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Health Benefits of Soil-based Organisms

by Helen Adams(more info)

listed in environmental, originally published in issue 58 - November 2000

People fully understand the reasoning behind taking vitamins and minerals to supplement their diets and improve health – but taking capsules of soil?! Scientific studies undertaken in the USA have proved that this is not as mad as it sounds, and could in fact make good sense.

Over the past 80 years or so, the development of intensive farming methods, coupled with the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and a host of other reasons, have meant that much of the soil in which we grow our food has become virtually lifeless. Good soil should contain a healthy mixture of Soil-based Organisms (SBOs). These are naturally occurring micro-organisms that release powerful enzymes responsible for keeping it free of moulds, yeasts, fungi and other parasites which would otherwise make normal plant growth impossible.

Mushroom image

When people ate vegetables grown in such nutrient-rich soil, they automatically ingested these organisms, which also had a beneficial effect on the digestive tract. The SBOs kept us free from pathogenic bacteria and putrefying waste matter that clogs up the colon, causing many diseases. As humans, we too need a rich and fertile environment of friendly micro-organisms within our systems in order to sustain optimum health.

Eating organic produce doesn't automatically ensure that we get enough SBOs either, although this is a huge improvement on non-organic foodstuffs. Growing vegetables in depleted soil full of organic fertilizers does not really get to the heart of the problem. If the soil is sterile, it needs careful regeneration and rest to bring it back to life.

It was Élie Metchnikoff Ph.D, Nobel laureate, who discovered that there was a definite correlation between health, longevity, and the proper balance of beneficial organisms in the body. Ideally the ratio of bad to good bacteria should be 20/80; however, for many today this ratio has been reversed. It seems it is the high level of bad bacteria within our systems that is responsible for such conditions as chronic fatigue, and that host of symptoms in which one is not really sick and yet at the same time doesn't really feel truly well.

It is indeed a real paradox that in this time of plenty many people are unknowingly suffering from malnutrition.

Dr Peter Rothschild, who is one of the foremost experts on the human immune response, has talked frequently about the fact that there are many other bacterial micro-organisms which can have a profound and positive effect on our health, even if in no way related to the human system. Acidophilus, the most commonly known form of friendly bacteria, is in fact just one of many.

Another such micro-organism is Bacillus subtilis, one of the bacterial organisms in the encapsulated formula of SBOs, the discovery of which has quite a remarkable story behind it. Apparently, during the Second World War, when the Germans were involved in their African campaign and claiming a victory, the generals of the army became alarmed when many hundreds of their soldiers began dying of uncontrollable dysentery. There was no medicine available which could treat the problem. The German high command sent out teams of scientists to find a cure for this problem. They eventually discovered that the Arabs also suffered from dysentery, but immediately on finding that they were suffering from it, they would wander behind a camel or horse until the animal dropped its dung. They then could be seen scooping up the fresh dung and eating it.

The Germans themselves were somewhat horrified at this, but, upon examining it, discovered that it was teaming with a micro-organism which they eventually named Bacillus subtilis. Ingesting this had a very powerful and beneficial effect on the human gut. It would eradicate all pathogenic bacteria and restore health to the system. The Arabs themselves knew nothing of this, just that it was what their fathers and forefathers had always taken to bring about a cure. From this, many tons of Bacillus subtilis were generated and the troops no longer suffered from dysentery.

The next big breakthrough occurred with the discovery and development of SBOs themselves. These constitute a further source of bacterial micro-organisms that are very helpful to the human system, and which live within the environment rather than the body. The development of the original formula of encapsulated SBOs, and the subsequent research were undertaken by leading scientist and researcher Peter Smith. Whilst out hiking in a very remote, pollution free area, he happened upon some large colonies, forming mounds on the ground, which he recognized as being made up of SBOs. Being intrigued he took samples back with him to study, wanting to find out whether they were toxic, pathogenic, or actually beneficial to living beings. His research was carried out in top universities in California, where he associated with many other professors and research experts.

He discovered, when he experimented with SBOs upon mice, that the animals actually did very well and became extremely healthy. The next step was to try taking them himself, which he did, and he too found that the more they were ingested the greater the improvement in his whole system. He then spent many years isolating and developing the strains that gave optimum results in the human system.

Peter Smith has kept a strict policy of secrecy concerning not only the exact strains of SBOs that he has groomed and cultivated, but also the process involved. Apparently, he has not even patented it because he does not want anyone to try and copy his formulation.

The resulting powder that was developed has a grey/black colour and is made up of many very specific micronutrients and also phytoplankton, which in turn act as a base for the living SBOs. These are kept in a dormant state in the powder until introduced into an aqueous solution, after which they become activated. Apparently this also gives them a very long shelf life of over five years, and they do not need to be refrigerated, although they will keep even longer if they are.

Having researched their effect on the human system, as have other scientists, he has come to some truly remarkable conclusions about the many benefits they bestow. However, rather than make claims about the product's qualities, it is the testimonials of those taking the capsules on a daily basis which have really kept the product selling at an increased rate. Here is one case history that demonstrates the product's effectiveness.

Case Study – Jenny

Crohn's disease is one example of how this reversed ratio of bad to good bacteria causes the immune system to become unbalanced, and the whole organism to suffer often as a result of autointoxication.

Jenny was in her teens and had her life ruined by Crohn's. She had tried everything to cure it, from orthodox medicines to all kinds of alternative treatments. Underweight and continually fatigued she was having up to 30 bowel movements a day. It seemed as though her whole system was shutting down and she could die.

It was at this point that she began taking a food supplement of SBOs, which had been extensively tested by scientists in the United States. She didn't experience immediate relief, but developed a backlash at first. The SBOs in the capsule were killing off large numbers of pathogenic organisms, and the toxic wastes from these dead bacteria began leaking through the porous walls of her weakened gut. So she actually felt worse before she began to feel better. After about 30 days she eliminated a black tar-like substance. It was the putrefying waste which had been clogging her colon and stopping nutrients from being absorbed. She didn't see much improvement for 30 days, but kept on going because she had never before read such convincing research on a product. Gradually she began putting on weight and after a year had filled out, and her gut was functioning normally.

So how do they work in our system? As we ingest the SBOs, they pass through the stomach and form colonies of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. These attach themselves to the walls of the intestines. The food we eat works its way through the gastro-intestinal system and further micro-organisms are carried down the gut until the tract is totally lined with colonies of SBOs. Their unique action of getting behind and actually eating away the waste matter means that they keep the system clean, and vital nutrients can then be absorbed easily. They have the effect of restoring a healthy bacterial environment within our bodies. But their beneficial action on the human organism doesn't stop there; they are responsible for a whole host of other health-related activities, as scientific tests have revealed. Perhaps the most important effect is that they trigger the immune system, encouraging it to work super-efficiently, by stimulating alpha-interferon production and pools of unprogrammed antibodies.

SBOs contain micronutrient doses of a wide range of vitamins, minerals and enzymes. They encourage healthy cell growth and wound healing and help eliminate free radicals by creating superoxide dismutase (SOD). They also help the system to create human lactoferrin. This means that iron can be absorbed into the human system and therefore not left in its unabsorbed state where it is instead used by the bad bacteria.

People have reported an increase in energy and mental alertness after taking them for some time. They have also helped heal pets and plants!

SBOs are more stable than other supplements of friendly bacteria and can easily survive the journey through the acid stomach and reproduce themselves despite an unfavourable internal ecology.

Another case history reveals once again the many benefits that SBOs have on our system.

Case Study – Pauline

Pauline had been suffering from diabetes for ten to twelve years. During this time she had been through all the conventional routes to help sort out her problem, and also tried out a variety of alternative methods. She was taking insulin and felt generally ill and run down in all sorts of ways. She suffered from sluggishness, bouts of depression, recurring bouts of thrush and such strong food cravings that she could not stick to any diet for long. Dieting seemed to make her nervous and she consequently suffered from mood swings. She was in a catch-22 situation.

A health practitioner recommended that she try a specific supplement of SBOs from the USA, precisely because she seemed to have difficulty in absorbing enough nutrients, and because of the naturally aggressive and extremely efficient action it exhibited against all harmful bacteria.

As she says, "The difference was noticeable in about three weeks". She felt a gradual change for the better in her everyday quality of life. Her head became clearer, and she no longer felt depressed. What was most interesting, she no longer suffered from food cravings and had not been tempted to eat even one square of chocolate since starting the supplement. Her bouts of thrush also cleared up.

Even more remarkable, an appointment with her optician had previously revealed the beginnings of deterioration in her eyesight. She had spots on her lens and deterioration at the back of the eye. Hospital tests had confirmed this. When she returned for her next eye appointment the spots on the lens had vanished and the other problem was not so bad. He asked her what she had been doing to have brought about such a positive effect.

She still takes insulin and feels that the SBOs are working gradually to bring progressive healing, rather than a sudden or dramatic cure.

In Pauline's case the Soil-Based Organisms had quite a profound healing effect on her total system.

A Practitioner's Viewpoint

Jill Davies is a herbalist with a busy practice based in Norfolk, and part of the umbrella group of herbal medicines, the EHPA. She has been using SBOs extensively in her practice for the past two years, with excellent results. She too felt that Western civilization was becoming so squeaky clean that this approach was actually weakening us.

She tends to use capsules of SBOs for many types of disorder, especially where the immune system has been compromised. These include asthma, Candida albicans, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ME, allergic conditions, as well as many others. For her, SBOs form an important part of a regime that also includes herbal remedies and dietary changes.

SBOs kick-start the immune system, which may have been operating at a reduced level for some time. They can therefore bring about what is known as a 'healing crisis', as the natural healing abilities of the body begin to function again. This may be relatively minor or more major, as in the case of Jenny above, depending on how long and to what extent the body has been sick.

Jill recommends that those taking SBOs as an aid to healing for more deep-seated problems do so under professional supervision. A healing crisis brings out hidden or dormant conditions and also emotions that often have their roots in the past. She feels that people should not go through such a crisis unaided. She recommends cutting down the dose of SBOs, or even stopping them for a couple of days, if a healing crisis does develop.

In her experience, healing with SBOs is usually slow but steady, although many people have found that acute problems have cleared after taking them for a relatively short time.

Jill stated that she uses a brand called Nature's Biotics, because it has been extensively tested and she is impressed by the amount of research done on this particular formula with the resultant implications for health.


Unpublished data provided by Peter Rothschild, M.D. Ph.D.
Gittelman LA. Beyond Probiotics; The Revolutionary Rediscovery of a Missing Link in Our Immune System. Keats Good Health Guides Keats Publishing Ltd. 1998.
Rubin H. HSOs: Beyond Probiotics; A Natural Way to Boost Your Immune System. Healthy & Natural Journal 5(5): 83-96. 1998.
Walker M. Mother Earth Provides a Natural Probiotic. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 169/170. Aug/Sept 1997.

Further Information

Product Information: Nature's Biotics can be purchased from Kiki Ltd – Tel: 01493 857878 or Fax: 0870 0636984.


  1. tamra morgan said..

    I can't get my order to go through. either my e-mail or pass word seams wrong. I tried be for and had the same problem. Is there a phone number I can call?

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About Helen Adams

Helen Adams is a freelance writer, with a particular interest in holistic healing. She has researched The Good Health Food Guide in collaboration with the author Dr Eric Trimmer, and co-authored Your Dreams and Your Stars with David Melbourne, published by Bland-ford Press, 1998. She writes a monthly dream interpretation column for Horoscope Magazine, as well as having contributed several series and many book reviews. She contributes to other magazines and websites, and runs her own consultancy.

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