A True Paleo Probiotic: MegaSporeBiotic
Spores are a foundational food in the Paleo diet. What, you haven’t heard about probiotic spores? I hadn’t either until recently. I first learned about probiotic bacterial spores earlier this year when I was considering recommending a probiotic supplement. So far I have stuck to probiotic-rich foods and steered clear of commercially produced probiotics. But my research into spores changed my mind (but still eat your ferments).
Are Probiotics A Luxury Item?
Probiotics are an essential nutrient that humans require for proper function. Recent scientific advances have demonstrated how critical beneficial bacteria are to our health and wellness and, as it turns out, we count on them a lot more than previously recognized.
We are, in some ways, more bacteria than human. There are 10 trillion cells that make up the human body, whereas there are over 100 trillion beneficial bacteria cells that call our body home. Our DNA has 25,000 genes; however, our bodies carry almost 3.5 million genes from bacteria. Surprisingly, our cells use some of these bacterial genes to conduct necessary functions. It is very clear that there is strong co-evolution between the human host and the 100 trillion passengers we have come to depend on.
We have to wonder where did our ancestors got their probiotics over the last 100,000 years? Surely they didn’t have special coated capsules with billions of cells and refrigerators full of probiotic tablet options. How did they get these essential nutrients into their systems to facilitate this co-evolution. Scientists have studied this very topic and now have a clearer understanding of where we picked up these important passengers.
The first exposure is from our mothers. Most of the beneficial bacteria found in the digestive tract come from our mothers, both when we are in the womb and during natural childbirth. During the birthing process, the mother’s bacteria pass onto the fetus, are swallowed by the fetus, and end up colonizing the baby’s digestive tract. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species (commonly found in probiotic products) are among the strains passed from mother to child.
Subsequent physical contact with mom and breast-feeding expose us to more beneficial bacteria that eventually make a permanent home on us and in us. These bacteria are not suited for life outside of the body. They are not designed to leave the body, spend time outside the body and be reintroduced orally. The best way to positively affect the numbers and population of these bacteria is via a healthy diet that is low in simple sugars and processed foods and high in soluble and insoluble fibers.
However, these are not the only beneficial bacteria that call the human body home; this brings us to the second way we are introduced to our lifelong partners.
The second way is through the environment. Our ancestors were hunters and gathers and they ate off the land. The foods they ate contained high amounts of environmental bacteria that ended up in their digestive systems. Many of those bacteria are not stable in the harsh, acid environment of the stomach and never made through to the digestive system.
However, there is a class of bacteria that did and still do survive in the digestive system. These bacteria are called spore-formers. Spore-formers are universally found in the digestive systems of most animals and even sea life. They are a true universal probiotic. They are designed by nature to survive in wide range of environments for long periods of time, and then, when exposed to a host, they survive the harsh environment of the stomach and eventually make a home in the digestive system.
What Exactly is a Spore?
I asked Kiran Krishnan, a microbiologist and the Chief Science Officer for Physicians Exclusive for an explanation. Here’s what he told me:
“Bacterial spores are highly resistant, dormant structures (i.e. No metabolic activity) formed in response to adverse environmental conditions. They help in the survival of the organisms during adverse environmental conditions; they do not have a role in reproduction. Spore formation (sporulation) occurs when nutrients, such as sources of carbon and nitrogen are depleted. Bacterial spores are highly resistance to heat, dehydration, radiation and chemicals.
An endospore is structurally and chemically more complex than the vegetative cell (regular, active bacteria cell). It contains more layers. Resistance of bacterial spores may be mediated by dipicolinic acid, a calcium ion chelator found only in spores. When favorable condition prevails, (i.e. availability of water, appropriate nutrients) spores germinate which then forms vegetative cells of bacteria.
Mature endospores are released from the vegetative cell to become free endospores. When the free endospores are placed in an environment that supports growth, the endospores will revert back to a vegetative cell in a process called germination.”
This is fascinating, right? Spores are practically super heroes. They can survive in water, dirt, us and even in outer space. Specifically spores are composed of these elements:
- Thick keratin-like coat
- Peptidoglycan cell membrane
- A small amount of cytoplasm
- Very little water
- Bacterial DNA
Spores conduct many important and beneficial functions for its host such as aiding in digestion, keeping the proper balance of good vs. bad bacteria, fighting off bad bacteria. They support the immune system and produce important readily absorbed nutrients for their host.
Nature has designed these spore-forming bacteria to be a self-sustaining probiotic as they are stable both in the environment and in our digestive systems. Studies have also pointed to many essential functions they perform. The best known and well-studied of these super probiotics are Bacillus Subtilis and Bacillus Coagulans. A recently discovered additional strain Bacillus Indicus HU36 is the first strain of probiotic that has been shown to produce antioxidants in the digestive system where the body readily absorbs it.
We have evolved to gain constant exposure to these strains from our food sources; however, in this modern age of sterilized food systems, these essential strains have been nearly eliminated and our exposure to them is very limited. This makes supplementing with them a very important part of a healthy lifestyle.
Does Diet Affect Spores?
Interestingly, our diet doesn’t affect the spores much in terms of what they do in the body. Spores need protein and carbs to function and nearly all diets have some of both. Diet of course can enhance the benefit of the spores. The spores work to eliminate harmful organisms and reduce inflammation.
Since Paleo is an anti-inflammatory diet that avoids processed carbs and sugars that feed bad bacteria, people consuming spores will see greater benefit that someone eating a Standard American Diet.
I have personally used the spores from MegaSporeBiotic for the sake of my personal experiment of n=1. I found after just a few weeks, that my digestion, mood and sleep all improved significantly. My skin appeared smoother and less prone to bruising and dryness. My clients have all reported positive results. Many chronic symptoms like acne, digestive issues, joint pain and allergies have been greatly reduced or even eliminated.
I choose MegaSporeBiotic since it was designed by nature, survives with full potency into the digestive system, delivers antioxidants and key nutrients, high quality and supported by science in published studies by some of the top researchers in the field.
Interested in Learning More About Spore-Formers?
Rebel Health has provide a free microbiome video series covering this information in quite a bit of detail. Check out the following sites:
MegaSporeBiotic is currently available through practitioners only. This is the the only probiotic, I feel fully confident recommending and using myself. Feel free to contact me for ordering or more information.