Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 08 2015

How to Take Care of Your Gut: The New and Improved Primal Flora

By Mark Sisson
83 Comments

Anytime I discuss supplements, some readers balk. For them, if Grok didn’t do it, we shouldn’t either. And you know what? If that describes you, I get where you’re coming from. Ideally, optimal health develops organically — from the food we eat, the sun, sleep, and movement patterns we follow, the lifestyles we develop. But we don’t live in Grok’s world any more. We don’t have access to the same nutrient-dense plants and animals he did, and we face entirely new stressors and endure novel deficits previous generations never have. These new challenges call for new solutions, and supplements can be one of these solutions. As a supplement maker, I always take cues from Grok’s behaviors, physiology, and requirements and use modern day science to produce quality products. I’m not just making them to sell something. I’m meeting a need and filling a deficit. Usually my own!

The funny thing about science is that it’s a moving target. It’s evolving, and if the science evolves, so too must the supplements based on its findings. To stay abreast of it all, I’m always researching and listening to advisors and other experts to make sure that my formulations are optimal. Gut health as a health topic has exploded in recent years, as has the amount of research being done, and what we know about how the foods we eat, behaviors we do, and supplements we take affect our guts has evolved. I recently updated the Primal Flora formulation to reflect the latest developments. It now contains an (almost) entirely new set of probiotic strains. Below I’ll explain what these are, how you can benefit, and share my own experience using the new formulation.

But first, I need to explain a few concepts. You are probably aware that most common probiotics and fermented milk products contain primarily lactobacillus and bifidobacterium species. The reason I elected not to focus on those is because these species are already very prevalent in our guts – there are probably over 20 trillion – so adding even 20 billion more CFU (colony forming unit) is only boosting the population by one one-thousandth. And that’s if they even survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach (which most probiotics don’t). Instead, what I wanted was a number of well-researched species that I could deliver to the GI tract where they could colonize and do their unique jobs. To do this, most had to be what we call “spore formers” that remain dormant until they reach the appropriate parts of the gut, undamaged by stomach acid. These needed to be the species and strains that were proven effective in years of solid research, in many cases signaling to other bacteria to increase or decrease. Finally, to make the formula even more effective, I put them in “time release” veggie capsules that won’t disintegrate until past the stomach. Now, instead of delivering 40 or 60 Billion colony forming units that are DOA, we can deliver a smaller dosage of far more potent (and living) probiotics. In fact, less may be more in this case.

So, what strains are new in Primal Flora?

Bacillus subtilis

Ever eat natto, the sticky, pungent Japanese fermented soybean? Despite its unique smell, texture, taste, and soy-ness, I’ve grown to enjoy natto — all thanks to Bacillus subtilis. When you inoculate soybeans with that particular strain, great things happen. Vitamin K2 production ramps up (natto is the best source of vitamin K2, a nutrient important in bone mineralization, cancer prevention, and protection from heart disease). The soy proteins grow less allergenic. The soy is transformed into a beneficial nutritional powerhouse.

Turns out that Bacillus subtilis may have profound effects as a probiotic in our bodies, too; combined with antibiotics, it’s been shown to lower urinary pH and reduce infections in patients with stones-associated UTIs. Perhaps most beneficial are its abilities to hydrolyze nutrients, convert antinutrients to beneficial compounds, manufacture vitamins, and make allergenic proteins less so:

  • It produces phytase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down phytic acid into inositol and improving mineral bioavailability.
  • It converts vitamin K (the version found in leafy greens that’s less biovailable to us) into vitamin K2 (the version found in natto, goose liver, and aged cheese that’s far more bioavailable).
  • It can hydrolyze wheat proteins, soy (as mentioned above), and casein, potentially making them less allergenic.

Bacillus subtilis is omnipresent in soil, so it likely populated the ancestral human gut and definitely belongs in yours.

Bacillus clausii

In Europe, Bacillus clausii supplementation has gained notoriety as an effective therapy for patients with diarrhea (including antibiotic-related diarrhea), hay fever, and IBS, and as a preventive measure against upper respiratory tract infections. Bacillus clausii may even help treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (PDF). These wide-ranging effects are likely due to its ability to boost innate (or “general”) immunity, and several human trials suggest major efficacy:

  • Among kids attending germ factories (also known as daycare), Bacillus clausii reduced the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.
  • In patients being treated for H. pylori infections, Bacillus clausii supplementation ameliorated antibiotic-related side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and gut pain.
  • In hay fever sufferers, taking Bacillus clausii modulated their immune response.

Lactobacillus plantarum

If you regularly consume kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, or traditional milk ferments made by Masai tribesmen, you’re getting Lactobacillus plantarum. But many people don’t eat those foods. I know I certainly get lax about making kraut or drinking kefir, and the fact that this particular strain of probiotic bacteria shows up in such wildly disparate traditional foods made me investigate it as a potential addition to Primal Flora. Needless to say, it made the cut for a number of reasons:

Saccharomyces boulardii

Rather than a bacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii is a strain of non-pathogenic yeast with decades of use in the treatment of inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases, both acute and chronic. Acute diseases include:

  • Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
  • Clostridium difficile infection
  • Acute diarrhea
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Enteral nutrition-related diarrhea
  • Traveler’s diarrhea (name a diarrhea, it probably helps resolve it)
  • Helicobacter pylori infection

Chronic diseases include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Parasitic infections, like amoebic colitis, giardiasis, and blastocystis hominis
  • HIV-related diarrhea

Researchers have confirmed several mechanisms that might explain the broad efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii:

  • Modulates the host (that’s you!) immune response, both locally and systemically.
  • Prevents pathogens from adhering to the intestinal lining.
  • Regulates microbial homeostasis.
  • Stabilizes gut barrier function.

Those are the four new strains I’ve included in the new formulation, but my research also re-confirmed the utility of two of the strains from the previous version: Bifidobacteria bifidus and Bacillus coagulans.

Bifidobacteria bifidus

Every team needs a bruiser, a guy so formidable that he intimidates the opposing players with the mere threat of a physical encounter. The New York Knicks had Charles Oakley (and later Anthony Mason), the Pistons had Rick Mahorn, and every hockey team has a designated enforcer. In your gut, Bifidobacteria bifidus can play a similar role: it’s really good at adhering to the intestinal lining, keeping out the pathogens and protecting against their negative effects. That’s probably why it’s considered an essential human gut commensal starting from infancy (assuming breastfeeding).

In addition, it feeds on gut mucus, which sounds undesirable, but this prompts the secretion of additional mucus and the total amount protecting the gut increases. After injury to the gut lining, Bifidobacteria bifidus can repair the damage and strengthen the intestinal tight junctions. It’s also been shown to alleviate IBS and improve quality of life in patients suffering from IBS.

Bacillus coagulans

Many probiotics cannot survive the harsh conditions of the stomach and never reach the gut. Bacillus coagulans, however, is extremely tolerant of acidic conditions and survives transit to reach and colonize the gut (PDF). Once there, there’s evidence that it can do some pretty interesting stuff for us.

  • In patients with IBS, a Bacillus coagulans supplement improved bloating and abdominal pain.
  • In a small pilot trial of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, bacillus coagulans supplementation resulted in several clinical improvements. Compared to the placebo group, patients who got the supplement improved their ability to walk two miles, lowered their C-reactive protein levels, were able to participate in daily activities to a greater degree, and reported less disability.
  • Four weeks of using Bacillus coagulans also improved GI symptoms in adults with really bad gas after meals.
  • Bacillus coagulans may modulate the immune response. One study found that the immune response to a viral challenge was upregulated upon supplementation with bacillus coagulans.
  • It also secretes lactic acid itself, which lowers the pH of the gut and drives out pathogens that can’t tolerate the acidity.

Bacillus coagulans practices “sporulation,” meaning it reproduces once introduced into the gut. This ability seems to grant anti-microbial activity against certain pathogens, as well as help support and bolster its own populations.

As with all my products, I designed Primal Flora first and foremost for myself and my family. I am constantly seeking new ways to help heal my gut after 47 years of not being so kind to it. I have used the new Primal Flora for several months now and am extremely pleased with the results. I know you will be as well. Of course, in the unlikely event that you’re not happy with it, Primal Flora comes with my unconditional 30-day guarantee.

If you decide to give Primal Flora a shot, let me know how it works out for you. I’m really excited about this new formulation and I can’t wait to hear how it’s helping people.

Thanks for reading, everyone! Take care!

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83 thoughts on “How to Take Care of Your Gut: The New and Improved Primal Flora”

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  1. Question: does his require refrigeration? When ordered, will it ship with an ice pack, or some other method of chilling while in transit?

  2. I just checked the ingredients list – why does it have potato starch?! I have serious joint pain when I eat potatoes.
    (And Wenchypoo, the product info says no refridgeration required).

      1. I know about the prebiotics – I am willing to try, since I have been potato free for a while. This sounds like a good product.
        I also make a yummy homemad saurkraut and kombucha, but someone told me that I should also take the pills to populate my gut.
        I have taken some pills, and I feel good in general, but I think it doesnt hurt to try new things.

        1. Also, a potato pre-biotic implies the probiotics are using it for food. That means you’re inoculating your gut with bacteria that can process potatoes. It may actually help reduce sensitivity as time goes on.

    1. Search for “resistant starch.” It passes through the stomach to the large intestine where it feeds your gut flora.

    2. I find it interesting the number of people saying, “Oh no, it couldn’t possibly be the potato starch.” Hey folks, some people can’t eat ANYTHING derived from potatoes, no matter how small the amount and even if it is an excellent prebiotic for other people.

      1. “some people can’t eat ANYTHING derived from potatoes, no matter how small the amount”

        Well, that’s simply false. Dose is always an issue. There’s a level of lead, arsenic, and even cyanide that anyone can tolerate (and there’s arguable hormetic benefits from small doses of many “toxins”). And thousands of other poisonous compounds that naturally occur. Most people likely ingest small amounts of potato via cross contamination without even knowing it.

        But, anyone can easily test for themselves. Since you can’t separate out the probiotics from the PS, it’s easy to make some PS at home.

        Grate an inch off a raw russet into a bowl, add water, mash up a bit with a fork, strain through a wire mesh. Let it settle and you’ll see sediment at the bottom. Pour off the water, carefully rinse, pour off the rest of the water and let dry. Then, take an amount equivalent to a veggie cap (about 1/16th of a tsp, maybe). Do it in the morning after an overnight fast, with a glass of water. Wait a few hours to see if anything untoward happens.

        If it does, then perhaps you can be sure you’re super sensitive, can avoid it at any cost going forward, and claim “Bulletproof” status.

        1. Richard, you’re confusing the unintended ingestion of small amounts of poisonous compounds with anaphylactic shock, which can result from eating something one is highly allergic to. It can occur with any food, drug, insect sting, etc., and it can be deadly for certain people. Your suggestion for sensitive persons to try a little to see what happens is irresponsible.

        2. “Richard, you’re confusing the unintended ingestion of small amounts of poisonous compounds with anaphylactic shock, which can result from eating something one is highly allergic to.”

          Oh, I don’t think so. I’ll bet that the only instances of anaphylaxis you’ll be able to find in the literature relates to munching down on a complete raw potato, not a cooked one, nor just the rinsed of solanine RS2 granules.

          Here’s a case of a 4-year old who did have an anaphylactic reaction to raw potato, but not cooked:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11206243

          “This report describes a 4-year-old with raw potato-induced anaphylaxis. He rapidly developed urticaria, angioedema, respiratory distress, vomiting and diarrhea after biting into a raw potato that was being used for painting in preschool. Review of systems is significant for viral-induced wheezing, but no symptoms suggestive of seasonal allergic rhinitis were evident. His mother has a history of seasonal allergic rhinitis and contact urticaria with raw potato. Skin testing to commercial potato extract was negative and skin testing to fresh potato by the prick + prick method was markedly positive. Skin testing to birch tree was negative. An open challenge to a small amount of cooked potato was negative.”

          So, no reaction to cooked, nor to “commercial potato extract,” which was most likely either potato flour (whole peeled potato cooked, dried, ground into flour) or much less worrisome, just the starch granule.

          Hey, consider at least trying to back up your assertions with some references to the literature.

        3. There’s a previous comment awaiting moderation, but to add a bit, one thing you might be missing here, Shary, it that anaphylaxis is most typically associated with proteins, of which there are about 100,000 “varieties.” Peanut allergy is a function of the types of protein in peanuts.

          As I recall, starches come in about 50 different structures. Raw potatoes have proteins. Potato starch doesn’t. Cooked potatoes must either transform the small amounts of proteins or, it’s getting rid of the glycoalkaloids that are causing the problem.

          You’re going to need to dig into the literature. You don’t get to get away with mass conflation of things that are distinctive.

      2. Exactly! I can’t even peel a potato without a reaction. Might as well tell one allergic to peanuts it’s okay to have just one…for the protein.

        1. In all fairness to myself, the original poster said they had “serious joint pain when they eat potatoes”, so I doubt he/she has as serious an allergy as you do. I’ve never heard of such a severe potato allergy before, do you know if it’s common?

        1. Potato Starch seems to be worse than potatoes at least in my experience. I react as badly to a tiny bit of potato starch in a pill as I do to a few french fries. In fact, in my family, several family members have been able to eat potatoes but not the starch because of the joint & muscle pain that the starch caused. It seems that the starch is concentrating something that is irritating.

  3. I have an issue (I call it sticky stool) that requires that I consume a fair amount of psyllium fiber to ensure smooth stools. Do any of these new probiotics help with stool consistency?

    1. Sticky poos are often related to salicylate or amine intolerances. The FedUp website has heaps of helpful info on this

    2. “Sticky stool” was what we called “Peanut butter Poo” when my son was little….. Needless to say we were always happy to see “muffins” unless those little guys rolled out and on to the floor of course.

      Yeah, we named poo, it’s what we do. Didn’t want the “Peanut butter poo” nor the “butterscotch pudding”.

      1. Hmm. I might have to start doing this at work. Our sense of humor is like that- I’m a Laboratory Technician and working with all colors & textures of poo is part of the job…. {formed stool for a c diff test? Rejected!}

  4. @HopelessDreamer – many (most?) probiotics come with some type of starchy ingredient, which acts as a “prebiotic.” Prebiotics help probiotics grow and remain in your digestive system.

    I myself have inflammatory arthritis (AS), and am staying fully clear of starch, and have tried a probiotic without any starch content (over many months, on and off) , but I can’t say I have noticed a difference in overall health, GI, enthesitis, or otherwise. Currently I’m trying out a cup of fermented, unpasteurized Sauerkraut daily (for a proboitic effect).

    Starch tolerance amongst people with inflammatory arthritis varies, just like the disease symptoms in these people. Some people do very well with probiotics, even with the small amount of prebiotic starch added, while some don’t seem to see much positive effect from them.

    I think it’s interesting (and great!) that Bacillus subtilis has been added to “Primal Flora.”

    1. I am allergic to the potato, in any form, in any amount. The starch isn’t the problem. Where it is derived is the problem. I, like Hopeless Dreamer, am allergic to potatoes and therefore cannot eat potato starch. Not even a little.

    2. I am allergic to the potato, in any form, in any amount. The starch isn’t the problem. Where it is derived is the problem. I, like Hopeless Dreamer, am allergic to potatoes and therefore cannot eat potato starch. Not even a little. It is the same as telling someone allergic to peanuts that only the dust from the peanut won’t cause a problem. The post below yours addresses the issue further. And Mark replies stating the potato starch is only added as “filler” to round out the capsule fill weight, since the probiotics don’t take up all the available space.

      1. “It is the same as telling someone allergic to peanuts that only the dust from the peanut won’t cause a problem.”

        Well first, the principle problem for people with potatoes is solanine (at about 8mg per 100g flesh), is water soluble. The processing of the PS washes away the solanine leaving just RS2 granules that would be difficult to distinguish from any other RS2 granule.

        At any rate, ironically, the fix for these various food sensitivities is in the gut biome itself. Glad you mentioned peanut allergies.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/01/a-possible-treatment-for-peanut-allergies/385045/

        “Using a mix of peanut protein and bacteria found in yogurt, pediatric immunologists from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute temporarily treated 80 percent of their allergy-stricken patients, they reported this month in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. ‘These findings provide the first vital step towards developing a cure for peanut allergy and possibly other food allergies,” lead author Mimi Tang said to The Guardian. “Many of the children and families believe it has changed their lives, they’re very happy, they feel relieved.'”

        Or, don’t bother with it. Not coming at you personally, simply pointing out some stuff for those who might wish to dig deeper and experiment more.

        Anecdotally, as one of the “pioneers” in using potato starch to supplement resistant starch, there were a number of folks sensitive to it for whatever reason (in high doses, usually). Some got over it via a combo of small doses of PS and probiotics (sound familiar?). One elderly lady from Australia would get RA flareups with the PS, but now uses PS and probiotics to keep the flareups at bay. But, it was an uphill battle for her, starting off with about 1 tsp per day, as I recall. Now she can take 4 TBS.

        YMMV, obviously.

  5. Man, the original Primal Flora was a godsend. Worked wonders. I immediately set up a subscription.

    When the new stuff showed up, I just assumed it was a change in packaging. But right away my bathroom experiences took a turn for the worst. I checked the ingredients and sadly realized that potato starch had been added.

    I experimented with potato starch when Mark first started writing about it, and after a few weeks I knew it wasn’t for me. Not a single “smooth” experience.

    Has anyone else had issues with resistant starches? I really wish I could buy the old, starch-less Primal Flora. I’m currently trying to recreate it by combining probiotics from Amazon … no success as of yet.

    1. Dan, sorry about your current situation. The whole point here is to improve the “bathroom experience.” The amount of potato starch in the new Flora is minuscule (like small milligram numbers). It’s only added as “filler” to round out the capsule fill weight, since the probiotics don’t take up all the available space. I use potato starch as opposed to other more objectionable fillers, but that shouldn’t be causing any issues. Have you called the office? M

      1. I called the office and got a refund, no issue there!

        That is a pretty minuscule amount, though the similarity between “bathroom experiences” here and when I first tried potato starch was stark.

        Perhaps it’s something else new included that’s not agreeing with me. Regardless, it’s probably time I saw a GI doc!

    2. I have had similar problems with various other probiotics of different species. I found, especially when trying something new, it worked best for me if I opened the capsule and poured out half, or less, into a bit of applesauce and eat that. Maybe that removes the protective capsule, but I usually can work up to the full capsule slowly. An integrative MD suggested I try that and it helped.

  6. “When the new stuff showed up, I just assumed it was a change in packaging. But right away my bathroom experiences took a turn for the worst. I checked the ingredients and sadly realized that potato starch had been added.”

    Dan, consider that you might be confounding variables, here. You didn’t just ingest 10mg (like 100th of a tsp) of raw potato starch. You also introduced a shitload (har har) of potentially foreign invaders. Or, minimally, undocumented aliens.

    I myself have had various bathroom issues when introducing high doses of new colonists into the eco-system. They don’t operate by Constitutions. Complete anarchists, and sometimes it takes a while to various truce balances to be reached.

    1. well said richard and we all need to remember that there is a process and adjusting as the body heals and gets stronger and stronger 🙂

  7. Hey Mark – No lactobacillus rhamnosus? Also wondering if you’ve changed your mind on the efficacy of homeostatic soil organisms?

  8. So I’ll be the first anti probiotic responder to this article. I’m sure there are plenty of people that can find a positive response from a capsulized probiotic but I believe from personal experience that if you are disciplined to eat only a primal diet, there is no need for these supplements. I’m 55 years old and have been eating strictly primal for 2 years now. Prior to eating primal I had significant gut issues. Since starting primal all my issues have disappeared. My immune system is phenomenal, haven’t had as much as a sniffle in a year and a half and I’ve been around plenty of people with the flu in that time. To me that proves how good my gut health is. My probiotic comes from eating fermented foods and drinks such as apple cider vinegar with the mother which I drink daily. I don’t take any supplements, I just stay disciplined to eat only primal foods. Again, it’s not going to work with everyone because most people are not disciplined enough and it’s easier to buy into the supplement craze.

    1. I don’t think it’s a matter of people not being disciplined. I take a probiotic because I don’t like fermented foods and don’t want to drink apple cider vinegar and the like.

    2. So, and I ask this seriously, what do you suggest for someone like me. I had a round of antibiotics. Did a ubiome test 2 years later. I have no bifido strains. Zero. Nothing. Not at the lowest levels of detection. I can’t get that from fermented food.

      In fact, the only one on the list above that I have is L. plantarum, which I get from the kraut that I make (S. Boulardii being an exception since I don’t know given ubiome doesn’t detect yeast).

      Feeding the right bugs is great and all, but they have to be there in the first place to get fed.

      1. Lookup up the Genestra HMF line. There are a few different ones. These are the highest quality probiotics that I know of (nothing against Mark’s line which I have not tried). There is a reason its called HMF (Human Micro Flora). The key word being “Human”. Do the math on what I mean…

    3. Yeah, I wish I could be as disciplined as you. That would be awesome. Unfortunately, I am just a un-disciplined, supplement-craze addled moron. In fact, I only do what is easy. You know me, my individual health needs, and my life circumstances so well! If only I could be more like you, and less like “most people” who you have also described with uncanny accuracy. You must be so proud of yourself!

  9. Quick question – this sounds amazing. … For people with diarrhoea. I have IBS but am constipation dominant and it pretty much rules my life. Would this formula offer potential benefits for people struggling with constipation? My fear is it might contribute to the issue as it seems to offer a lot in the way of forming more solid stools for those with diarrhoea.

    1. My niece had excellent results eating 1-2 boiled peeled white potatoes in the morning – no salt, no oils of any kind. Some people say to have potatoes before bed. I have been eating them day and night – raw, boiled, baked lol and feel amazing.

    2. I’ve never had IBS, but have had chronic constipation, and what helped most for me was switching to a primal eating style. When it comes to the gut, so many issues are caused by imbalances in the microbiome inhabiting it. Filling your gut with some ‘good guys’ would be unlikely to make any problems worse, but has the potential to make many problems better.

      1. Hi there. I agree that the microbiome is the key, not only for IBS, but for many health issue and probiotics will help but for long term it makes sense to provide the food that makes the microbiome self sustaining and that is prebiotics. Resistant starch seems to be a biggie here as in potatoes, root veggies etc. Also foods that contain inuline ie onion garlic radishes. Fiberous foods. There is also some research that indicates that high fat diets may inhibit the microbiome. Sorry, no link. Just some thoughts.

      2. Hi M.

        Was just wondering whether you were taking or still taking potato starch for constipation? I’ve been on a paleo type diet for more than 1 year now and my constipation problem has not been solved. I still eat dairy (kefir, butter and sometimes cheese, raw if I can find it) but apart from that no grains, gluten, and very rarely some legumes (soaked for more than 48 hours and cooked well). I am taking the Prescript Assist and Primal defence in terms of probiotics and FOS and potato starch as prebiotics (started with these two last ones about a month ago), but they have not helped with my bathroom habits. Gas and bloating yes, but not a daily stool. Thank you.

  10. Just wondering if this could be used for kids? I have a 5 year old with recurrent upper respiratory issues, so would be interested in giving it a whirl. Could the capsules be emptied into yoghurt or something to make it easier to give to a child?

    1. I second this question! As my children now attend a Petri dish, I mean preschool, I’d love to decrease the number of respiratory infections we deal with!

      1. So just a quick update – I had an online chat with a rep over on the Primal Fuel product page. It was kind of vague to be honest, however the upshot was that the products are “not for children”.

    2. The capsule is what ensures that the strains pass the stomach and enter the gut. If you remove the capsule they will most likely be dead on arrival just as Mark stated in the article.

    3. Yes, Mark. If you don’t have a child version, would you consider making one?

  11. well this is interesting info and it aligns with what I have been researching on how the “right” probiotics can help people heal and help fortify immunity -now I do agree with what Roger wrote above, but for some healing folks – well we need help – we need “a bruiser” of a probiotic to kick some “arse” against the microbes that were not meant to be there…. and for some of us there is so much repair that needs to happen we have to have help as we clean our and rebuild our inner terrain.

    also, I was pleasantly surprised to find your price is under 30 bucks – cos that is in my price range and most of the really good brands of probiotics are in this price range- so I plan to officially try some when my current bottles of probiotics are gone.

  12. Great stuff! Thank you. ordered my monthly supply! when is the best time to take probiotics? with food , without food???? am, pm?

    Thanks!

    1. Ideally, with food, but I often take them on an empty stomach if I have forgotten to take them otherwise. Still works great.

  13. Looks well researched. When my current bottle of probiotics is finished will order a bottle of this. Think I will start with half a cap for a week based on what I am reading here, just to be safe.

  14. Do you think this product is okay for those avoiding nightshades? Referring to the potato starch ingredient..

  15. Sounds like an exciting formula! Can they be taken close to meals or do they need to be taken on an empty stomach? Thanks!

  16. Can the primal formula go bad because of long overseas shipping?
    Can the bacteria somehow get activated & infect the body with countless diseases?

  17. I started taking them 3 weeks ago so I don’t know if I should see results by now. I chose them because there were no histamine increasing strains and even one histamine lowering strain. I can’t swallow pills that big though. I hope that they reach my gut even if I open them because it’s really pricey 1$ USD per pill.

    1. To quote the article:
      “Finally, to make the formula even more effective, I put them in “time release” veggie capsules that won’t disintegrate until past the stomach.”

      The only strain that will most likely survive if you open the cap is “Bacillus coagulans”, and since you open the cap you are most likely wasting money since the different strains will likely be dead when reaching the gut.

      1. Thanks, but I’m not too sure. At the online store they say: “Prima Flora uses acid- and bile-resistant strains that survive through stomach […] These strains have been isolated over years of research to resist digestion and more effectively repopulate intestinal flora.” so I thought I was okay even if the cap was big… Also, they talk about eating dirt. I don’t think that Grok ate dirt in a fancy capsule.

  18. Can someone one with a trained eye comment on how this compares to Prescript Assist?

  19. I have not good experiences in the past with powerful probiotics. I end up with days of cramping and discomfort, even when starting with a small dose. Should I be concerned about experiencing these symptoms when starting this product? Is there a guide for how to start taking this product so you don’t have symptoms like this? Thanks.

    1. I can only say that I have no side effect at all with it and it’s first for me. I can’t eat yogourt, sourdough bread, soy sauce, vinegar and Bio K+ but I can take these. I open them though before I take them so maybe I just kill everyone and that’s why I don’t have side effects…

  20. I used Primal Flora (original formula) for months with moderate/good results but felt the strains were a bit thin. I did quite a bit of research and scoured the Primal/Paleo community sites and zero’d in on Prescript Assist. I made teh switch looking forward to the potent blend of strains (dirt dwellers, etc.) to get me to the next level of gut health. It never happened and it felt more like I started a civil war in my gut. I could never quite tolerate Prescript Assist and after two months I went back to Primal Flora. When the new Primal Flora started arriving (I have auto-ship), I was excited to see the new formula. I’ll have to say that its extremely tolerable and I’ve seen vast improvements in regularity, more complete digestion, less gas, and better tolerance of cheat meals. This stuff is legit!!! Thanks Mark for striving towards continuous improvement!

  21. I’m not knocking probiotics, or this product, just have a ton of questions…

    1. This has 6 strains, how many strains are in a well curated gut?

    2. How good are current tests? What is the status as far as optimal composition? When things go awry, is it that certain species are actually absent, or merely undetectable.

    3. If in an unhealthy gut beneficial species are underrepresented, is it better to take probiotics or prebiotics.

    4. Why the hostility to farting? I’ve seen researchers declare that farting = fermenting. If you’re not farting, are you really producing short-chain fatty acids? “Other bugs eat all the gas.” Maybe, but sounds like wishful thinking.

    5. Can you have a healthy gut without eating FODMAPs?

    6. What is the actual survivability of everything, in supplements and fermented foods?

    I haven’t gotten into the paper-chase yet. I guess I’ll reluctantly start. It’s early in the game. For most points supported by research, I bet I could find an opposing citation (either because it’s misinterpreted, very unintentionally wrong, or in very few instances intentionally wrong). First thing I’ll look at is the tape measure. Yeah, yeah…NGS. What I want to see is somebody drop a deuce and send it out to 4-5 preeminent gut research institutions…and have them come up with the same result.

    Science is consensus building over time. I shudder to think how much they’ll discover about the gut over the next decade, and kind of cringe at the amount of information we have to go on right now.

    Thanks Mark, I wouldn’t know anything about any of this without this site.

  22. Perhaps my Google-Fu is failing me again and it’s already out there somewhere but I’d love to see The Sisson’s response to the anti-HSO folks out there. It seems the vast majority of the ancestral folks support HSOs but I don’t remember ever seeing any of the bigger names in the scene ever provide a detailed response to these criticisms. For instance, what is the real world chance of bacillus subtilis causing an opportunistic infection?

  23. This formulation has had much more noticeable impacts for me than the previous one. 4 important areas: mood, energy, less appetite even though I had that dialed in, and we’ll bathroom stuff.

    Enjoyed reading the science behind it. So hard these days not to be ‘glutened’ from time to time. Or rouge industrial vegetable oiled. So nice to get some help.

    I want to point out for those who might know you get substantial savings on supplements when you complete certification. 35% off, even more if you buy ‘a case’. I’ve already saved a huge chunk of the course cost.

    1. “mood, energy, less appetite even though I had that dialed in, and we’ll bathroom stuff.”

      Good for you, Larry. These would be on my list as well (from taking other HSO/SBO for a while) and in particular, a kind of mood that = CALMER, less prone to rage. At 54, I’m pretty tuned in to how I typically react off-handle to various things and for the life of me, it’s been hard to “be myself” sometimes. Not all the time. I’m not suggesting that it mind-control alters your essential personality. Just better. In terms of less appetite, that = less irrational cravings. I’ve been damn surprised how much food from 1st helpings I’ll leave on a plate, anymore.

      But as always, YMMV. I’ll bet age is a big factor. Probably, the older you are and less accustomed to more health-conscious eating in whatever paradigm in the past, the longer it may take to begin noticing this stuff. Like I said, I’ve been doing the spore formers for a while, maybe two years and it’s only in the last few months that I finally began to notice big differences where I didn’t seem to always be “myself” in the same way I’ve been accustomed for decades.

      Pretty amazing stuff when you consider the implications.

  24. “So just a quick update – I had an online chat with a rep over on the Primal Fuel product page. It was kind of vague to be honest, however the upshot was that the products are “not for children.”

    And all the wile, hominiod offlings have been eating dirt if you let them, for millions of years.

    Have a laf:

    https://youtu.be/_-CifFoXOiE

    You’re a parent. It’s perfectly normal (to be an obsessed eff-tard). Look, I get it. I have dogs and I’m often embarrassed by my hovering. It’s because I can, can afford to do it. It’s a dog. If I’m enabling lifelong dependency, well, it’s baked in the cake of having a pet you donate a carefree life to in the exchange.

    But at a point, freely operating companies will keep exploiting your irrational fears over and over and over. I prefer to salute them for that, and never ever let them get a penny.

    I think that sort of obsession ought be left to pets and that you are harming your children to take the same approach.

    I understand this is about a probiotic that’s not for children. Why? Children, if you let than, invest more stuff from dirty floors and dirty ground than any humans, and we sit in hubris as” protectors,” as we sanitize every fucking surface and bathe in anti-bacterial soaps and shampoos?

    The human race is racing to laughing stock.

    Be sure and read the label. I’m sure it’s totally because Mark did tests on kids and determined you should not by any means give it to them. I’m sure it has nothing to do with living in a land of the free that’s not anything like a land of the free in any respect whatsoever. And so just like in some places, a hostage has to say the right think for the camera for some dispensation, perhaps Mark has to sway the right think on a label.

  25. Does anyone know if these can be used for dogs? Our dog had just had a nail ripped off and had to go on 7 days of antibiotics, which I’m bummed about. Thought something like this could help build her gut bacteria back up.

  26. Love the product, can you do anything re the shipping cost to international destinations or sell via iherb ?

    Us aussies in our far off land would greatly benefit 🙂

  27. I’ve been taking the new Primal Flora for several days, and there is a big difference in my constipation issues. So far, I’ve been going every day as opposed to every other day or so – which was an improvement for me, but until now the daily evacuation – really, we need to find better terms for this most normal and important human function! – was but a dream. I hope this continues.

    My question is: is Primal Flora to be taken daily indefinitely? I’ve heard Mark say he doesn’t like taking anything daily – such as potato starch, which I do consume daily. Just wondering. Thanks!

  28. I haven’t tried it yet but I like the look your ingredient list! If you update the formula again though, any chance you could add “Bacillus Indicus HU36” into the mix?

    Ps: I second BC’s request of selling through iherb!

  29. Hey Mark I went to purchase primal flora and noticed it is no longer available. What happened and what’s the substitute?

    1. It’s temporarily out of stock, but will be back on the shelves soon (shooting for the end of the month). Thanks for asking!

  30. You mention Bifidus, but all the links are directed to articles regarding Bifidum. Are bifidum and bifidus the same?

  31. Hello! I´ve been doing a thorough research on ncbi/pubmed about bacillus clausii and bacillus subtillis, and couldn’t find any evidence that both do not raise histamine levels. There is one research that points out that some strains of Bacillus Subtillis decreas the histamine content in food, whereas there are others that increase it. On Bacillus Clausii, I could’t find anything relating to histamine, other than that it decreased rhiniitis scores in children and adults (that does not prove it lowers or is neutral in histamine, as lactobacillus reuteri has some anti-allergic properties but does raise histamine). Can you possibly provide us scientific evidence that these sporal strains in Primal Flora DO NOT raise serum histamine?