Do Probiotics Actually Work?

May I have your attention, please?

Will the real, slim - not shady - truth please stand up?

Or perhaps George Paraskevakos, executive director of the International Probiotics Association (IPA), said it best, “For those saying there are no clinical trials to support probiotics, have a seat.”

Recently, 60 Minutes posed the question, “Do Probiotics Actually Do Anything?” After viewing the 13-minute-long segment, the IPA immediately addressed concerns and inconsistencies throughout the program hosted by Dr. LaPook.

For obvious reasons, IPA did not agree with 60 Minutes’ final answer. We don’t either.

Why? Data proves probiotics do actually work.

In the journal Heliyon, data published showed there are 1,619 human clinical trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov and the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) of the World Health Organization, with 43% of those on ClincialTrials.gov including healthy participants – significantly greater than the average of 25% of all registered clinical trials that accept healthy volunteers.

1,619 is quite a large number of clinical trials resulting in support of probiotics.

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

It seems like a verse in an Alanis Morissette song – it’s like a widely viewed television program based on research findings, which ironically enough, didn’t actually do their research and yet still aired the program. And who would have thought? It figures.

As a supplier of a probiotic ingredient, we’ll break this topic down from our perspective and hone in on BLIS K12.

The Gateway to Health

Nena Dockery, Science and Regulatory Manager at Stratum Nutrition said, “It is now known that the immune benefits of the body’s protective microbiome do not begin in the gut, but in the oral cavity, where pathogenic microbes most often enter the body. The oral cavity is home to as many different species of bacteria, if not more, than the gut; and these bacteria can form an extremely strong barrier against invaders, influencing the health, not only of the teeth and gums, but extending into the throat and ear canals.”[1]

Therefore, it’s safe to say the mouth is the gateway to the human body, BLIS K12 is the gatekeeper and your next product formulation is the key master. Ok, that may be a stretch. However, we can say BLIS K12 is an oral-targeted probiotic acting as a first line of support for the body’s defenses against “bad bacteria.”

It is a specific strain of Streptococcus salivarius, which is found in the mouths and throats of healthy individuals. BLIS scientists discovered that while everyone has Streptococcus salivarirus bacteria present in their oral cavity, only a few have the specific beneficial BLIS K12 strain which is highly active against undesirable bacteria.

Ain’t Movin’ On

In contrast to the 60 Minutes segment, IPA pointed out that it is accepted that most probiotics are transient. They just keep on movin’ on. However, BLIS probiotics do colonize. They are indigenous strains to the human oral cavity, which make them more likely to be able to colonize there. Dockery explains, “Many gut probiotics are derived from strains that don’t typically reside in the gut. This doesn’t mean that they can’t provide a benefit, but they don’t colonize.”

BLIS K12 activates and colonizes in the mouth, crowding out the “bad” bacteria that could negatively impact one’s health. In addition to its ability to crowd out unwanted bacterial strains, BLIS K12 products target and combat these undesirable bacteria. Research shows that BLIS K12 also supports certain cells in the mouth to help boost the immune system.

We guess you could say BLIS K12 is a little bit like Cousin Eddie overstaying his visit, but with the power of Hulk to combat the bad.

Fair enough.

Safety Challenged

Another topic of controversy is the efficacy and safety of probiotics in infant formula. This is an easy argument to dispute.

Aside from the large numbers of studies in children, the BLIS probiotics have an additional advantage. The risk in children is through the potential of bacteria being absorbed into the bloodstream in certain compromised individuals.

Dockery states, “As a general rule, the BLIS probiotics function in the oral cavity and not the gut, so intestinal absorption isn’t an issue because they don’t survive the acidic gastric environment. And again, they are from a bacterial species that is already found in the mouths of healthy individuals, and from bacterial strains (though rare) that are found in the mouths of very healthy individuals. In addition, the genomes of both BLIS probiotics have been mapped. They are not mutagenic.”

Final Answer

It’s time for the truth to be told – and to be told again and again.

Why? Because although well-intended, the 60 Minutes segment missed the mark on offering the consumer balanced sources of information to be able to make an informed decision. The IPA and the natural products industry need to continue offering fair and objective information on probiotics that is based on science and benefits the consumers.

When it comes to immunity, scientific research continues to expand consumer knowledge of the bacteria that inhabit our intestinal tract and the substantial benefits from probiotic supplementation. Consumers are now beginning to gain an understanding of the importance of the bacteria that resides in other parts of our bodies, such as the oral cavity, and how probiotic supplementation targeted to the area can play a crucial role in supporting overall health.

It is our job to continue educating the consumer on the proven health benefits of probiotics.

According to Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) 2019 Supplement Business Report, sales of probiotics are growing every year. With COVID-19 on everyone’s mind, NBJ estimates this category’s growth may potentially reach 25% this year.

Bottom line is BLIS K12 is your next product’s gatekeeper for advanced oral health – and yes, it does actually do something.

With that being said, there is plenty of room for more probiotic-based products to hit the market, and now is a prime time to introduce new, innovative options with ingredients such as BLIS K12.

References

[1] Benef Microbes (2011) 2(2):93-101