There are a lot of ways to communicate that you have a high
quality product. One way is to charge a lot of money for it.
There are some probiotic vendors out there who are proud of
their probiotic bacteria to the tune of $2.00 a capsule. $60
for a bottle of 30 capsules. Maybe you like to spend that kind
of money. We're betting you don't. You shouldn't have to pay
prescription drug prices for high quality probiotics.
We choose to pick on the Natren people because they do have
some very high quality bacteria-only products that we think they
charge way too much for .
The other reason we pick on Natren is because by our reckoning
they can't have been reading the recent science papers regarding
chicory FOS (fructooligosaccharides). Our read of their marketing
materials leaves us thinking we all should be fearing that this
bacteria fermenting sugar may not be good for us. The science
we have been reading, (and
share some of at the bottom of this page) has
us believing just the opposite. FOS extracted from chicory roots
may be the very best long term supplement to be using in order
to maintain a rich flora of resident symbiotic bacterias. It
seems quite clear to us that if what you really want is a probiotic
full of fermenting bacteria, you want FOS and bacteria blended
Natren is so down on FOS, and so up on everyone taking their
very expensive probiotics, every day, for life -- you'll have
to draw your own conclusions.
It is not right for us to judge the hearts of others. But
we can clearly express for ourselves regarding our fairly priced,
high quality probiotics"we want to assist our customers
in restoring and maintaining a healthy resident flora, and view
our products as tools for achieving that goal."
Here is our "Natren Challenge":
Order one of our probiotic formulas blended with chicory FOS.
After you receive it, send us in one of your empty $60 Natren
bottles, or the empty bottle from any other probiotic that has
no FOS for which you paid more than $50 for 30 capsules (along
with proof of price), and a copy of your CFS Nutrition invoice.
We'll send you back a rebate check.
Here are the rebates (limit 1 per customer,
this is a limited time offer):
CFS Nutrition Ecology
Kit - $20 rebate
Feed 'n Seed
Powder - $10 rebate
Feed 'n Seed
Enteric Capsules - $10 rebate
We are confident that you are going to be doubly glad. Glad
you listened to us and purchased our fermenting probiotic formula,
and glad to receive your rebate as a reward for changing to a
reasonably priced probiotic.
President, CFS Nutrition
Science Supporting Chicory FOS
Fructooligosaccharides and inulin, commonly known as FOS,
are complex sugars found in most fruits and vegetables. Some
plant materials such as onions and asparagus have relatively
high contents. The roots of the hardy and prolific chicory plant
have an especially high concentration of FOS which make them
an attractive source for commercial refining of FOS.
It has been shown in humans and animals that supplementing
with chicory FOS selectively ferments the resident lactobacillus
and bifidobacterias significantly increasing their numbers at
the expense of less desirable bacterias such as bacteroides.
Administration of probiotics alone, and administration of probiotics
with FOS both show comparable increase in desired bacterias in
feces during the supplementation phase. However, after supplementation
is stopped only the subjects given both probiotics and FOS continue
to demonstrate the higher counts of desired bacterias.
More recent work done in the following article starts out
on a new footing. These researchers have established the ability
to ferment FOS as a defining attribute for a probiotic bacteria
being suitable for recolonizing the intestinal tract, and hence
inclusion in a probiotic formula.
Fermentation of fructooligosaccharides by lactic acid bacteria
Appl Environ Microbiol 2000 Jun;66(6):2682-4
"Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria were screened
of their ability to ferment fructooligosaccharides (FOS) on MRS
agar. Of 28 strains of lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria
examined, 12 of 16 Lactobacillus strains and 7 of 8 Bifidobacterium
strains fermented FOS. Only strains that gave a positive reaction
by the agar method reached high cell densities in broth containing
"Recently, it has been suggested that the ability of
probiotic bacteria to ferment oligosaccharides may be an especially
important characteristic. This is because the availability of
carbohydrates that escape metabolism and adsorption in the small
intestine have a major influence on the microflora that become
established in the colon".
In the next article the authors wanted to get a closer look
at the selective fermenting dynamics of FOS on human bacterias
as found in feces. They continually cultured with FOS and discovered
that both lactobacillus and bifidobacteria selectively fermented
the FOS and substantially grew in number relative to the other
fecal bacterias. At the point that lactic acid dominated the
Ph of the culture medium the preferential shift switched away
from the bifidobacterias toward the lactobacillus. These findings
are consistent with the observed stratification of lactobacillus
being prevalent in the stomach and small intestine and bifidobacteria
being prevalent in the colon.
Continuous culture selection of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli
from human faecal samples using fructooligosaccharide as selective
J Appl Microbiol 1998 Oct;85(4):769-77
"The human large intestine contains a large and diverse
population of bacteria. Certain genera, namely Bifidobacterium
and Lactobacillus, are thought to exert health-promoting effects.
Prebiotics such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) have been shown
to stimulate the growth of endogenous bifidobacteria. In this
study, changes of lactic acid producing bacteria in continuous
culture fermentors (semi-defined, anaerobic medium containing
5 g 1(-1) FOS, dilution rate of 0.1 h-1, pH 5.5) were followed
over a 21 d period after inoculation with blended human faeces
from four healthy adults. Samples were also taken every 3 d for
influent/effluent FOS, short chain fatty acid (SCFA), lactate
and microbiological analyses. Results showed that SCFA concentrations
decreased abruptly 1 d after inoculation while lactate concentrations
increased. Classical methods of enumeration using selective media
showed that the proportion of total culturable count represented
by bifidobacteria and lactobacilli increased from 11.9% on day
1 to 98.1% on day 21. However, molecular methods using genus-specific
16S rRNA oligonucleotide probes indicated that the bifidobacterial
population maintained a level between 10 and 20% of total 16S
rRNA during the first 6 d and disappeared rapidly when the maximum
concentration of lactate was reached. Lactobacilli, which were
initially present in low numbers, increased until day 9 and remained
at high levels (20-42% of total 16S rRNA) to day 21, with the
exception of day 18. Although FOS has usually been regarded as
a selective substrate for bifidobacteria, these observations
suggest that: (1) lactobacilli are also able to use FOS, (2)
lactobacilli can out-compete bifidobacteria in continuous culture
at pH 5.2-5.4 when FOS is the primary carbon and energy source,
and (3) bifidobacteria can grow faster on FOS than lactobacilli
under controlled conditions."
The next article indicates that bifidobacterias are more tolerant
of biles salts if they have usable carbohydrates available to
them including FOS. As any oral probiotic administration requires
that bifidobacteria pass through the small intestine where bile
salts are most concentrated, this is an important point. Blending
bifidobacteria with FOS is expected to increase the survivability
of the bacteria in their travels to the colon where they are
Effects of fructooligosaccharides and their monomeric components
on bile salt resistance in three species of bifidobacteria.
J Appl Microbiol 2000 Jun;88(6):968-74
"The influence of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and their
monomeric components on bile salt resistance of Bifidobacterium
breve ATCC 15700, Bif. longum ATCC 15707 and Bif. animalis ATCC
25527 was examined. The neosugars induced fructofuranosidase
activities for the degradation of these saccharides. For the
three strains tested the growth was identical and bile salts
had the same inhibitory effect on growth whatever the carbohydrate
used. The survival of Bif. breve and Bif. longum, in the presence
of glycodeoxycholic acid depended, however, on carbohydrates:
the toxic effects of the bile salt could be partly alleviated
by the addition of a metabolizable C-source. For Bif. animalis,
the presence of any carbohydrate in the incubation medium did
not enhance the viability of the strain. But in the three deconjugating
strains of bifidobacteria studied, the presence of neosugar during
the growth led to improved resistance to the bactericidal effect
of the bile salt compared with the monomeric components of these
neosugars (glucose and fructose)."
In the next study we can begin to see the "proof is in
the pudding". 34 grams of FOS is quite a lot to take at
once and will cause gas in most people. Nonetheless, there is
demonstrated a significant increase in bifidobacteria in humans
as a result of feeding inulin, a constituent of FOS extracted
from chicory roots.
Effects of inulin on faecal bifidobacteria in human subjects.
Br J Nutr 1999 Nov;82(5):375-82
"A controlled study with eight healthy free-living subjects
was carried out, in which energy intake was adjusted to the individual
energy requirements. On administration of inulin, blood lipids,
the faecal microflora, short-chain fatty acids and accompanying
gastrointestinal symptoms were characterized in order to investigate
the long-term effect of inulin. During the run-in phase (8 d),
subjects received a typical Western diet providing 45% energy
as fat and 40% energy as carbohydrate. Subsequently, the subjects
consumed a fat-reduced diet which provided 30% energy as fat
and 55% energy as carbohydrate for a period of 64 d using inulin
as a fat replacer. The amounts of inulin consumed by the subjects
(up to 34 g/d) were based on individual energy requirements with
the aim to keep the diet isoenergetic with that used in the run-in
period. To assess the effects of inulin administration, a control
study (run-in and intervention) was carried out in which subjects
consumed the same diet but devoid of inulin during the whole
course of the study. To investigate the effect of inulin on faecal
flora composition total bacteria and bifidobacteria in the faeces
were enumerated by in situ hybridization with 16S rRNA targeted
oligonucleotide probes. Inulin significantly increased bifidobacteria
from 9.8 to 11.0 log10/g dry faeces and caused a moderate increase
in gastrointestinal symptoms such as flatulence and bloatedness,
whereas blood lipids and short-chain fatty acids remained essentially
In the next study we again see that FOS preferentially ferments
and increases the resident friendly bacterias in the colon.
Dietary modulation of the human gut microflora using the
prebiotics oligofructose and inulin.
J Nutr 1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1438S-41S
"Although largely unproven in humans, better resistance
to pathogens, reduction in blood lipids, antitumor properties,
hormonal regulation and immune stimulation may all be possible
through gut microflora manipulation. One approach advocates the
oral intake of live microorganisms (probiotics). Although the
probiotic approach has been extensively used and advocated, survivability/viability
after ingestion is difficult to guarantee and almost impossible
to prove. The prebiotic concept dictates that non viable dietary
components fortify certain components of the intestinal flora
(e.g., bifidobacteria, lactobacilli). This concept has the advantage
that survival of the ingested ingredient through the upper gastrointestinal
tract is not a prerequisite because it is indigenous bacterial
genera that are targeted. The feeding of oligofructose and inulin
to human volunteers alters the gut flora composition in favor
of bifidobacteria, a purportedly beneficial genus. Future human
studies that exploit the use of modern molecular-based detection
methods for bacteria will determine the efficacy of prebiotics.
It may be possible to address prophylactically certain gastrointestinal
complaints through the selective targeting of gut bacteria."
The next article raises the flag against simply taking FOS
and forgetting the probiotics when a person is suffering from
a dysbiosis. Though it is not objectively confirmed in this study,
we suspect that "pseudohypolactasia" persons have a
dysbiosis and likely at least in part a candida dysbiosis. We
think this because all sugar sources gave this group of people
intestinal problems even though they were in fact digesting lactose
properly. Elsewhere we have found evidence that the undesirable
bacteria Klebsiella can also utilize FOS for energy. Other studies
not included in this review indicate that lactobacillus, bifidobacteria
and other non-pathogenic bacterias create environments inhospitable
to pathogenic bacterias by modifying Ph, emitting surficants
that keep pathogens from binding to the epithlium, and compounds
that are toxic to the undesired bacterias. We feel people with
disbiosis should take a full course of probiotics with FOS before
using straight FOS.
This study would have been much more informative if they had
attempted to classify the flora of these groups before subjecting
them to the different sugars. These researchers also verify that
25 grams of FOS taken in a single dose will cause gas in almost
anyone. We recommend taking FOS by the single teaspoon which
weighs 5 grams.
Fructooligosaccharides and lactulose cause more symptoms
in lactose maldigesters and subjects with pseudohypolactasia
than in control lactose digesters.
Am J Clin Nutr 1999 May;69(5):973-9
"BACKGROUND: Many lactose maldigesters tolerate more
lactose in experimental studies than in everyday life, in which
their symptoms may result from other carbohydrates as well. OBJECTIVE:
The question of whether the symptoms caused by large quantities
of carbohydrates are more severe in lactose maldigesters than
in control lactose digesters or in lactose digesters who report
milk to be the cause of their gastrointestinal symptoms (pseudohypolactasic
subjects) was studied in a randomized, double-blind, crossover
study. Comparisons between commonly used diagnostic methods for
lactose maldigestion were also made. DESIGN: The subjects were
40 women aged 20-63 y from 3 groups: lactose maldigesters (n
= 12), pseudohypolactasic subjects (n = 15), and control lactose
digesters (n = 13). The subjects were given either 50 g lactose,
50 g sucrose, 25 g lactulose, or 25 g fructooligosaccharides.
After carbohydrate ingestion, urine was collected and the breath-hydrogen
concentration was measured every 30 min for 3 h. Blood glucose
was measured every 20 min for 1 h and subjective gastrointestinal
symptoms were monitored for 8 h with a questionnaire. RESULTS:
When lactulose and fructooligosaccharides were ingested, the
lactose maldigesters (P = 0.04 and 0.09, respectively) and the
pseudohypolactasic subjects (P = 0.006 and 0.01, respectively)
reported more symptoms than did the control lactose digesters.
Sucrose caused more symptoms in the lactose maldigesters than
in the control lactose digesters (P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Lactose
maldigesters and lactose digesters with pseudohypolactasia experience
more symptoms than control lactose digesters after a single intake
of large amounts of indigestible carbohydrates. Lactose maldigesters
also experience more symptoms after ingesting sucrose."
The next study is a side by side trial of probiotics, FOS,
and probiotics blended with FOS in preventing colon cancer in
cancer induced animals. Mixing bifidobacteria with FOS was the
only combination that produced significant improvement over controls.
Other complex carbohydtrates did not produce as clear a result
The effect of synbiotics on colon carcinogenesis in rats.
J Nutr 1999 Jul;129(7 Suppl):1483S-7S
"Evidence indicates that consumption of probiotic microorganisms
such as bifidobacteria reduces the risk of colon cancer in animal
models. Feeding certain fructans such as oligofructose and inulin,
which are thought to selectively increase the growth of intestinal
bifidobacteria (i.e., a prebiotic effect), also has been shown
to reduce colon cancer risk. The objective of our study was twofold,
i. e., to determine whether the combination of bifidobacteria
and oligofructose would have an additive effect (i.e., synbiotic)
in reducing colon cancer risk in rats, and to determine whether
other oligosaccharides would also be effective as part of a synbiotic
combination. The development of colonic preneoplastic lesions
(aberrant crypts) was used as an index of colon cancer risk.
In one series of experiments, rats were given the carcinogen
1, 2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) and administered one of the following
treatments: skim milk (control), bifidobacteria (bifido), oligofructose
(OF) or bifido + OF. Neither bifido nor OF alone significantly
reduced aberrant crypt number. Bifido + OF reduced aberrant crypt
number in five of six experiments, although the reduction was
significant in only one. However, a paired comparison of the
six experiments indicated a significant overall reduction in
aberrant crypts by bifido + OF (P = 0.039). Soybean oligosaccharide
(SBO) and wheat bran oligosaccharide (WBO) were also fed in combination
with bifidobacteria. In two other experiments, SBO did not alter
the number of aberrant crypts compared with the control, whereas
WBO reduced aberrant crypt number in one experiment but not in
another. Of OF, SBO and WBO, only SBO reduced the colonic mucosa
proliferation compared with the control. These results suggest
that the combination of bifidobacteria and oligofructose reduces
colon cancer risk in carcinogen-treated rats, but the effect
of other oligosaccharides is uncertain."
In the next study a blend of lactobacillus and FOS made a
significant transformation of bacterias in piglets compared to
controls and compared to piglets given just the bacteria.
Study of the effect of Lactobacillus paracasei and fructooligosaccharides
on the faecal microflora in weanling piglets.
Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr 1999 Jun-Jul;112(6-7):225-8
"The influence of administration of Lactobacillus paracasei
alone and mixture of Lactobacillus paracasei and fructooligosaccharide
on faecal bacteria counts in the weanling pigs was investigated.
The administration of Lactobacillus paracasei alone significantly
decreased Clostridium (p < 0.05) and Enterobacteriaceae (p
< 0.05) counts as compared to the control. Lactobacillus paracasei
administered in combination with fructooligosaccharide significantly
increased Lactobacillus (p < 0.01-p < 0.05), Bifidobacterium
(p < 0.05), total anaerobes (p < 0.05), and total aerobes
(p < 0.05) counts compared to control group as well as Lactobacillus
paracasei group and significantly decreased Clostridium (p <
0.05) and Enterobacteriaceae (p < 0.01) counts compared to
control group. The results obtained point out to a synergic effect
of the combination of Lactobacillus paracasei and fructooligosaccharide
on numbers of bacterial populations observed in the faeces of
the weanling pigs."
What you really want from a probiotic formula is not just
a bunch of friendly bacteria. You want a bunch of fermenting
friendly bacterias. Fermentation produces significantly more
viable bacterias, short chain fatty acids, vitamins such as biotin,
and other products that exclude pathogenic organisms from the
The high priced probiotics supply you with seed bacteria only.
CFS Nutrition probiotic formulas supply you with a fermenting
culture mix we heartily enjoy calling Feed 'n Seed.
"Feed 'n Seed" is a trademark
of CFS Nutrition