What to consider when choosing probiotic supplements | Jed Fahey

[Jed]: This whole issue of probiotics… [Rhonda]: Yes. That was going to be my next question. That would be interesting to view. [Jed]: Well, it’s fascinating. You know, in Europe, there is a lot, I think
the regulatory climate in Europe for probiotics is a bit more receptive than in the U.S. You probably know more about it than I do. But I know that the use of probiotics seems
to be increasing in the U.S., and studies by those who are expert in the field of probiotics
are mixed. [Rhonda]: Well, it’s the same case as the
glucoraphanin sulforaphane supplements. A lot of the probiotics in the market, there
is a lot of dead bacteria in them… [Jed]: A lot of garbage, yeah. [Rhonda]: …a lot of garbage. I mean, this is ubiquitous in all supplement. You know, I think there was even a study showing
something like 70% of, like, a lot of these supplements on the market are not actually
what they say they are, they don’t have the concentrations they say. But, yeah, I think that there is a lot of
mixed data and that comes down to not having quality probiotics and also the numbers. That’s another problem, too low numbers of….
[Jed]: Right, 10 billion per… [Rhonda]: Yeah, that’s nothing. You know, it’s like a drop in the pool. It’s not going to even move the needle. But there is a probiotic out there that I’ve
seen at least two dozen publications including clinical trials in humans and then there’s
more mechanistic studies in animals using VSL number three. It’s called, they’re sachets and they have
450 billion probiotics per sachet and they have a mixture of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
and some other ones but showing efficacy in treating IBS, Crohn’s. You know, so I think you can find quality
probiotics, but it’s just, again, it’s the same thing that you’ve seen in your field,
is finding the right one. [Jed]: Absolutely. I think the issue of the numbers of cells,
I mean, to a non-scientist consumer, “billions” sounds like a huge number. Well, yeah, it is, but it’s still…you know,
you can fit a billion bacteria on a pin, probably, well, maybe a teaspoon. Anyway, the issue there, though, is a lot
of the issue is survival. So if you boast about having billions of bacterial
cells of a certain type in yogurt, for example, and you’re not on proton pump inhibitors,
so you have an acid stomach and you send that yogurt through your stomach, how many of those
bacteria actually make it through the acid environment of the stomach? So, I mean, people have studied that certainly,
but there are studies, as you say, with a small number of specific strains showing effects. I think some of the more striking effects
have to do with childhood diarrhea and there are even studies showing effects on asthma. [Rhonda]: Effects on the brain. It’s incredible. [Jed]: Yeah. So I’m absolutely a believer that what’s goes
on in the gut matters to the rest of the body. There is no question about it. I think, as you say, a lot of the studies
suffer from the fact that what’s being given probably couldn’t have been expected to be
efficacious anyway because it just died or didn’t get there. But speaking of probiotics, wouldn’t it be
cool if someone came up with a myrosinase containing strain and put it in a probiotic
formulation so that you could take that along with your cruciferous vegetables? [Rhonda]: So cool. [Jed]: I believe that there are companies
that are working on that now because certainly, it’s well enough known what strains of bacteria
have myrosinase activity. There may be issues of getting that activity
maintained when you grow up vats full of bacteria to freeze-dry them, to put them in a formulation. But I hope it’s only a matter of time before
we see formulations that contain myrosinase and that are safe. I mean, obviously, safety of these probiotic
formulations is something that is a concern to the regulators and it should be. So we’ll see. I don’t think we’re quite there, but I hope
we are getting there.

4 Replies to “What to consider when choosing probiotic supplements | Jed Fahey”

  1. Watch the full episode:

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  2. Independent laboratory analysis and quality ranking of commercial probiotics: https://labdoor.com/rankings/probiotics/quality

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