One of the largest pieces of misinformation exchanged in the natural health blogosphere is the notion that HSO organisms are 100% safe. 1 2 HSO stands for hemostatic soil organism. HSOs are a form of probiotics that can be obtained when one has eaten soil, 3 food fermented with HSO’s, 4 or soil-covered vegetables and fruits. It has been theorized that these HSOs have always lived in human intestines because ancient humanity did not properly wash and sanitize their fruits and vegetables. Ancient man ate dirt! There may be some truth to HSO native flora, some people have been discovered to have Bacillus subtilis as normal gut flora. 5
Digestive Author Jini Thompson’s Change of Heart on HSOs
Jini Thompson gives her opinion of HSO’s in her following blog post:
“On page 108 of the IBD remission diet, I suggest that readers may want to try a product called Primal Defense after they’ve been completely healed for 3-5 months. I learned of this product from numerous readers who wrote in to let me know how well it’s worked for them. Since I couldn’t try the product myself (I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for four years and counting), I questioned numerous respected naturopaths, microbiology professors, and gastroenterologists for their opinion on the product and all said it looked fine.
However, since meeting the founder and president of Natren, Inc. (top quality probiotic manufacturer), Natasha Trenev, I must change my opinion of bacterial soil organisms. Natasha is a world-renowned expert on microorganisms and maintains one of the largest research libraries on that topic in the world. She has sent me an entire CD-ROM of articles, research, and clinical data, and other scientific studies (most done outside of North America) outlining why it is not safe to consume bacterial soil organisms (like those contained in Primal Defense and numerous other products).
To summarize the research briefly, soil organisms (SO) are spore formers, so they make good competitors for yeast, fungus, and other pathogens. This is why so many people taking soil organisms will initially experience very favorable results. However these spores are extremely difficult to kill, surviving sterilants, disinfectants, acceleration forces, heat, pressure, radiation and many antibiotics. Strong antibiotics — like Vancomycin — can suppress certain spores. Spores are so persistent in the intestines that another round of germination may occur after the the drug is stopped. Soil organisms can also adapt loose genetic material and incorporate it into their cellular structure — the ramifications of which are yet unknown. Various soil organisms can also produce harmful peptides, affecting hemoglobin in the blood. It’s important to keep in mind that virtually all antibiotic drugs were initially developed from soil organisms and as antibiotics become more potent, they cause more damage to the host, not just in the immediate gut environment, but systematically as well.
In the EU (European Union) the use of soil organisms in animal feed is being stringently controlled and questioned at this time. There are simply too many questions and unknowns to sanction the use of soil organisms for human consumption and one certainly cannot qualify them as safe at this time.
I’m very sorry for any confusion this may have caused you. To be honest, this is the very first time I’ve recommended a product that I’ve not tried and tested exclusively myself — I admit I was swayed by so many good recommendations from readers. Rest assured that I will not do so again!”
My sincerest apologies,
Jini Patel Thompson
July 2003 6
Now granted, a later update made to her blog post mentions that she is “somewhat” okay with recommending Primal Defense as a probiotic. The change of heart may be because the only HSO organism left in the probiotic supplement is Bacillus subtilis.
See more from this series:
- http://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-red-meat-scapegoat-the-new-york-times-carnitine-heart-disease-and-science/ ↩
- http://chriskresser.com/treating-sibo-cold-thermogenisis-and-when-to-take-probiotics ↩
- http://www.marksdailyapple.com/eating-earth-exploring-the-mysterious-world-of-geophagy/#axzz2kgVmG8lD ↩
- https://files.nyu.edu/jmm257/public/querencias/natto.html ↩
- http://sporegen.com/pdfpapers/Bacillus/Hong2-2009.pdf ↩
- http://blog.listentoyourgut.com/bacterial-soil-organisms-hsos-sos-sbos-etc/ ↩