The Four Probiotic Marketing Myths by Marcus Antebi
Read time: 4 minutes
There are four primary probiotic supplement marketing myths. Before you buy any probiotic supplement, read this!
Here they are:
- Refrigerated probiotics are better than shelf stable probiotics. (False)
Most of the probiotics on the market are based on animal ingredients, which are unstable at temperatures above 8 degrees Celsius. Temperature stability is a function of ingredients and technical parameters of production and packaging and is significantly increased for plant-based probiotics.
Every final probiotic product, both liquid and lyophilized, contains not only bacteria, but small amounts of ingredients used in the fermentation and post-fermentation processes.
My Digestive Immunity Support (GLB18) and my Lung Immunity Support (GLB3) products do not require refrigeration.They are both plant-based, and they are both in a stable suspended state.
- The higher the colony forming unit count, the more effective the probiotic supplement will be. (False)
The beneficial effects of the probiotic bacteria are closely related to CFU (Colony Forming Units). However, a high concentration of probiotic bacteria is not sufficient. The most important characteristics of probiotics are the viability and stability in the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract—different pH, different bile salts concentrations, and digestive enzymes. The representatives of the Lactobacillus plantarum species are reported to be among the most stable lactic acid bacteria. Studies with Lactobacillus plantarum GLB18, as one example, demonstrate its ability to survive in conditions of different pH values and concentrations of bile salts.
Most scientists or manufacturers try to compensate for their probiotic bacteria's susceptibility to stomach acids and salts by adding a higher number of CFU.
The idea is that if more cells are added to the supplement, there will be a greater likelihood that enough of that weaker probiotic will survive the journey from the mouth to the small and large intestines, where they will end up residing.
The evidence shows that the more robust strains of good bacteria need much lower than 1 billion CFU to “set up shop” and then divide and multiply. (When the good bacteria are in your lower digestive system in the right conditions, they multiply and proliferate. This is what we want from a probiotic supplement. We want an effective fighter' that will repopulate the friendly bacteria colonies while seeking out and destroying pathogens).
The good bacteria should be capable of adhering to the intestinal mucus. In this way, a barrier against pathogenic microorganisms colonization is created. Probiotic bacteria with high survival rate and GIT adhesion ability, such as Lactobacillus plantarum GLB18 and GLB3, are sufficiently effective in concentration of 1-9 billions of live cells. Higher concentration would not be more effective, because of the probiotic capacity of the organism.
- Probiotics with more than one strain of bacteria are better. (False)
Probiotic bacteria are characterized by the production of bacteriocins, which are peptides with strong antimicrobial activity, mainly against closely related microorganisms. This means that products based on more than one probiotic strain are at risk of inhibiting part of the bacteria as a result of bacteriocin synthesis. In this way, the beneficial effect of the product is reduced instead of increasing in proportion to the high number of probiotic bacteria.
In addition, there is a principle of competition for nutrients and GIT colonization between the different probiotic strains in the product. This is another reason for reducing the total beneficial effect of the final product.
- Plant-based probiotics are better for health. (True)
After the initial isolation, all probiotics are grown in nutritious solutions where the good bacteria can multiply to high numbers of Colony Forming Units (CFU).
Most probiotics are grown in a solution that is a combination of powdered milk and a chemical base. Traces of this solution may sometimes still be found in the final product, even after several filtration processes are completed.
Most of the animal ingredients contain different allergens, such as lactose.
Lactobacillus plantarum GLB18 and GLB3 are grown in 100% vegetable juice, that is GMO free and pesticides free. The only traces that can be found in Lactobacillus plantarum are from vegetables supplied from small European farms.
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