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I have pointed out that I tried a variety of “probiotics of the day” when I was working to get my health back 20 years ago. Many, if not all, of those probiotic products were comprised of LABs, short for lactic acid bacteria, that often needed to be refrigerated, handled with great care and were not all that robust within themselves. These probiotic formulas contained LABs that were separated or isolated from their fermented food source as probiotics often are.
LABs obtain their energy solely from the metabolism of sugars, so they are restricted to environments where sugar is present, and they are sensitive and limited biosynthetically, meaning that they have to be cultivated in ways that meet their needs—not necessarily the needs of the user. They are often found in fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese, cultured butter, sour cream, pickles and sauerkraut—to name a few.
Now those are some great fermented foods, by the way, foods I loaded up on when I was fighting to regain my health. In fermented foods, LABs are great, but in isolated form within probiotic supplements? In my opinion, not so much.
Now let’s talk briefly about BEBs or Beneficial Eco-Bacteria. BEBs are named as such due to their ability to transform their surrounding environment or ecology. While you may say that LABs are the prima donnas of the bacteria world, by contrast, BEBs are “low maintenance” and hardy; they are downright tough!
How tough are they? Unlike LABs, BEB probiotics can be stored at room temperature in a dried form without any adverse effects on their performance. Likewise, this kind of probiotic can survive the travels through the sometimes harsh environment of the gut unaffected, which is not the case for many LABs.
Bottom line, probiotics are not meant to be in isolation.