The Important Science of Probiotics Revisited

Most people who have been paying attention to the important and rapidly emerging science of the human gut microbiome (see draft Chapter 1 of my book here for a primer on its enormity: The Great Gut Bug Book, Chapter 1: Meet The Whole You) have some understanding the the role diet plays, and beyond that, both probiotics and prebiotics.

My journey began by means of over 100 posts on prebiotics (foods that feed beneficial and commensal gut bacteria, with an emphasis on Resistant Starch). Those who have appropriate Google Alterts know that there’s now articles coming out daily on resistant starch. PubMed indexes 2,409 studies that mention Prebiotics, and 1,785 studies that mention Resistant Starch.

While I also did a number of posts on probiotics (supplemental bacteria in colony forming units to seed your gut), the focus was mainly on HSOs (homeostatic soil organisms, or “spore formers”) for one simple reason: much of the probiotic supplements on the market don’t escape the digestive process, so offer no colony seeding or forming benefits. However, HSOs can and do, because the very purpose of a spore is to survive inhospitable conditions, such that they can re-emerge when conditions are ripe, such as in the colon or large intestine. PubMed indexes 13,487 studies with a mention of probiotics. Hardly a fringe fraud.

But, that doesn’t mean that HSOs are the only viable probiotics. For an extreme example, a fecal transplant is a probiotic intervention with an over 90% initial positive response rate, still over 80% at 18 months followup, for the treatment of C. difficile infection—that kills 15,000 Americans annually. But this introduces the bacterial colonies directly into the colon via rectum, or via a tube down the throat. However, there’s another technology using encapsulation where the capsule itself resists digestion long enough to break apart in the colon. And this is where Elixa Probiotic comes in. Indeed, purchasers in comments here have attested to seeing the two undigested capsule halves in their stools.

The other reasons I work with Elixa are:

  • It’s a very small company in the stringent legal atmosphere of the U.K., with an inventor-founder-principal-operator, Karl Seddon, who answers all emails and is active in all relevant comments here. He never dodges anything.
  • He has invested all capital himself for all manufacturing equipment. He himself calibrates the sensitive equipment  (some bacterial strains are very sensitive to oxygen, for example) and oversees all manufacturing personally. It’s essentially manufacturing in a laboratory. This is unlike a multitude of labels on shelves that are, essentially, just that: different labels on the same bulk stuff available from a catalog that a supplement marketer orders and has packaged, labeled, and drop shipped, then spends 80% of revenue on marketing.
  • Elixa and Karl are in complete control of the entire process until it leaves in a package addressed to you.

Since I began working with Karl early last year, I see a total of 1,554 separate sales. I have never personally received a single complaint for touting it. There have been a small handful of reports in comments in the posts I’ll link to (you can see yourself) where people either noticed no change, or had some mild adverse side-effects, such as headache or nausea (and Karl has addressed each of these reports personally). Searching all 1,154 rows of the spreadsheet, I find 27 rows with a ‘-‘ by the sales figure. I’ve not asked Karl (I’m sure he’ll be happy to enlighten us in comments) but I assume these are returns, so that’s 27/1,554=0.017, less than 2%. Pretty decent, I’d say.

Anyway, it’s sometimes a good idea to reiterate what’s unique about Elixa and I think that amounts to:

  1. Closely held company that does everything itself, overseen by the inventor and founder.
  2. Closely guarded trade-secret (like the formula for Coke) technology that’s actually effective in doing what it’s supposed to, which is get the colony forming units to your colon where they belong.
  3. “Ridiculous” levels of transparency that truly go above and beyond what most companies do and are certainly beyond rational reproach.

Here’s the posts about Elixa over year 2015, with lots of unsolicited comments by actual customers, along with comments by Karl himself where necessary.

  1. Gut Bugs, Probiotics, Prebiotics…And how our microbes make us who we are (47 comments)
  2. FODMAP Prebiotic Arms Dealing, Probiotic Mercenaries, and Uganda (98 comments)
  3. The New Science of Probiotics (31 comments)
  4. More Crazy Probiotics Stuff (23 comments)
  5. The Right Probiotic Could Change Your Life (18 comments)
  6. After Years Of Trying Everything, Woman Finds Eczema Relief In Elixa Probiotic at a Fraction of the Cost (5 comments)
  7. Elixa. The World’s Most High-Tech Probiotic. Now Shipping. (16 comments)
  8. “Doctors hate her: a local mom discovers how to lose weight effortlessly with this one trick.” (11 comments)

Karl tells me there will be some big news soon. I know what it is, but not tellin’.

Update: Karl tells me in email that those ‘-‘ sales on my report aren’t returns at all, that in fact, over the life and thousands of sales of Elixa, there have been only 2 returns. What those are are refunds over delivery failure. Since he ships worldwide, there’s some places with such awful postal systems that the stuff doesn’t get to its destination and he’s had to “blacklist” a handful of countries because of it.

When I lived in Mexico this summer I learned that nobody uses the postal service. Too unreliable and if there’s anything material, it will be stolen. As such, people pay bills directly for everything, even their cell phone service. All the OXXO and Mambo convenience marts are set up to collect payments for all sorts of services.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Mycroft Jones on January 1, 2016 at 17:47

    I hope the announcement is that he is adding more strains to the mix, like L. curvatus HY7601 and L. plantarum KY1032 for fat reduction.

  2. […] variables here. But, since he and his apple tree saw fit to attack me, Elixa, and my promotion of a great product, I have no problem pointing out how they are being plausibly hoist by their own […]

  3. […] The Important Science of Probiotics Revisited (2 Comments) […]

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