The Important Science of Probiotics Revisited

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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.


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Richard Nikoley

I started writing Free The Animal in late 2003 as just a little thing to try. 20 years later, turns out I've written over 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from diet, health, lifestyle...to philosophy, politics, social antagonism, adventure travel, expat living, location and time independent—while you sleep— income by geoarbitrage, and food pics. I intended to travel the world "homeless," but the Covidiocy Panicdemic squashed that. I became an American expat living in Thailand. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. ... I leave the toilet seat up. Read More

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