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What Are Soil-Based Probiotics?

By Tucker Cummings ; Updated September 21, 2017

Soil-based probiotics, also known as soil-based organisms or SBOs, are beneficial bacteria that live in the soil and are thought to be advantageous to human digestion. Some health professionals, including renowned medical doctor, nutritionist and lecturer Dr. Carolyn Dean, argue that commercially raised plants and meats lack SBOs because they are not grown in a free-range or organic environment. Therefore, we may be deprived of certain beneficial bacteria that our ancestors consumed for centuries. Consuming probiotics is thought to boost both digestion and immune function, and adding SBOs to your diet may improve your health.

Types of Soil-Based Probiotics

SBOs are classified as Class 1 organisms, meaning that they are beneficial to human health. There are dozens of SBO organisms, but some of the better known ones are as follows: Anthrobacter simplex, Azospirillum lipoferum, Bacillus brevis, Kurtha zopfil, Myrothecium verrucaria, Pseudomonas calcis and Streptomyces fradiae. These probiotic organisms are generally found in nature below the top 6 inches of topsoil, and are available in commercially prepared SBO supplements such as Prescript-Assist.

Benefits of SBOs vs. Dairy Probiotics

Dairy-based probiotic health foods and supplements contain probiotics like bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, the latter of which is often found in yogurt. Fairy-based probiotics are, however, inferior to SBO probiotics because dairy-based bacteria can degrade in the acid of the stomach or if left unrefrigerated, meaning they are more likely to lose potency during storage or digestion. It is believed that SBOs are more readily absorbed by the body than their dairy counterparts.

Consequences of Low SBO Intake

Low SBO intake in your diet may lead to poor digestion and unhealthy stools. Over time, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, colitis, candidiasis and colon cancer are thought to be long-term health problems related to insufficient intake of SBOs.

Role in Chemotherapy Treatment

It is thought that consuming SBOs is helpful for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Because chemo drugs can kill beneficial bacteria in the gut and lead to poor bowl function, adding an SBO supplement to one's diet is thought to help combat the side effects of chemo. It is also argued by Probiotic.org that SBOs boost immune function by stimulating the growth of alpha-interferons, which can combat fatigue and poor health.


About the Author


Tucker Cummings is a freelance writer based in New England. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of New Hampshire and is a member of the Association of Professional Business Writers. Cummings is also a food writer and curates the blog, Brave New Breakfast.