Why Probiotic Supplements in Pill or Powder Form May Not Be Your Best Choice
There are several reasons why we made Vita Biosa 10+ a drink.
1. Nutrients Are Best Absorbed From Foods
First and easiest to understand is that – as many scientists and health practitioners concur – getting our nutrients and supplements in the form of foods and drinks really is the best way.
We evolved alongside bacteria for hundreds of thousands of years so it only makes sense that our bodies are accustomed to eating them in their natural state; i.e. in fermented foods and not dehydrated, while they’re in a state of suspended animation.
Remember that Vita Biosa10+, a liquid probiotic, is also more than just beneficial microbes in a bottle. The product is made by fermenting organic molasses and 19 different herbs. This is good for your digestion and microflora because, in addition to us being able to benefit from drinking these ingredients, the good gut bacteria also need this food (which are prebiotics) to reproduce and to survive.
PRE-biotics are Important
If you’re seriously considering a probiotic in pill or powder form, at the very least ensure it contains some prebiotic foods for the microbes to remain alive until they are delivered to your system. The supplements that don’t include food for your microflora are able to stay “alive” in the refrigerator because they are in a “freeze-dried” state. Read the other points below to understand why we say this is not ideal.
2. No Need to Over-Compensate with Extra CFUs
Ever notice how lots of probiotic pills and capsules boast high quantities of cultures in the tens and hundreds of billions of Colony Forming Units (“CFUs”)? Ever wonder why they need to provide such high numbers? We sure do as there’s no proof that humans actually need that many CFUs.
Microflora need to reside in the intestines so “good bacteria” supplements need to survive the journey through stomach acid in order to arrive in the gut (where its typically not very acidic at all).
That’s why pills and capsules need to have a protective exterior and in the case of active cultures (which can eat at the inside of these walls) the interior needs to have a lining as well.
The coatings are designed to dissolve at specific levels of acidity based on the general knowledge that your stomach is more acidic (typically between pH 1-3) than your small intestines (pH 7-8). In other words, it’s possible to design pills and capsules to release their contents in specific areas along your GI tract.
Here’s the difficulty: no two people are alike, with stomach acid levels changing depending on, for example, when and what they last ate.
Even if we assume the pills are dissolving where they should be there’s no guarantee that once arrived, all the microbes can “get off the bus” at the same time at the exact same place. Your intestines are extremely long at about 23 feet in the average adult. Especially since due to peristalsis – where the intestines are constantly pushing everything out – the bus doesn’t ever truly stop.
Vita Biosa10+ dose not have these same issues. First, it is already in a liquid form where all the bacteria are “out of the bus and ready to go”. Second, the microbes are already adjusted to the acid level of your GI tract. At a pH of ~3.5, Vita Biosa10+ is similarly acidic to your stomach. Our beneficial micro-organisms only experience a gradual change in environment as they get “woken up” from their hibernating state in the small intestine.
The take-away here is that probiotics need to work with each other in sufficient numbers. If they don’t all arrive at the same place at the same time, ready for action, their efficacy is greatly compromised.
3. Good Bacteria Need to Work Together as a Community
There’s a difference between “alive and in a suspended state of animation” (like microbes in pills and powder form) and “in a dormant state” which is how they are in naturally preserved fermented foods like Vita Biosa10+.
Even if, compared to us, our microflora are comprised of much simpler lifeforms, these beneficial microbes are still complex in their own ways, learning to communicate with each other (via both intra- and inter-species communication). Bacteria use quorum sensing techniques (to determine how many of “us” there are vs “them”) which in turn let them know when they should activate certain behaviours.
Certain strains work better with other strains too – and there are many strains of a subspecies such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. At Biosa, we spent years through trial and error and in-lab analysis to understand which particular probiotic strains can magnify each others’ benefits – and which types of environments (e.g. molasses) enable them to do their best.
So good gut bacteria need to be ready for action and able to work together as a cohesive community of different strains. Imagine how well you would be able to work with a team you’d never met if you were first put into a cryogenic state, then woken up alongside millions of strangers and suddenly had to work together to combat an even larger group of strangers of unknown intentions.
Imagine instead you’d had the opportunity to slowly build a self-contained community with them, free from foes, before you were introduced to a new environment. This is the advantage fermented probiotics can have.
Why Create a Probiotic Pill or Capsule Supplement at all?
So why do nutraceutical companies choose to create pills or powders? One reason is because consumers find it to be a convenient method to ingest supplements. But consider this: with a pill you’ll still be swallowing it down with some water so is there really much difference between taking a pill and drinking something tasty?
In terms of manufacturing, once companies get past the difficulty of keeping the microbes in a dehydrated state (where they don’t require additional food to survive), the probiotics are relatively easy to work with. Being easy to work with however is not the same thing as being in the best format for us to eat them.
The flavour of Vita Biosa 10+ is very unique…and people seem to either love it or find that it’s an acquired taste. People who aren’t big fans of the flavour often ask:
Why don’t we create Vita Biosa in a Pill or Powder form?
Now you know!
Vita Biosa 10+ is a fermented liquid as this is the vital format for
probiotics to be in their top form and the
best way to deliver them safely to your GI tract,
Ready for Action!
Ready to learn more about probiotics? Read about Vita Biosa 10+ here.