean, The Doctor of the Future and respected author of IBS for Dummies, is an outspoken proponent of Soil Based Organism probiotic Prescript-Assist, a product of Safer Medical of Montana Inc. She admits that she never saw any benefit to taking probiotics and equated Soil Based Organism probiotics supplements to eating dirt on her popular blog post entitled "Take Soil-Based Probiotics and Eat Dirt." However, she reported that she was absolutely astounded by the results of a single dose of Prescript-Assist. She now strongly recommends Safer Medical's Prescript-Assist to anyone who will listen.

Dr. Mercola has repeatedly told his reading audience that daily supplements are unnecessary since they are no substitute for good nutrition, but makes an exception for a "high quality probiotic." Dr. Mercola even recommends probiotics to every one of his new patients, since he believes so strongly in the immune-boosting effectiveness of probiotics. His Complete Probiotics is a multi-strain probiotic supplement formulated to be shelf-stable and to withstand the acid and bile in the stomach so they make it all the way through to the intestines.

What did Dr. Carolyn Dean and Dr. Mercola Say to Consider When Choosing Probiotics?

Dr. Carolyn Dean adamantly recommended Prescript-Assist Prebiotic and Probiotic Blend to anyone in need of a high-quality probiotic because of its effectiveness, stability, and safety even for those with allergen sensitivities.

Dr. Mercola suggests asking:

  • What strain of healthy bacteria is in the probiotic?
  • Does the probiotic require refrigeration?
  • What is the shelf life of the probiotic?
  • Will the probiotic stay in the digestive tract long enough to colonize?

What are the Side Effects of Probiotics?

Natural probiotics are inherently safe, so we very rarely hear about any potential side effects of probiotics supplements. Sometimes, a person recovering from a gastrointestinal illness who takes probiotics to restore natural gut flora will experience abdominal pain, gas, and digestive irritability as the system is recolonized and balance is restored. This effect can be lessened by starting with a smaller dose and gradually increasing the probiotic dosage.

What Are the Dosage Recommendations for Probiotics?

It can take some time to figure out the probiotics dosage that will best suit your age, needs, and desired result. Some people start a probiotics regiment in response to an illness, while others take a daily probiotic for digestive maintenance. A maintenance dosage is obviously much lower than an illness-treating probiotic recolonization. There are also many different probiotic strains, each with its own niche in the digestive system. These probiotic strains are available from many different brands, whose varying potency will affect dosage recommendations. A startling discovery of a recent Consumer Lab study was that, although most labels report a potency, the product may degrade over time in storage and when exposed to varying climate changes. Therefore, it's important to choose a probiotic supplement that is temperature-stable and comes from a reputable source.

Depending on the product, a probiotic dosage can be anywhere from one to ten billion CFUs. For digestive tract maintenance, the average dosage recommendation is a probiotic with one to two million CFUs. For illness-related probiotic recolonization, the recommendation is much higher, up to ten million CFUs a day for a period of up to two weeks.

Does Nourishing World Recommend a Lactobacillus Probiotics or Soil Based Organism Supplement?

We recommend taking both! We have an entire line of digestive supplements, liver detoxification aids, and probiotics that are safe, effective, and of course, all-natural. 

Top Soil-Based & Spore Forming Probiotics
Picture of a bottle of Thrive Probiotics, Prescript-Assist Probiotics and LateroFlora Probiotics on a dirt background with garden tools on boths sides to look like a fork and spoon.

Prescript-Assist by Safer Medical of Montana Inc

Prescript Assist is a soil based organism prebiotic probiotic blend backed by more than five years of doctor-led laboratory studies. The shelf life is more than two years from the date of manufacture. The soil based organisms found in Prescript-Assist have been proven to outperform Lactobacillus and are safe for Vegans and dairy allergy sufferers.

Prescript-Assist, Buy Now
29 Strains of beneficial microflora ~ 65 million micro-organisms in each 620mg capsule
60 or 90 count bottles
No Fillers ~ No Flow Agents

Just Thrive Probiotic & Antioxidant

Just Thrive is a spore-forming prebiotic, probiotic blend formulated to flourish in the digestive tract for their entire 21 day life cycle. This means they have time to colonize in the gut, and assist restoring digestive bacteria and immune balance. 

Just Thrive, Buy Now
4 Strains of beneficial microflora ~ 3 billion cells in each 500 mg capsule
30 count bottle
No Fillers ~ No Flow Agents

Latero Flora by Global Healing Center

Latero Flora is a Bacillus laterosporus probiotic strain that comes from a soil based organism. It does not require refrigeration and has a shelf life of at least two years. Latero Flora is proven to survive the HCL in the stomach and make its way to the intestine. The recommended dosage is 2 capsules per day for treatment of illness or 1 capsule per day for digestive maintenance.

Latero Flora, Buy Now
1 Unique strain of microflora ~ minimum of 1 million microorganisms in each 2 capsule serving
60 count bottle
No Fillers ~ No Flow Agents




Top Traditional Probiotics

Mercola Complete Probiotics is an award-winning Lactobacillus acidophilus prebiotic, probiotic blend. An all-natural probiotic, it is made in the USA with certified Good Manufacturing Practices. It is shelf-stable for up to two years and 90% resistant to bile and acid breakdown.

Mercola Complete Probiotics, Buy Now
10 Strains of beneficial microflora ~ 70 billion CFU per 2 capsule serving
60 or 180 count bottles
No Fillers ~ No Flow Agents

by Colleen Russell & Kerrie Bross