Stop taking "probiotics"

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Get your hands off my yogurt, you damn dirty ape!

While maybe not quite probiotic, I find yogurt handy for minimizing travelers diarrhea when out of the country. It’s too much trouble playing dietary primadonna when eating out. So my solution is to turn my gut into a battle royale with as many benign contestants as possible. And it’s tasty!


I’ve enjoyed yogurt since I was a kid, and as an adult, find that it helps any tummy trouble that comes up. Between my daily yogurt and my enjoyment of pickles, aged sauerkraut, and pickled fish, I get all the probiotics I need.


Not to worry, the market will sort this out. Like it did with arsenic and lead.

By example, if some business puts arsenic in their product (as a colour additive, “Schweinfurt green” which arrived in 1814, arsenic was suspected to be poisonous as a color additive as early as 1815, but it wasn’t banned for health reasons until the 1960’s) or lead (as a fuel additive starting in the 1920’s, and continued to belch out poison until the 1970’s) in both cases, many thousands of deaths were directly attributed to the products in play and in both cases, many scientists attributed significant health risks to these additives many, many years before they were finally banned as the business soldiered on and ignored the deaths of their customers until they were forced to withdraw their products by .gov regulations.

Without the .gov forbidding arsenic and lead - it would be back in a heartbeat, just ask Flint.

BTW, if you want to suppress a community for generations to come there really isn’t a better way than putting lead in the water.


The qualifier being “healthy people shouldn’t do it”

I was given probiotics after being put on heavy antibiotics due to septicemia.


I would assume (but recognize the danger in this) that the probiotics you were put on weren’t over-the-counter-grade. Something a bit more heavy-duty & regulated, maybe?

One word: Kimchee



Three words: oh hell yes!

My local kimchee source (tiny Korean market) recently closed, so I don’t have it around as frequently as I’d like these days. But when I have it, the jar doesn’t last long.

And yes, I know it’s something you can make at home, but I’d rather let the experts make my kimchee. And by experts I mean Korean grandmothers.


Sounds like Hunger Games is going on in your gut…


Okay, so “There’s no good reason to take probiotics” rather than “Stop taking probiotics.” The brand of yogurt I commonly buy advertises itself as “probiotic” and I should remain untroubled (but also unimpressed) by that.


I don’t take probiotics, but “doctors say” is the WORST excuse for believing something imaginable. I still respect plenty of doctors, but the “doctors” who “say” are invariably industry shills. No Switzerland does not hold the patent for yogurt so yes, probiotics is weird and we should study it some more.


There’s tons of good reasons to EAT probiotics as part of your everyday diet; it isn’t a new fad, just a common part of a daily diet for pretty much the entire world. Kimchi, yogurt, fresh cheeses, kefir, sauerkraut, pickled herring, kombucha… they’re all great sources of healthy bacteria that’ll help intestinal flora. Taking supplements? Not so much, unless your doctor recommends it.


UnSweetened yogurt & kefir are my one stop shop for the probiotic.

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A tablespoon, used as a mouthwash is also good for settling down the bacteria in your mouth if these decide to start aching your gums.

/and for starting the next batch of yogurt.

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Greek yogurt is my go-to breakfast every morning. Have to be careful though as many brands have tons of added sugar - sometimes as much as a can of soda!

I used to eat the fruit on the bottom kind until I realized that 1 cup has almost 17 grams of sugar. Since then I’ve switched to plain and throw in a few raisins or blueberries.


@doctorow, I love ya, Cory, but you’re pushing pseudo-scientific claptrap.

When you lead with explicit medical advice (stop taking “probiotics”) you’re abusing your bully pulpit. BoingBoing is very successful, and you should be proud of that; are you really comfortable with leveraging that success to dispense explicit health care advice to thousands of people when you have no medical training, have done no controlled experiments, and haven’t spent any significant amount of time surveying or analyzing research in the field?

If someone disobeys their doctor (probiotics are both prescribed and recommended by physicians for specific patients and conditions) because you said they shouldn’t take them, where will that put you, morally and ethically?



Don’t take probiotic supplements because you saw a picture on Facebook that claimed they cure 12 kinds of cancer and make you look younger and help your body remove the toxins from chemtrails and late-stage capitalism.

Do take them if a doctor prescribes them for a specific purpose.

And don’t worry about foods that have live active cultures.


On the other hand, things like:

At least seven studies have found discrepancies between what’s on the label and what’s in the product, especially in products containing multiple bacterial strains. A 2015 analysis of 16 probiotic products, for example, found that only one of 16 exactly matched the bacterial species claims on the label in every sample tested.

are a pretty good indication there’s a pretty large potential for a problem, especially if you’re taking something not specifically prescribed for you.


What is up with quoting all the really bad health articles today?

Most are combinations of lab produced single strain microorganism cultures, cultured in a sterile medium, which eliminates the possibility of contaminate microorganisms.

Not really. The Nature study quoted in reference to this shows that they found multi-strain products who used subspecies that were mislabeled, not contaminated by random microorganisms. That is quite a different thing. The idea behind the multi-strain probiotics is to increase gut diversity, people who take those aren’t really concerned with different subspecies. They are all FDA approved as human safe GRAS.

Personally I love consuming fermented foods that I make myself which have been used for a long long time in human history, but mainly because i like fermented foods, the beneficial bacteria are just an added side benefit.

I’m all for healthy skepticism, but it really needs to be a two way skepticism. If you don’t believe junk science articles or bogus health claims, why for the love of god would you quote equally junk articles that debunk or make bogus counter claims. Isn’t the job of a skeptic to follow the facts and evidence, not just be equally ignorant in opposition?


Exactly! When I was undergoing an antibiotic regimen, my doctor recommended I get a lot of probiotics in my diet, “like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods,” and I said “hey, that’s what the inside of my fridge already looks like, cool!” I also discovered the sour, vaguely ropey qualities of kefir. Mmm. Ropey.

I think the first step is for blog authors to try writing less clickbaity, factually-incorrect headlines that don’t even represent the article they headline.

Foods with live active cultures are awesome!