ZBMD BLOG

Supplementation

What often comes in a bottle on the shelf today is something mother nature likely has had an anecdote for (and has for years). The convenience of popping the latest probiotic overrides our intrinsic healing ability and intelligence that can be found right outside our door.

Widespread acceptance of the probiotic industry has been backed by very little science, and essentially no knowledge on the consequences of long term use (many consumers having been on probiotics for decades now).

The therapeutic limitations and potential damage probiotics can do to the biodiversity of the gut microbiome has been raising concerns among the science community in recent years.

As the extraordinary scale and importance of diversity of the human gut microbiome comes to light, so does the painfully obvious reality of how far we have missed the mark with probiotics.

As a physician and scientist who has been constantly and passionately exploring the science of nutrition and depths of the microbiome for over a decade, and steeped in the miraculous nature of the microbiome, I have for many years been teaching physicians and patients to avoid recommending probiotics as a daily or chronic component of a supplement regimen.

The highly complex human microbiome is a natural extension of the macroecosystem that we interact with on a daily basis (which is composed of tens of thousands of bacterial species, hundreds of thousands of species of parasites, over five million species of fungi, and innumerable viral species). And it has been estimated the optimal healthy human gut should contain between 20,000 and 30,000 species of bacteria. Variety is key. The greater the diversity, the healthier the microbiome.

The issue I have with our current approach to probiotic use is that it is doing on a microscopic level what crop monoculture is doing in agriculture: favoring a relatively small number of species at the expense of ecosystem diversity. A typical probiotic supplement delivers 35 billion to 50 billion CFUs of just a few species. While some products contain up to 24 species of bacteria, that’s still a far cry from the diversity that we know to be optimally healthy. Giving 35 billion copies of the same bacteria over and over again in the gut is absolutely creating monoculture. You might call them “good bacteria,” but if you’re using them chronically, you could create real problems.

What I’m saying is, we need to stop trying to micromanage the gut. It is important for you to start backing off, to let the carbon redox system (the communication system between the bacteria in the gut) reestablish a healthy balance in the gut.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO POPULATE YOUR GUT WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF STRAINS OF HEALTHY BACTERIA, FAR MORE THAN ANY PACKAGED VERSION YOU FIND AT THE STORE…

  • Breathe in diverse air. Explore, travel, breathe in as many environments as you can
  • Walk barefoot on the earth
  • Pet your dog
  • Eat low on the food chain, directly from your garden if you can
  • Eat wild fermented foods – wild fermentation is a simple process we use from ancient traditions:
    – Create your own salt water brine
    – Put in your shredded vegetable (turnip, cabbage, etc)
    – Cover the pot with a terry cloth
    – Allow for all sorts of microbiome from the environment to seed that fermentation process.You end up with hundreds and even thousands of species breaking down that sauerkraut and you’ve enriched your gut with this natural gold.
  • ION*Biome – Mother nature’s solution to the toxin we’ve put into the world