SBO’s: Friends or Foes?

By: Gemma Davies

By Gemma Davies, CEO Folkklore

There is a rising argument suggesting that soil based organisms (SBO’s) have the potential to become pathogenic in the gut. Unlike other forms of probiotic bacteria, they are spore-forming and thus proliferate very readily regardless of their environment. The basis of the debate against the use of SBO’s is that unless gut flora is already well established as balanced and healthy, spore-forming SBO’s can multiply to the point of overpopulating the gut and causing dysbiosis (bacterial imbalance).

The most important thing to remember when addressing this argument is that it really is simply a theory. The truth is that despite major scientific advances in the area, we still don’t know all that much about how gut bacteria operate, or how probiotic supplements work. We do know for certain that there is no universal gut flora ‘ideal’, and that the bacterial contents of the human gut vary widely and are largely dependent on location and food sources.

Up until the mass industrialization of food, SBO’s were a regular part of the daily diet. Healthy soil contains a wide variety of healthy soil based organisms, and eating plant foods grown in well-balanced soil, without excessive washing or steralisation/pasteurization, results in automatic ingestion of these microbes. Sadly, the soil of our time is largely depleted of these SBO’s, a reflection of unsustainable farming practices. We could theorise that the standard western diet is seriously lacking in soil-based organisms, and our ‘deficiency’ could at least partially explain many of our modern digestive ailments. Proponents of the argument against supplementing with SBO’s suggest that the existing lack of natural sources of these microbes is why ingestion of them in supplemental form can overwhelm the gut and cause problems with bacterial balance.

One of the most commonly supplemented SBO’s is the Bacillus subtilis strain. It is an important element of the Biokult, Primal Defense, Prescript Assist and Doc’s Friendly Formula probiotic supplements we distribute. Rather than assume that all SBO’s are the same in their capacity to overproliferate and become pathogenic, we instead researched this particular strain with the basic question: friend or foe?

  • Comprehensive research has found no evidence to indicate that Bacillus subtilis has adverse effects in humans when used as a supplemental probiotic. It does not contain pathogenic genes, and its spores have even been directly applied to the epithelial walls of the gut with no adverse effects
  • Bacillus subtilis strains are not resistant to antibiotics, meaning that their ability to overproliferate in the gut is very unlikely
  • Bacillus subtilis are resistant to bile salts and other gut secretions, making it a very hardy probiotic strain
  • Bacillus subtilis is the most important bacterial strain in the traditional Japanese food, natto. Consumption of natto has several well-proven health benefits, which are likely to be linked directly to B. subtilis
  • Comprehensive clinical research has shown that supplementation with Bacillus subtilis improves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, suppresses the proliferation of harmful pathogens in the gut and aids in the proliferation of Lactobacillus bacteria, making it an effective prebiotic for other beneficial strains 

We also know that there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence supporting the use of Bacillus subtilis containing probiotics in improving digestive function and balance – we receive positive feedback on the formulas we sell virtually every week!

Whilst the fascinating world gut bacteria remains largely a mystery, we feel very confident that Bacillus subtilis, as a soil-based organism and vital component of the probiotic formulas we supply, is not only safe but can be of great benefit to gut health and microbial balance.

As well as supplementing with Bacillus subtilis containing formulas, it’s also well worth exploring other ways of increasing your intake of healthy SBO’s through diet and lifestyle. And that means getting dirty! Support small, sustainable farmers and your gut by purchasing fruit, veggies, berries and mushrooms direct from organic markets, source quality water, throw out the household products containing harsh, antibiotic chemicals, use a clay-based toothpaste, eat naturally fermented foods!

And heck, have some fun and play in the dirt!

You can find our probiotic range here

About Folklore

Folkklore is the mischievous and unruly brainchild of Gemma Dee. Inclusive, evolving, eclectic and entertaining, Folkklore examines and explores ancient wisdoms, practical no-brainers and new-wave notions that can expand and accelerate your experience of being a mere human in full flourish.

Tend to your roots. Be radical.

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