Probiotics: Useful or Useless?

hey it’s Mike here and today probiotics are they worth that twenty to fifty dollars that you might spend on them online or at the health food store should there be a soon to be sixty four billion dollar industry based around them in particular we’re gonna look at a very interesting and new study that investigated how well probiotics actually change your gut bacteria we’re also gonna look at how diet interacts with probiotics and finally ask the question are probiotics dangerous ever okay let’s go I think it’s fair to say that it’s pretty well-established if that probiotics can certainly be effective in particular situations from this study quote probiotics can reduce the frequency and severity of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants we want to reduce that severity however from the NIH quote the FDA has not approved any probiotics for preventing or treating any health problem does the government even care about babies furthermore we have some pretty sensational claims about how dangerous probiotics are for example this article probiotics may kill you three billion that’s 3 billion little murderers entering your body so it’s a variety of viewpoints in mind should the average person just go to the store and pound down a quadrillion little microbes well let’s start by looking at this new study in the journal Cell which is important to note looked at healthy individuals without digestive diseases for some background on why this study was so interesting a bit of an issue in this whole area of research is that a lot of studies simply rely on poop in particular scientists have used the bacteria in poop as a proxy for the bacteria that is actually colonizing your gut by contrast this study went further and actually scoped around the digestive tract taking a ton of samples before and after probiotics were given to the subjects interestingly they found a pretty high variability in the diversity of bacteria between different parts of your intestines and perhaps most importantly between the poop profile and your intestine profile here’s a chart of the breakdown of different species of microbes by the area of the intestines all compared to poop on the right as you can see poop is pretty different than the intestinal readings and directly from the researchers quote these findings point to the limitations of solely relying on stool as a correlate for intestinal probiotics colonization and impact on the Indian gastrointestinal microbiome but this doesn’t mean that poop is a completely useless measure it’s sort of like looking through a window in a house versus actually going into the house okay now for what is probably the main finding of the study the most important part as one researcher put it quote surprisingly we saw that many healthy volunteers were actually resistant in that the probiotics couldn’t colonize their gastrointestinal tracts this suggests that probiotics should not be universally given as a one-size-fits-all supplement instead they could be tailored to the needs of each individual in other words for many probiotics we’re no biotics unsubscribed in particular they broke it down into resistive and permissive people whose gut bacteria resisted colonization and those that permitted it however the researchers conclude that even in the permissive individuals the bacterial colonization by probiotics didn’t even appear to last everybody leaves me even by bacteria so we have to ask why didn’t the probiotics work on some and then only work briefly on those that have worked on well the researchers didn’t appear to give an answer but they did say that if we did know then we’d be able to use probiotics better one potential cause is diet taking probiotics on a standard American diet is like sending a bunch of people out into the desert with no food or water and then wondering why they didn’t survive a bad diet might not have the appropriate prebiotics or probiotic food for the probiotics to survive we also know from studies like this that shifting over to a high animal fat diet can change your gut bacteria for the worst in just 24 hours so it’s not like your gut bacteria can’t change at all oh it can change and it can change really fast going back to the main study I also want to mention that a lot of people have misinterpreted the study and taken it too far and I definitely don’t want to push that same idea and that interpretation is that no probiotics work ever and that just brings us right back to the fact that this was done on healthy people probiotics definitely work for people that are not healthy in particular situations in addition I want to mention that in a way this is pretty comforting and perhaps a good news imagine if everybody’s gut could just immediately shift with the introduction of some new bacteria and this is where it comes to competition if you are introducing a new bacteria he wanted to take hold then it has to out-compete the existing bacteria at least to an extent and grab a niche within your gut for example if you introduce a more healthy bacteria that feeds on fiber when you only eat a bunch of processed foods with no fiber then all of those unhealthy junky bacteria are gonna be like okay moving on so probiotics might not be super effective for everybody but can they be dangerous from this study quote theoretical risks have been described in case reports clinical trial results in experimental models including systemic infections deleterious metabolic activity is excessive immune stimulation in susceptible individuals gene transfer and gastrointestinal side effects followed by the scientists mantra of more research is needed and to keep bombarding you from quotes interestingly from the government quote in people who are generally healthy probiotics have a good safety record side-effects if they occur at all usually consist only of mild digestive symptoms such as gas hey Uncle Sam actually gas can be pretty dangerous on the other hand there have been reports linking probiotics to severe side effects such as dangerous infections and people with serious underlying medical problems the people who are most risk of severe side effects include critically ill patients those who have had surgery very sick infants and people with weakened immune systems so the average American as for another danger this study is a little bit disconcerting on multiple levels firstly they’re just repetitively infecting mice which is pretty sad secondly the probiotics made the mice more susceptible to a certain infection and one very common use of probiotics is recovering after taking a round of antibiotics the study looked at that they compared natural recovery versus probiotics versus a fecal transplant which a lot of you probably already know is taking some poop from someone else who’s healthier and putting it in your body not just anywhere in your intestine from the study quote we invasively examined you know what invasive means the effects of multi-strand probiotic or autologous fecal microbiome transplantation the result the probiotics actually made a recovery slower but the fecal transplant help recovery go pretty fast and really zooming out fecal transplants could sort of be referred to as a super ultimate probiotic because they are super diverse and they come with their own food source I mean it’s sort of like comparing somebody going to the new world and arriving as a castaway on a little raft versus someone coming in the Mayflower the transplant comes with all the food that will help you colonize and genocide aliy destroy the local population the results of fecal transplants have been pretty amazing from this review studies appear to show that it helps with inflammatory bowel diseases improving remission rates we’re moving on the whole point of taking probiotics is to have a healthier gut and that just brings me to the vegan diet from this study quote the vegan gut profile appears to be unique in several characteristics including a reduced abundance of patho by on switch are potentially pathogenic bacteria and a greater abundance of protective species in the end is pretty obvious that what you eat three times a day every day has more of an influence on your gut microbiome than a little pill you might take occasionally simply put you can’t just eat crappy and expect a little bacteria pill to save you you can’t eat a disease inducing a diet and then rely on a tiny little pill to make you healthy and free of disease furthermore according to the study probiotic pills don’t appear to just completely take over your gut biome as one might imagine as they take a pill with etre billion pieces of bacterial as you pop a pill of a billion bacteria and as for safety based on the nih is position that does not appear to be a major risk for healthy normal people however there might be more of a risk for people that are not necessarily healthy and then however however it appears that probiotics might be most effective for people that aren’t healthy so obviously you need to work with somebody who knows what they’re doing if it’s a serious situation alright that’s it for today I hope you learned something I know I learned something definitely let me know down below what your thoughts are on probiotics now and finally a quick thank you to mr. vegan who sent me to study right when it came out sadly I didn’t get a video out super quick on it anyway as per usual feel free to like the video subscribe share if you want and I will see you next time also for those who are fixating on that little dot in my hair for the second half of the video that is actually a chunk of spray foam that I didn’t see in the viewfinder yes we spray foamed our tiny-house today hopefully we’ll have a video on that soon on our tiny-house channel t iy hope you had fun fixating on it [Music]

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