Are All Probiotics Really Created Equal? This New Research May Surprise You!

A study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the environment that a probiotic grows in not only determines what traits it has but also how effective it is against pathogenic bacteria.

For the first time ever, the study looked at the properties of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG isolates from different probiotic supplements. Researchers observed the differences between the various sources of the same bacteria strain. This study found that while all probiotic varieties of L. rhamnosus GG adhered to intestinal mucosa, they all presented an assortment of characteristics unlike the original strain of L. rhamnosus GG.(1)

The study found that because the supplements in question all used their own manufacturing process and food matrix, these elements actually determine the efficacy of a probiotic.

This makes sense. There are nutritional differences, for example, between beef from an animal that is fed only grass and a factory-farmed animal that receives antibiotic therapy, hormone injections, and is fed primarily grain. When we feed our bodies with certain foods, we are providing our cells with raw materials; the state of our health depends on how useful or dysfunctional these raw materials are. We can apply this same principle when manufacturing probiotic supplements.

Probiotics are known to enhance immune response against infectious disease and cancer.

They increase antibody response and enhance phagocytic and natural killer cell function. They have also been shown regulate the Th1 and Th2 immune cell balance, an imbalance of which is involved in autoimmune and allergic conditions. In addition, these immunomodulation properties of probiotics are bacteria-specific.

This means that certain beneficial bacteria help the body and immune system in its own specific way. Much of this action, especially in regards to the T cells and Th3 cell specifically, takes place in the gut. (2)

Although this study proves that manufacturing standards are relevant, scientists are still piecing the puzzle together.

Researchers agree that while this study is interesting, there is more to learn. Because the study was done in vitro (meaning a controlled environment, such as in a Petri dish, rather than in the human body) we can still discover more about “the effect of manufacturing” by looking at what these various sources of the same probiotic strain do in a human gastrointestinal tract.

Not only do different bacteria strains affect the immune system in their own way, but even in a single probiotic, the manufacturing method and the food matrix used by each probiotic supplier has a role in strain properties and viability. The study concludes by saying that quality-control is necessary in the production of probiotics and that “small changes may significantly influence the outcome.” While probiotics clearly demonstrate a beneficial effect in the human body, scientists are still learning what this means and the variables involved in culturing different probiotic strains.

Culture Starter

Enjoy powerful probiotics as nature intended by culturing your own vegetables with our Culture Starter! This will ensure the highest quality in all the probiotics that you eat to keep your immune system healthy and strong.

Just as growing your own food is one of the best ways to know the quality of what you eat, culturing your own veggies is an excellent way to deliver active probiotics to your gut. Homemade fermented foods include cultured vegetables and coconut water kefirThese foods have the power of probiotics as natured intended. While scientists perfect the manufacturing processing and development of certain probiotic strains, you can choose to ferment your own foods with the best quality food matrix available!


In a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, it showed that a probiotic’s growth environment determines its effectiveness against fighting pathogenic bacteria. This principle is also true in the food that we feed our own body since our health depends upon how useful and nutrient-rich our diet is. Potent probiotics can boost the immune system to fight cancer and disease, making it vital to choose the strongest probiotics to integrate into your diet. We encourage you to start culturing your own vegetables at home and drinking coconut water kefir to give you naturally potent probiotics as the staple of a healthy immune system!



  1. Grzeskowiak, L., E. Isolauri, S .Salminen, M. Gueimonde. “Manufacturing Process Influences Properties of Probiotic Bacteria.” British Journal of Nutrition (2010). http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FS0007114510004496a.pdf&code=864770ae64833a2a535dff80e4f96db5
  2. Watson, Ronald R., Sherma Zibadi, Victor R. Preedy. Dietary Components and Immune Function. Springer: Humana Press, 2010.
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