IMPORTANT UPDATE: Notice the date of my post below: 2003. By 2011, Garden of Life had changed their product and the only (direct) soil organism it now contains is Bacillus subtilis – which has been used for over 1000 years by the Japanese to culture natto. So it does have a long history of safety in human usage.

BUT. What amount of Bacillus subitlis is in a serving of natto? Have you ever eaten natto? Not many people can – it is slimy and stinks. When I lived in Japan for 2 years, the most I ever saw anyone eat (and that was few and far between) was about a teaspoon. So how many billion cfu of b. subtilis is contained in a teaspoon of natto that is consumed once every few weeks or so? Who knows?? And that’s my point. At no time have humans consumed concentrated, high level doses of soil organisms.

Back to Primal Defense – Bacillus licheniformis was then only used indirectly as part of the culturing medium of Primal Defense, but according to the product label it was no longer part of the HSO blend. By 2014, B. licheniformis had disappeared from the label entirely:


Interesting… and you have to wonder why Garden of Life changed the product? Especially when their CEO had contacted me personally in 2005 to try and convince me that soil organisms were safe. Whenever actions are not congruent with words, you need to look deeper into what’s actually going on. Whatever their reasons, it was done very quietly and I only became aware of it in 2011 when one of my readers notified me.

The bottom line is that you cannot rely on probiotic manufacturers to have your best interests at heart. Manufacturers are often genuinely ignorant, and marketing concerns like price and accessibility (shelf-stable) often take precedence over health benefits. The best way to protect yourself is to make sure whichever probiotic you ingest adhere to my Probiotic Selection Criteria.

If you want LOTS more info and solid research on soil organisms, head on over to John Brisson’s series on HSO’s. He will give you detailed info on why you shouldn’t be consuming Primal Defense, Prescript-Assist, or any others.

Original post: I recently came across a post on a Quackwatch-type of blog where the author had posted my warning letter letter about ingesting bacterial soil organisms – also known as HSO’s, SO’s, SBO’s, or probiotics:

“Along with a book I ordered called “The IBD Remission Diet” by Jini Patel Thompson, came a page inserted later by the author that essentially withdrew her prior recommendation of Primal Defense. Horrified, I searched the Internet and could only find glowing testimonials (most of which eventually stemmed from the Garden of Life company’s own marketing.) I could find nothing from a scientific or unbiased source. The inserted warning is frightening. Here it is:

“On Page 108 of the IBD remission diet, I suggest that readers may want to try a product called Primal Def