219: Why Everything We Know About Probiotics Is Wrong & How to Stop Leaky Gut With Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan

219: Why Everything We Know About Probiotics Is Wrong & How to Stop Leaky Gut With Microbiologist Kiran Krishnan

00:00 / 01:20:03

Why Everything We Know About Probiotics is Wrong

I’ve spent many years researching and writing about gut health, but current research shows much of what we thought we knew about probiotics is just plain wrong. It’s time to get some clarity! Kiran Krishnan is undisputedly one of the world’s experts on probiotics as a research microbiologist who has been involved in the dietary supplement and nutrition market for 17 years. He comes from a strict research background and has designed and conducted dozens of human clinical trials and human nutrition.

Currently, Kiran is the Acting Chief Scientific Officer at Positions Exclusive and Microbiome Labs and is involved in nine human clinical trials on probiotics and the human microbiome. There’s new research coming out every day but it isn’t always easy to understand for the layperson, so I’m glad he’s here today to explain.

Episode Highlights With Kiran Krishnan

  • What leaky gut is and why chances are good that you have it
  • The reason that 55% of healthy college students had severe leaky gut when tested
  • What happens when leaky gut continues for a long time and how the body reacts
  • The biggest factors that contribute to leaky gut
  • How often antibiotics are used unnecessarily
  • Why one course of antibiotics can disrupt the microbiome for up to 2 years
  • How pesticides in foods can impact the gut
  • Why our overly sterile world is more harmful than helpful
  • The reason we need bacteria and to be a little dirty to thrive
  • Why lactobacillus bacteria are not the most beneficial strains for humans
  • How most bacteria die before they ever reach the gut
  • The actual benefit of fermented foods (it isn’t the bacteria)
  • What bacteria ARE health promoting and how to identify them
  • Why metabolic endotoxemia is probably affecting your daily life even if you’ve never heard of it
  • The reason your gut could be making you anxious or depressed
  • A reason addiction can be rooted in the gut
  • How some antibiotics can lead to anxiety and depression
  • Important factors for pregnant moms to optimize

Resources We Mention

More From Wellness Mama

Did you enjoy this episode? What other questions do you have about gut health? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.

Thank You to Today’s Sponsors

This episode is brought to you by Branch Basics. This is one of my favorite companies because they are tackling two major problems with one simple solution. We’ve all heard about the problems with single-use plastic, and if you’ve read my blog, you know all the potential pitfalls of harsh household cleaners. Branch Basics helps on both fronts. They have the world’s safest non-toxic cleaning concentrate that is plant based, biodegradeable, non-GMO, and not tested on animals. Since it is a concentrate, a single bottle lasts a really long time and cuts down on extra plastic bottles for other cleaners. It’s gentle enough to be used on skin, even on babies, but strong enough to clean floors, make an all purpose cleaner and even treat stains. Their bottles are all reusable or you can do what I do and mix everything in reusable glass bottles instead. And when I say it is good for everything, I mean it! I carry a travel-size foamer pump when I travel for use as hand soap, face wash, shampoo, eye makeup remover and stain treatment, and use the same concentrate at home to make practically every cleaning product in my home. You may have seen on my IG how I used their cleaning concentrate and oxygen boost to wash my white couches naturally. I use Branch Basics in some way every single day. Check it out and grab some at branchbasics.com/wellnessmama and save 15% on starter kits with the code MAMA15.

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Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. This is the first time I’ve listen to your podcast and it really confused me that you start with a 5 minute advertisement. I didn’t realize that was what was going on and I shut it off to figure out which podcast I clicked on. I eventually figured out that I clicked on the right one and that it was a you promoting a product. Which I’m fine with, it’s just so random and not clearly stated thanks the podcast would start soon after. Just thought it might be helpful to differentiate the promotion and actual podcast a little better. I love your information thanks for sharing!

  2. Awesome podcast about probiotics! Looking forward to hearing more from Koran Krishnan!

  3. Does Kiran recommend a certain brand of probiotic?

      • Only has 4 strains….he suggests this is all that’s necessary for gut health? Or there is no other product that is available,e?

        • Those four are the most well studied according to his research and survive in the digestive system so they are more effective. We do need other strains but those are often better to get from fermented foods.

        • Just Thrive is a retail product that has 4 Bacillus strains, where as MegaSporeBiotic is a more superior probiotic that has 5 Bacillus strains, all of which are very heavily researched. Just Thrive is like the baby sister to the full gown MegaSporebiotic. MegaSpore is a pharmaceutical grade product that is only sold through practitioners. Kiran Krishnan is the Chief Science Officer and co-founder of Microbiome Labs, the makers of MegaSpore. You can search for practitioners in your area that carry MegaSporebiotic by going to http://www.microbiomelabs.com or you can ask your doc, and s/he could get access to the products as well. Just Thrive is the next best probiotic and a good option if someone doesn’t have access to a provider. For someone really wanting to heal their gut, I’d recommend the other two products that go along with MEGASpore as part of the Total Gut Restoration. Those being MegaPrebiotic and MegaMucosa. It’s done wonders for me and I can’t say enough things about these products. Happy Gut Healing to all! ?

      • I thought he recommended megaspore? Has his opinion changed?

        • I think so. I’ll ask him to get more clarity but I know he recommends Just Thrive now.

        • That’s what I thought too – he just did a webinar with Jason Prall (of the Human Longevity Project) on his research with MegaSporebiotic, MegaMucosa and MegaPrebiotic. Maybe he just also sees this as an acceptable product?

          • ever a clarification of this question?

  4. I really enjoyed this show; it spoke to a lot of issues I’ve had and currently dealing with (an antibiotic protocol for Lyme). But I truly love all your podcasts! It’s my go-to for my family’s health. I cannot seem to find the discount code for Just Thrive. Can you help? I’m so excited to try them.

    • The discount code is “wellnessmama15”. Thanks for listening!

  5. Hi Katie!! This was INCREDIBLE!!! Such an important podcast — and incidentally my first time listening. I loved it and will be a frequent listener from now on. I had one final Q about the Thrive probiotic… is it safe to give to almost 3yo toddler? Sprinkled/mixed in juice or in food?? My daughter has eczema on her arms and I’ve been searching for a probiotic for her for about a year!!!

    • I give to my two year old by mixing into smoothies, sprinkling on food or even mixing into baked goods before baking since it survives even at high heat.

    • I’ve been using it for my 20 month old for about 3 weeks for excema on her arms and legs. I’ve seen a HUGE difference! I mix about a third to half capsule in her bottle of milk or in a smoothie or something like that. I do a third to half because I contacted the company and asked about dosing for her age. They got back to me very quickly.

  6. If what he says is true it is quite mind blowing. I thought it was worth a try but every time I texted for the discount code – each code didnt work and even spinning the wheel discount did not come off so I did not order and am wondering if this is just another scam to get your email address and cell number.

    • Sorry you’re having trouble with it! It definitely isn’t a scam… I’ve met the founders and the medical director personally. Try going to this link: wellnessmama.com/go/probiotic and using the discount wellnessmama15 there

  7. Hi Katie,
    This interview blew my mind! It was so interesting and exciting to learn a different perspective on probiotics. I have been making my own sauerkraut over the last year and always wondered if canning the sauerkraut (like my mom and grandma always did) truly destroyed the benefits of fermented foods. After hearing this, I am starting to think that from a probiotic point of view it’s totally fine to can my sauerkraut after all. Thoughts?
    Thanks so much for all your work. I’m a big fan of your mission.

  8. Enjoyed this podcast. Really thought it’d be much more about fermented food. Do SBOs replace fermented food.. is one more important than the other?

    • There are different strains but from what I’ve researched, SBOs are the more important one since we can’t easily get those from food or environment anymore. fermented foods provide their own strains but don’t survive in the gut the same way and some people don’t do well with these foods.

  9. Katie, I listen to all your podcasts, but this one I’ve listened to 3 times. It’s so packed with information. I have Hashimoto’s and my teen son has anxiety, depression, and IBS. We both take very expensive probiotics prescribed by naturopathic doctors. We have had good results with these probiotics, but I’m wondering now if they are making it into our guts past the stomach acid and bile salts. Can you tell me what makes Bacillus Indicus HU36 in Just Thrive Probiotics different, so that it can get through to the gut and be effective? Thank you!

    • I’ll send the follow up question to him to ask. I know they’ve done studies on the survivability to make sure it does get there and I’ve noticed the best results with this one over expensive ones I’ve taken.

  10. Hey Wellness Mama,
    I absolutely loved this podcast. It was so informative and interesting. Quick question, is the Thrive probiotic safe to use in pregnancy? I know the guest mentioned taking a spore based probiotic during pregnancy. But I couldn’t find any information about it on the Thrive website. Just wondering if maybe this was discussed off air. Thanks!

    • Absolutely. It is spore based and I would have taken it during pregnancy if I’d known about it then.

  11. This may be more of a question for the researcher, but I don’t quite understand how he this spore forming probiotic strain (forgive me for wrong terminology) could be patented. Isn’t that like patenting a bacteria? My husband already changed so much about our lifestyle (financially) to be able to accommodate buying organic foods, etc and just keeping the four of us on a probiotic that I thought was stellar is expensive enough as it is. At this time it’s a little staggering to me to think of doubling the price of our probiotic. This seems like such groundbreaking research and while I completely don’t want every probiotic company out there to just start claiming theirs contains this certain spore forming strain, I am sad that this seems like more of a business deal than a win for society. If we can’t afford it, it doesn’t help us. What is a lower-end-of-middle-class momma to do?! Help me wellness mama! Please keep the podcasts on gut health coming. I have joint pain and digestive issues, my husband has digestive issues, and my youngest gal has eczema. These give me hope!

    • So glad they give you hope and thanks for listening! And hugs to you. I’ve been there for many years and I know how tough it is for sure! I would always say to only do what you can within your budget and without causing stress. If it helps, kids can take half a capsule and there is a discount, wellnessmama15 to save a little more.

  12. This is one of (if not) THE best interviews I’ve heard to really explain the gut and the true functionality and capabilities of probiotics, debunking much of the misleading information that is so common. I have heard Kiran interviewed before, but it was in conjunction with and support of a different product called MegaSporeBiotic. Seems to be essentially the same research and ingredients……….My question is, what is the difference between them, i.e. does one have any advantage over the other? Thanks for your input on this!

    • From my research, I think Just Thrive is a little better and I know he recommends it now, but I’ll ask him to get more clarity.

      • After some poking around on the internet, I have the same question. I look forward to hearing what you learn, Katie!

    • Megasporebiotics is a professional brand whereas Just Thrive can be bought OTC I believe. I did come across some criticism about the strains used, about their potential to turn pathogenic (Bacillus licheniformis)… I am a bit confused and tad concerned as well by the change of recommendation. For this reason I prefer to seek the recommendation of folks who are not directly involved in the product. I look forward to hearing his response as well.

  13. Informative podcast. I may have missed it but I didn’t hear anything about Prebiotics, another unregulated, expensive “must have for health” and probably a complete scam. So are they needed? if so what brand, and how are they consumed in concert with the Just Thrive Probiotic? thanks!

    • My personal opinion is that if we’re eating enough leafy veggies, starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, plantains, onions and other fruits and vegetables, we get enough prebiotics without needing to supplement.

  14. Great podcast! I have sent this to all of my friends. Please have Kiran back to talk about gut health and autism, I believe that link is key but I am so confused on how or what to do with the information for my son. I will be trying the spore based probiotic for him and our whole family.

  15. Hi Katie:
    I just ordered the Just Thrive probiotics (after listening to the podcast) but did not see any place to put in the “wellnessmama15” for the discount in the ordering process. I’ll email the company and see if they will give me a credit but thought I would let you know.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I’ll contact them about it as well…

  16. I have been a Thrive Probiotics user for almost 3 months now (thanks to your original recommendation on it, and I’ve been very happy with it!), but I still had been questioning what made this one so much different/better than others — until I read this podcast! So informative and fascinating! I also did a google search on his name after reading it (I’m too impatient with podcasts, I always just read the transcripts!) and one of the first links to come up was his company he mentions in the podcast (https://microbiomelabs.com/), and this MegaSporBiotic is one of the products MADE by HIS lab! And that one has 5 strains. Also another link comes up “PeakBiotics” that is affiliated to his name…So I’m a bit confused, is he helping more than one company with his original formula? He is obviously promoting his own made my his very own company right? If you could follow up with him to clarify all this that it would be helpful. Makes me a little confused on what to believe or which product is best or if they are all recommend by him, etc…. Thanks!

  17. Hi Katie,

    I, too, loved the interview Since I am signed on with Young Living and have been taking theirs for a year, I’d love to know how YL probiotic compares with Thrives.

    • There is no comparison in the quality, Just Thrive is head and shoulders better. I never recommend any MLM products though, because they are over-priced, of inferior quality, and I fundamentally disagree with their pyramid marketing scheme structure…

  18. A bit worrying – just like some of posts above………

    …..they survive past the harsh stomach acids and bile salts to reach the intestines ALIVE, where they go to work. If a probiotic doesn’t survive and arrive alive at the site of action, it is NOT a probiotic.

  19. Buying now!!! Thank you

  20. This was a fascinating podcast — so glad I listened! I hope you bring him back to share more detailed information in the future — all of this was so helpful to know! I found myself confused by his recommendation of the linked probiotic from Thrive, since it does not appear to be the spore-based type that his talk suggested were the most effective. I saw someone asked you about this earlier, before I came along. Has he provided any additional info you could share about what makes Thrive better than everything else he suggested does NOT work well, due to dying in the stomach? Love your podcasts and look forward to more!

  21. First of all, amazing interview. I only wish I could read all the studies he cited! In the future, could there be a way to link or at least mention the name of the studies so I could find them and read for myself? Thanks!

  22. Hi Katie. I was really impressed by this interview but I was also a bit leery of the fact that Kiran had a product for sale. I spent some time googling and I have not had any luck coming up with any information or studies that he has done that we’re not tied to the promotion of his product. Are you aware of where we could access some of the studies he mentions in the article and/or some of his own work that is not tied to a commercial venture?

  23. Eagerly awaiting responses to the above questions!!

  24. This was my thought as well. Very curious to hear the response.

  25. Hi Katie, first off…thank you use much for bringing this amazing information to us through your podcast and site. I’ve been a dedicated reader for many years and learning more about natural health and wellness eventually lead me to create my own blog as well! You truly have inspired me.

    I am curious (as many others have pointed out) about Dr. Kiran Krishnan and his recommendations for Just Thrive. I see he is presently affiliated and listed as the head microbiologist for at least three companies (Just Thrive, Microbiome Labs, and Probiogen). It is a tad confusing as they are all very similar spore based pre and probiotics, Vitamin K7, etc. I have a son with Autism and we are looking into spore based probiotics, but are now very confused about which company to choose.

    Are you able to speak to which company he actually represents and why he is listed with all three?

    Thank you Katie!

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