How I Got Started In The Probiotic Business by Marcus Antebi
When I started Juice Press, my dear friend and mentor Fred Bisci got me on an accelerated learning curve. He gave me bits of information that were very simple to follow. It’s as if I had a laser to cut through all the misinformation perpetuated in the health and wellness industry. Fred epitomizes the best of that industry; he’s a highly educated man with a Staten Island nutritional practice. Now 90 years old, he has been 100% raw vegan for over 53 years. He’s done two 40-day water fasts and much, much more to push his own body to its limits. He’s a ravenous consumer of knowledge and a great “test pilot” in the field.
Fred told me that if I was going to offer a juice cleanse as a product I needed to have an accompanying probiotic, and I hadn’t even heard of probiotics until Fred mentioned them. He told me of his favorite probiotic, but unfortunately it cost users $25 per day. I was offering it to Juice Press customers, and it was probably the most expensive probiotic on the market.
Some of it sold, but in the long run it was just too expensive for that time, even though its efficacy was amazing. Moreover, the vendor wouldn’t disclose the probiotic's source, scientific data about it, or where it was manufactured. So I couldn’t continue to market that product because of the lack of transparency.
Soon afterwards, though, my business partner sourced this extremely effective probiotic from Bulgaria—one of the capitals of probiotic science. We then did extensive testing on the product, which had been on the market as a starter culture to make yogurt. It was purely natural and 100% vegan. We even had Harvard University do some studies on it: Harvard has been researching probiotics for decades and they have one of the best probiotic research facilities in the world. You can read the Harvard paper about this particular probiotic at this link: READ PAPER
I’m able to teach the general consumer who doesn’t want to or need to understand molecular science how to understand probiotics using a very basic lesson. If you could put on special glasses with enough magnification to show you bacteria, you’d see an infinite number of them moving in all directions and covering endless amounts of space. On your own body, you’d see that you are 89% bacteria surrounded by 11% human cells—an astounding statistic.
We’ve been raised to believe that bacteria are inherently a bad thing, but that is misinformation. Our planet is made up of both good and bad bacteria types. And as a living organism, you have an immune system, and it acts as a defense designed to keep out or subdue hostile invaders. It’s a battle—one that rages on from the moment you enter your mother’s womb until you take your last breath.
There are an infinite number of ways that bacteria can enter your body in addition to ingesting food and water. Since your nose and mouth are the primary entryways for bacteria, primary defenses against bacteria occur there.
The digestive system has trillions of good bacteria. They clean your inner lining and mingle with food particles and enzymes to synthesize or make certain nutrients. This bacteria also voraciously go after food particles to consume them, in order to stay alive and multiply. If you were to examine this process under a microscope, it might look like nature’s own beautifully choreographed ballet. It would be both eerie and fascinating to see all the collaboration and cooperation happening in such a tiny, living world.
When there is a deficiency of the bacteria, bad bacteria can begin to proliferate, leading them to multiply and exist in greater numbers. They compete with the body for nutrients and invade in order to go after their genetic material. If a person is exposed to a very large number of bacteria (for example, if someone sneezes on them), that event combines with a compromised immune system to cause illness.
However, illness is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually a sign of a healthy immune system. On the one hand, people who do not get sick may be the healthiest people in the world. But on other hand, it could mean that their immune systems are having difficulty kicking in. Instead, they detox everything. When you get sick with a cold, your body has reached its limit regarding how it can function under normal circumstances, so it must trigger the detox process.
So in this case the illness is working for you, not against you. The process can be likened to a beautiful orchestra, and it’s an equalizer for the system. White blood cells go after the detrimental invaders. In the process the body works itself up, and you’ll get a temperature.
Your body is nothing less than a divine, spectacular, miraculous healing machine.
But several things can reduce the good bacteria in our bodies. One is certainly the use of antibiotic medications: The antibiotic medicines may kill everything indiscriminately or simply suppress parts of the immune system. And another reason our probiotics can be depleted is poor diet. Certain foods are destructive to the balance of good bacteria (also known as good flora).
This is crucial, so please keep reading. When you work to keep your probiotic flora in balance, your immune system is directly impacted in a positive way. This is an irrefutable scientific fact. So, scientists try to find strains of bacteria that are friendly to our body’s internal environment. They then try to determine whether those strains can win in a fight against common diseases. Scientists now believe that the future of dealing with certain types of diseases will be through probiotic bacteria types rather than antibiotics.
Misconceptions About Probiotics
There are a couple of misconceptions about probiotics. One is that they all are created equal, and any that you find on the shelf will work equally well. That’s not true; product quality is of paramount importance. The second misconception is that if the bottle indicates a big number—perhaps 1 billion or even 1 trillion colony forming units (CFUs)—then you’re unquestionably getting good value for your money. This is false as well. The strain of bacteria is very important, and some strains are exceptionally large. That being the case, they won’t be equal in numbers to much smaller good bacteria. So a lower number doesn’t tell the whole story. Sometimes larger bacteria are much more effective in fighting bad bacteria.
Probiotics only need to be refrigerated because they are living inside of something that will spoil, such as a dairy product. The dairy products need refrigeration, not the probiotics. Many of the food probiotics are very common strains that are usually in abundance in the digestive system, so they might not be as effective as some rare probiotics with certain types of digestive builders or negative overgrowth destructive efficiency.
Probiotics are approved by the FDA and they are safe for people of all ages (from very young children to very elderly adults). The number of different strains of bacteria in a given supplement doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more effective; in fact, using a variety of strains in a probiotic supplement can actually make it less effective. Different probiotics don’t necessarily work well together; sometimes they can destroy each other in the competition for food. There hasn’t yet been sufficient testing on mixing varieties together attempting to yield more potent results.
The most important factors in identifying quality probiotics are where they are sourced from and what mediums they can survive in until they reach the digestive system. In my products, I only use probiotics derived from plant sources—I don’t use probiotics derived from animal sources. These particular probiotics don’t require dairy mediums to work in; they are entirely vegan and pure.
These probiotics that I use live in a suspended state. They don’t become active until they hit the inside of your mouth or your lower digestive tract; until then, they are undamaged and in suspension (and are able to live in that state for years). But after they are ingested and subjected to the right amount of moisture and the right temperature—conditions occurring inside your body—they wake up hungry, subsequently dividing and multiplying very quickly. At that point, they serve the purpose of substantially improving your health.