What No One Tells You about Probiotics and the Microbiome

Have you ever wondered how your gut health affects your overall immunity, metabolism, and more? You’re not alone. Interest has surged recently … and charlatans have taken notice.

In the inaugural episode of That’s Healthy, Right? host Adam Bornstein digs into the importance of the microbiome, the ecosystem that comprises your overall gut health.

He also reveals the truth about some of the bigger misconceptions out there around manipulating your personal gut health, how some tests are a complete waste of money, and how to avoid getting scammed.

Have a question you want to be considered for the show? To submit a question, email a voice recording that you can do here to info@bornfitness.com.

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Understanding the Microbiome: How Gut Health Affects Your Health, Weight Loss, and Mood – Born Fitness

Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health — Journal of Applied Microbiology

Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits — Nutrients

Is eating behavior manipulated by the gastrointestinal microbiota? Evolutionary pressures and potential mechanisms — BioEssays

Regulation of tight junction permeability by intestinal bacteria and dietary components — Journal of Nutrition 

Human Microbiome Program at NYU

Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California San Diego

Latest Microbiome Research – Nature


Adam Bornstein:

I’m going to open this episode with a quote that I recently heard that I hope you’ll enjoy. Direct quote here –

“There are people who will be very happy to take your money and tell you they can interpret the data. They’re lying.”

That comes from the Director of the Human Microbiome Program at NYU. And he is talking about microbiome testing. So here you have the director of a microbiome program telling you that microbiome testing is a complete waste of money.

For those of you who are wondering about the microbiome, this is essentially the ecosystem of your gut health. Gut health has become a huge area of interest recently, and most of you will probably think of this in terms of probiotics and what they will do. 

This gut bacteria, hopefully, healthy bacteria, can assist you in a whole bunch of different ways. It’s why probiotics and probiotic type foods and even prebiotics have really exploded over the last few years. Because if there’s one thing we know, it’s that there’s a lot of things that are happening in your gut that affect your overall health. 

What we don’t know is exactly how to manipulate your gut health to make it better. We’re in the trial and error phase, if you will, where we know something is important, we have an idea of what might influence it, but we really don’t know what works. 

And what this has done is created an opportunity where people, knowing that your microbiome is important, are telling you, “You know what? We can test for this and we will tell you exactly what you can eat to improve your microbiome.” And it is a gigantic lie.

I could’ve made this entire episode of quotes from people who are the leading researchers in this. The people who are the most financially incentivized to say, “We can test this.” Because they could get more research, they could get more funding, they could have a breakthrough. 

And yet these leading scientists are saying, “No, no, no, no, no. We are not there yet.” You have the senior investigator from the National Cancer Institute who is saying, “It’s not ready for primetime.” Direct quote.

And that’s referring to personalized microbiome testing. You have Rob Knight, who’s the director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California San Diego saying, “What you can do with the information we have right now is limited. It is a science project, not a diagnostic test.”

The translation? We know that the microbiome is important. I’m not saying it’s not. But interpreting your microbiome or your ability to do that right now and what you can do to change your health is still being investigated.

So please, please, please do not waste your money on taking these microbiome tests. They’re just not ready yet. You can go ahead and eat different foods that will improve your gut health, whether it’s more fiber or fruits or vegetables or fermented foods like yogurt or kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi. You can take probiotic supplements.

Do what you want and experiment and see how it makes you feel. But the tests are not ready and are simply a waste of your money.