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Reasons not to take Lumina's anticavity probiotic

162 points4 hourstrevorklee.substack.com
SkyMarshal3 hours ago

A simpler alternative is xylitol. Not a drug, no FDA approval required. It's a plant-based sweetener that cavity-causing mouth bacteria love to ingest, but which provides no sustenance to them. It essentially fills them up and then causes them to starve them to death, helping maintain minimum mouth bacteria. No bacteria, no cavities. Get it in mints or gum like Zellies or PUR (the only two I've found that don't include Titanium Dioxide). Take one a day after brushing in the evening so it kills bacteria overnight.

https://zellies.com/

https://thepurcompany.com/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/xylitol-101

(Also if you have pets, make sure they don't get any, xylitol isn't good for them, especially dogs)

milesvp1 hour ago

Please be careful pushing xylitol, "sugar alcohols" are neither a sugar or an alcohol. This, of course, is exactly the thing that makes them desirable as a sweetener substitute, the body doesn't really know what to do with the stuff, and, presumably, neither do common mouth bacteria. Sugar alcohols are known for causing digestive troubles, for this very reason, with the most notorious example being the Haribo "sugar free" gummies that caused diarrhea.

Small quantities in gum may be fine but sugar alcohols are increasingly being added to foodstuffs, and I'm increasingly dubious about it.

FranOntanaya47 minutes ago

Very much this. Specially if any relative has to watch their weight or sugar intake and a lot of "No sugar added" products are getting in the house, a very worrying amount of them are loaded with maltitol and its -ol friends. People don't understand why they are felling sick eating "health food" and go through a substantial amount of grief.

russdill3 hours ago

Just to be clear, it's not that it's not good for them, it's highly toxic

card_zero51 minutes ago

I see it makes dogs release insulin and gives them fatal hypoglycemia, but doesn't do this to various other species. Quirky.

nikolay3 hours ago

Not just xylitol but also mastic gum, which, in addition to cavities prevention, kills H. pylori and strengthens your jaw muscles as it's a bit harder than regular chewing gum.

sleepydog1 hour ago

I can attest to its effectiveness against H. pylori. I've suffered from canker sores most of my life. The two things that have helped were avoiding sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste, and chewing mastic gum at least once a week.

jkingsman1 hour ago

Anecdotal +1. I've switched to non-SLS toothpaste and seen a dramatic drop in my frequency and severity of apthous ulcers (and, unfortunately, I get them often enough and badly enough that I can state causality with some certainty).

I used to have a (powerful-to-the-point-of-personal-uneasiness) corticosteroid that I would put on them to dubious effect, but I haven't needed to resort to that at all since I switched away from SLS toothpastes.

FeloniousHam29 minutes ago

BTW, the best treatment I've found for canker sores is Canker Cover. I switched baking soda toothpaste, but I'm not convinced it had a material effect.

vlovich1231 hour ago

Any specific brands you trust?

zeteo3 hours ago

+1 for mastic, completely nontoxic and it's been used for thousands of years. My cavity problems have pretty much disappeared since discovering it several years ago.

nikolay2 hours ago

Yup! Here's one study [0]!

[0]: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12747455/

SkyMarshal1 hour ago

Any brand you recommend?

addaon2 hours ago

There are also Xylitol-containing toothpastes (e.g. Epic; be aware that they also make a flouride-free version that you likely want to avoid!), although I suspect the dosage of Xylitol is below the effective level.

onemoresoop2 hours ago

Xylitol upsets my digestive system. I try to avoid it as much as I can.

kleiba1 hour ago

Xylitol is known to be a laxative, so it is only recommended in small doses. You might be extra sensitive to it.

gautamcgoel1 hour ago

But don't you need "good" bacteria in your mouth?

SkyMarshal1 hour ago

It seems that it reduces bad bacteria but has no effect on good bacteria, though I'm not sure if there are enough studies on that to be conclusive.

nikolay3 hours ago

Also, recently there was a study that DIM also kills only the harmful bacteria in the mouth.

culi3 hours ago

3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM). Found in cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, cress, nasturtium, arugala, radish, etc)

Also sold as bisindole which is a class of natural products derived from oxidative dimerization of tryptophan.

nikolay2 hours ago
renewiltord3 hours ago

Gives some of us rocket powered shits though. I’ve been known to hit escape velocity at the border mall in Basel. Well contained within the inverted engine bell and served well by powerful flush mechanism.

SkyMarshal3 hours ago

Lol, true it can. Were you just eating one a day and still suffered that?

renewiltord48 minutes ago

Haha, no, what happened was I ate about a third of a xylitol-based chocolate bar. So far higher dose than what you described, but it's given me a deathly fear of the substance, lest I transform myself into the fastest self-propelled man.

Perhaps I'll give it a crack some time.

clumsysmurf3 hours ago

Ehh, I tried it, like 15 years ago, but had to stop taking it for the reasons mentioned here:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-04-qa-xylitol-teeth-swee...

What is the recommended daily dosage of xylitol for oral health?

"The recommended amount for cavity protection is 6 to 10 grams. And it's best to spread doses out throughout the day. So, if you want dental benefit from chewing xylitol-added gum, you should chew the gum for at least 20 minutes to extract the xylitol. That can be a lot of stress on the temporomandibular joints (in the jaw), so if you have problems with your TMJ, it's not a good idea to excessively chew gum."

That's a lot of Xylitol. It got expensive quickly, and I was heading towards TMJ dysfunction. Xylitol is also considered a high FODMAP, so if you are on a low FODMAP diet its best to avoid.

SkyMarshal54 minutes ago

Three a day seems like overkill. I think if you brush at least twice a day, then one xylitol gum at night after brushing is probably sufficient. Kills the bacteria that grew during the day and kills bacteria that try to grow in your mouth overnight.

klyrs2 hours ago

Wow, I've never been so inspired to continue brushing my teeth daily.

echelon3 hours ago

I worry this would impact your gut microflora too. Imagine the downstream systemic effects and diseases this might trigger.

hgomersall1 hour ago

It does impact the gut biome, but current research suggests it's positive, insofar as we can gauge what a positive change would be.

Edit: One can easily find various papers like this: https://microbiomejournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186...

HeatrayEnjoyer2 hours ago

No swallowing maybe

xeromal1 hour ago

A xyletol based mouthwash?

seventyone44 minutes ago

I guess I am going to die from making my own kombucha, kefir, and yogurt because the FDA isn't regulating it.

WHAT IF... the mass increase in colon cancers in young people is due to gut bacteria colonies being taken over by a strain of bacteria in mouths that also survives stomach acids? What if that is causing the huge increase in IBS? What if the high carb diets and alternative sugars being consumed at mind boggling rates is a root cause? That the oral bacteria has been overtaken by a strain optimized for these carbs but is actively harmful to our bodies?

And what if fixing it is a treatment like this?

I'm willing to gamble.

Signed,

older millenial who has suffered with IBS for years

edit: If I could get a fecal transplant procedure in the USA to replace my gut colony I totally would.

edit2: fun fact -- did you know Sucralose accumulates in the environment because almost nothing breaks it down? it's pretty close to being a forever chemical. We can tell how much treated sewage injected into the water table is leaking into the ocean by measuring the amount of Sucralose in the ocean waters near the shoreline. That and nitrogen. But glug glug drink up those sugar free sodas and energy drinks!

koeng1 hour ago

I got a tube of this probiotic. They asked me not to sequence it, but I'm a little suspicious of putting it in myself, so trust-but-verify (probably Nanoporing). I literally cannot see why sequencing it is a "dick move", so I think I'll be doing it anyway.

I do not buy that it is dangerous. However, I haven't seen any statistics showing the frequency of mutacin-1140 or its efficiency. Back in 2015 when I was a teen I did an experiment using colicin V (an E.coli one - I was planning on engineering E.coli Nissile to replace my current gut E.coli with something more fun. Got kicked out of the science fair for that one - https://keonigandall.com/posts/colicins.html ). Turns out, you need a sizable portion of the population to get takeover. I haven't seen ANY data on the population percentage necessary for takeover with this strain. Nor have I seen statistics of its natural occurrence percentage.

I wanted to modify the strain to have GFP expression, so I can have my own little engineered biome for myself that is showable at parties and such, but it looks like they removed comE :( will have to start from an original strain instead, I guess.

maxbond3 hours ago

Whenever this topic comes up on HN it strikes me as bizarre that anyone thinks they can genetically modify a bacteria, release it into the wild - and that it'll stay genetically modified? Like the author mentions, bacteria are constantly swapping genes via horizontal gene transfer. Surely the bacteria in our mouths have found the optimal metabolism for their environment? Why wouldn't we expect our genetically modified bacteria to adopt the same strategy?

I imagine that you could, at least on paper, create a Rube Goldberg machine in their genes that, say, killed them if they produced lactic acid, and made it very difficult to delete these genes without destroying their ability to reproduce. But you'll probably also handicap them in the process and make it difficult for them to adapt to competitive adaptations from other bacteria.

swatcoder3 hours ago

There are obviously numerous locally-optimal strategies for bacterial colonies in one's mouth (and gut, etc) as the population of bacteria varies widely across individual people.

That's not to suggest that knocking out one or two specific functions is going to accomplish recolonization, or that we should even trust the effort to be wise in the medium-/long-term in light of gene transfer or migration into the gut and elsewhere, but the broad idea of pursuing recolonization by less destructive bacteria isn't without merit in itself.

teeray3 hours ago

> I imagine that you could, at least on paper, create a Rube Goldberg machine in their genes that, say, killed them if they produced lactic acid

It’s like Jurassic Park’s “Lysine Contingency”, but in your mouth

Terr_58 minutes ago

In this case it sounds more like the dinosaurs would have a fatal allergy to human flesh.

worik40 minutes ago

> ...create a Rube Goldberg machine in their genes that, say, killed them..

Bacteria are not machines, DNA is node code. Life is very different from mechanics

polishdude203 hours ago

On that note, I wonder how kissing affects our mouth bacteria. Like, does making out with someone transfer enough bacteria between the two people to make a difference?

0x45759 minutes ago

Not sure about just kissing, but here is about couples living together: https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/msystems.00043-17

I have a friend who started having a lot of teeth issues after moving in together. She swears nothing else has changed (i.e. food or stuff)

evmar3 hours ago

Babies are born without the mouth bacteria that cause cavities, and generally acquire them from their parents (e.g. kissing or sharing utensils).

Tagbert2 hours ago

Or transmitting prechewed food. That's the old school way.

pragma_x3 hours ago

> and that it'll stay genetically modified?

I honestly think the play here is to have customers continually inoculate with the same, or even improved, versions of their modified bacteria. Possibly with a very strong antibiotic course in between if a clean slate is needed. That would provide ample room to stay on top of mutations and gene swapping in-situ. Otherwise, you don't have a continuous revenue model or a successful product.

SamBam3 hours ago

But how do your re-inoculations colonize the teeth that have been fully colonized by your now-mutated old strains? Is the plan to require a full antibiotic mouthwash every few days, and then fresh inoculation? Ugh.

twic3 hours ago

Or just brush your teeth twice a day.

SamPatt34 minutes ago

Seriously - this is interesting tech but it seems like a mostly solved problem. Brush your teeth when you wake up, then floss and brush them again before you sleep.

Once it's routine (hopefully established in youth) it seems extremely easy to maintain.

ToValueFunfetti11 minutes ago

It's evidently not a solved problem- 80% of Americans have had a cavity by their mid thirties. I very much doubt even 5% of them were never told to brush their teeth.

aspectmin3 hours ago

>Whenever this topic comes up on HN it strikes me as bizarre that anyone thinks they can genetically modify a bacteria, release it into the wild - and that it'll stay genetically modified?

Hubris?

I'm all for progress and innovation. We need to couch such progress through the lens of thinking through the potential impacts of such progress though.

somenameforme3 hours ago

$$$ is a much easier explanation. People selling things that they know won't work in the way they claim is as old as time. Never attribute to incompetence that which can be attributed to malice, when it involves earning a ton of money.

ravenstine3 hours ago

It's as if most of us don't have a background in biology or genetics.

maxbond3 hours ago

Fair enough but I do feel like our everyday experience with biology informs this. If you cultivate a certain color of rose and release it into the wild, you wouldn't expect that color to persist, right? Maybe I'm out of touch but I feel like that's intuitive. Maybe the technology is sexy and dazzling and that makes it more difficult to engage critically.

ceejayoz3 hours ago

Depends on the plant. I've got two GMO plants in my house right now; glow-in-the-dark petunias (https://light.bio/) and purple tomatoes (https://www.norfolkhealthyproduce.com/). The tomatoes breed true (i.e. the seeds have the gene); the petunias do not and must be cloned via propagation.

Roses, fruit trees, etc. are the latter.

+1
maxbond3 hours ago
+1
somenameforme3 hours ago
+1
SamBam3 hours ago
+1
blacksmith_tb2 hours ago
+2
bbarnett1 hour ago
blacksmith_tb2 hours ago

It's possible (in a sense the species we see were all the winners of the same process). And it's being proposed to try and push desired traits throughout populations, like disease-spreading mosquitos[1]

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_drive

dmbche3 hours ago

You remind me - wasn't Crispr going to cure Malaria by modifying mosquitoes and releasing them in the wild? Wonder how thats going.

ceejayoz3 hours ago

That's a technique used since the 1950s with great success against the parasitic screw-worm; it's now gone from North and Central America. Every year we release millions to keep them in South America.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterile_insect_technique

https://www.fao.org/4/u4220t/u4220T0g.htm

> In February 1991, after 15 years of production and the sterilization of 220 billion insects, Mexico was declared screwworm free. The screwworm rearing plant in Mexico, the only one of its kind, continues producing flies on a large scale for the eradication efforts under way in Central America and now provides FAO's Screwworm Emergency Centre for North Africa (SECNA) with sterile flies to combat the recent outbreak in North Africa.

dmbche3 hours ago

Incredible! Thanks for the link.

grahamplace3 hours ago

Gene driving is the specific technique you’re referring to:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10795774/

meew03 hours ago

There is a huge difference in dose between “bacteria in your mouth producing an antibiotic” and “taking an antibiotic for an infection”. Bacteria, even the normal bacteria currently present in your mouth even without taking BCS3L-1, constantly produce antibiotics to kill competing bacteria. But they only produce tiny amounts, enough to affect the competitors in their immediate vicinity, but not nearly enough to cause any kind of systemic effect. If they did, you would already be experiencing these effects right now from all the other antibiotics produced by other bacteria in your mouth. In contrast, antibiotics for medical use are usually given in doses measured in the hundreds of milligrams or even grams, far more than mouth bacteria could ever possibly produce.

neilv2 hours ago

> I think this is a terrible idea, as well as probably illegal. Unlike most people in the Bay Area, I think formalized safety and efficacy trials are a must for health products. In fact, I told Aaron Silverbook this when he asked me for my advice about his product last fall.

No one is going to want to consult you, if you might blog about it, attacking them by name, so... if it was serious enough to burn professional bridges, why not go to the FDA, an Attorney General, a public health authority, an academic-professional society or journal, a Congressperson, or some other channel more official and credible than Substack?

buildsjets2 hours ago

Relating to fluoride's effect on bacterial biofilm - There are several different kinds of fluoride available in toothpaste, and they do not all have the same efficacy against bacterial plaque. Stannous fluoride is considerably more effective than sodium fluoride or sodium monofluorophosphate, but you may need to pay a small amount more for it and actually read the packaging to find it.

It's hard to find a website discussing it that is not paid for by a toothpaste company, but here's something. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24660268/

ivan_ah2 hours ago

Very interesting.

From that paper, the brand they used as example of stannous fluoride was "oral-B pro expert all-around protection" Do you know of any other brands?

I wonder if we can conclude it was the stannous fluoride that made the difference and one of the other ingredients.

buildsjets1 hour ago

I use Crest Pro-Health, from the grocery store. It also happens to be what my dentist hands out in their goody bag, but she did not know about the difference between different forms of Fluoride when I brought it up at a check-up. Probably picks the goody bag contents based on who gives the best kickbacks/perks.

I'm sure that there are other studies out that that compare the active ingredients in isolation rather than as a part of a commercial preparation, that's just the first one I came across that looked to be from a reasonably independent source, rather than a disguised advertisement.

PaulHoule1 hour ago

It drives me nuts that many toothpastes make big claims about what they do but don't clearly link that to the ingredients they contain. One of very few new ideas was the incorporation of Triclosan into Colgate Total which certainly takes a bite out of biofilms

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9220381/

but who knows if it is good for the rest of you.

canucker20163 hours ago

One could try gum with xylitol instead, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol

from https://www.aapd.org/globalassets/media/publications/archive...

"In addition, xylitol has a number of other effects on S mutans that may account for some of its clinical effects in caries reduction. Short-term consumption of xylitol is associated with decreased S mutans levels in both saliva and plaque.15 Long-term habitual consumption of xylitol appears to have a selective effect on S mutans strains. This results in selection for populations that are less virulent and less capable of adhering to tooth surfaces and, thus, are shed more easily from plaque into saliva."

slibhb4 hours ago

> Taking unapproved drugs is a bad idea

What about off-label medication?

I don't think taking Lumina is smart, more or less for the reasons the author ennumerates. I also think it's unlikely enough to hurt people that FDA approval shouldn't be required. There's a lot of stuff in that category!

Aurornis3 hours ago

> What about off-label medication?

Off-label means prescribed for a different purpose than originally indicated, at the prescriber's discretion. The medication must still have past safety testing and have shown efficacy for something.

> I also think it's unlikely enough to hurt people that FDA approval shouldn't be required. There's a lot of stuff in that category!

You can sell a lot of products as-is without FDA approval. However, making substantial claims about that product's medicinal properties is regulated in a different manner.

These people are trying to have the best of both worlds: Making extraordinary claims about preventing a medical condition, while also avoiding any participation in the FDA process or even funding standard trials.

I think the most obvious counter argument is that this could easily be a massively successful drug if it works as well as they claim. The TAM is everyone with teeth who wants to keep them, which is basically everyone. Yet instead they've chosen this weird path of embracing the rationalist community and supplement nuts, which is a much smaller market.

cool_dude853 hours ago

>I also think it's unlikely enough to hurt people that FDA approval shouldn't be required.

The author has provided some solid arguments that this is not the case. Why do you think so?

bigstrat20032 hours ago

I actually don't think the author provided very good arguments. It was my only real beef with the article: "this might do bad things" gets rounded off to "this is dangerous", even though his sources don't say the bad things will happen. They simply might happen.

tptacek57 minutes ago

The Precautionary Principle is problematic applied to public policy generally, but it's the accepted practice in medicine. You can argue it shouldn't be, but you shouldn't pretend you'd be in the mainstream with that argument.

cool_dude851 hour ago

Nobody can predict the future. Bad things only ever "can" happen until they do - they never "will" happen. The author explains why and how those things are possible.

axblount3 hours ago

Off-label drugs are still approved by the FDA for their original purpose.

ToValueFunfetti3 hours ago

Yeah, God forbid anyone take ginger or mint for an upset stomach, chamomile tea to relax, or melatonin to help them fall asleep. Or, more on topic, a toothpaste with FDA approved fluoride and FDA approved biomin which, when combined, lacks FDA approval. I never make any decisions that have not been approved officially by the US government

ryangs2 hours ago

Interesting read. Does not seem to be working with the same set of facts as the ACX post[1], especially around FDA approval.

[1]: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/defying-cavity-lantern-biow....

llsf3 hours ago

Okay, so what happens if I (french) kiss a person that is taking this bacteria producing continuously mutacin-1140 and ethanol ? Could it take over my mouth, and I would ended up mutacin tolerant, and accelerating my cirrhosis ?

MostlyStable3 hours ago

In theory yes, in practice no. Application is unlikely to be succesful without an extremely thorough cleaning of your mouth (think post-dentist). In the absence of dental-visit quality cleaning, the recommendation is to brush your teeth multiple times, using fresh brush heads, which results in an acceptable, but still not 100% success rate.

Infants being kissed by their mothers might get it though, as they lack an already existing micro-biome in their mouths against which the new bacteria would need to compete.

Additionally, if you were in a relationship with someone and were consistently kissing that person over time, it might eventually establish a foothold. But a single kiss, no matter how wet and sloppy, is almost certainly not enough.

ted_dunning3 hours ago

Gee... that could plausibly be a risk.

Surely that is analyzed in the FDA application file.

Oh wait, it's not.

Oh wait, there is no file.

Oh wait, they didn't do any significant testing at all.

To quote Dirty Harry, are you feeling lucky today?

julianeon3 hours ago

As soon as I understood "it kills the bacteria in your mouth... by making it a permanently alcoholic environment" I was out.

zepton3 hours ago

The negligible alcohol production is just a side effect, the alcohol itself does not kill the bacteria.

julianeon2 hours ago

Sorry, I didn't know that - I thought it was the mechanism. I appreciate the correction.

I don't like having alcohol there 24/7 but I concede that, this being true, it's not the issue I may have thought it was. I would want the FDA to sign off on it being okay, however.

jeffbee3 hours ago

Easiest way to determine whether some health fad is dangerous snake oil: search for it on Twitter and determine the overrepresentation of blue checks. Every character at the end of a screen name that comes from a Unicode "symbol" block counts as ten blue checks. The presence of "/dd" counts as 100 blue checks. Simple, effective metric.

astura2 hours ago

>The presence of "/dd" counts as 100 blue checks.

Sorry, I don't understand Twitter lingo and Google doesn't return anything - What does /dd mean?

jeffbee2 hours ago

It is associated with Bryan Johnson's book "Don't Die". The author advocates daily electrocution of your penis, among other moronic ideas. He has a bazillion followers among the petty VC crowd.

adamsb61 hour ago

This was so shocking that I went to look it up, and discovered that there's a bit of a telephone game here. It's "shockwave therapy" that isn't eletric. It uses acoustics to cause microscopic damage, and which Johnson rates as a 9/10 on the pain scale, "at the tip."

jeffbee55 minutes ago

My mistake for assuming there was only one way for a quack to "shock" a body part.

refulgentis2 hours ago

The Reddit CEO posted a long thread praising it, with distanced language like "How did I get that info? If you ask Lumina, they seemed happy to share"

He's an investor!

Aurornis3 hours ago

> I’ve also been disappointed for some months to see how many people I respect (and some I don’t respect) have been using it/promoting it. Taking unapproved drugs is a bad idea, no matter what rationalist bloggers with MDs, porn star/escort/sex researchers, Twitter guys, or conservative firebrands who get sick immediately after taking the unapproved drug tell you.

The "rationalist community" has always been quirky and edgy, but iterations in recent years have felt increasingly reactionary and contrarian at all costs. Being anti-FDA has been a meme in the rationalist community for several years, especially since Scott Alexander (Slate Star Codex / Astral Codex Ten) started writing anti-FDA pieces. (Side note: The conservative firebrand they're talking about is a person who was caught using a pseudonym to post extremely biased, racist material, who has somehow remained prominent in the community despite the revelations).

This appears to have primed the community for "FDA bad" takes, which has triggered their contrarian tendencies to assume that anything that goes against the FDA must therefore be good.

A supplement maker publicly defying the FDA and pushing out a miracle treatment without the normal rigor of human trials and safety reviews is the type of behavior that would have triggered skepticism from the rationalist community. Yet because the community has been primed with "FDA bad, anti-FDA good" memes for years and the person pitching this supplement is vaguely connected to the rationalist community, this product has triggered a lot of adoration and praise from the community.

The product also exists in a space that is difficult to disprove: The effects of any anti-cavity product can only really be shown over very long periods of time in controlled settings. Anyone who gets a cavity while using this product will surely be dismissed as having a pre-existing cavity growing, or poor oral hygiene, or being a statistical anomaly, or any other number of excuses. At the same time, I'm sure we're about to hear endless anecdotes from people who have been taking the supplement and haven't had any cavities (while ignoring the fact that most people also don't get cavities in a given year, even without this magic probiotic).

It feels like the perfect storm for a grift, and this company is taking the lead and running with it. It's weird that a blog post advising some caution and skepticism for a supplement pusher making extraordinary claims who has refused to participate in the normally expected clinical trials. It's equally weird to see the self-described rationalist community throwing scientific rigor to the wind and embracing marketer's claims.

I don't entirely understand what's going on here, but I think it's strange that an article advising a modicum of skepticism for supplement pushers is now considered a contrarian take in the rationalist community.

jseliger2 hours ago

Being anti-FDA has been a meme in the rationalist community for several years

The FDA is bad: https://jakeseliger.com/2023/07/22/i-am-dying-of-squamous-ce... and I'm dying largely because of their torpor and intransigence. It's not just "a meme." It's my life.

exmadscientist3 hours ago

To be fair to the anti-FDA people, the number-one source of FDA hate is actually having to interact with the FDA. They are not a pleasant agency to work with.

But I'd still rather have the current state of affairs than no FDA! I don't even have to think about that one!

dannyobrien1 hour ago

Note that Scott Alexander says it's 50/50 whether it works at all: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/updates-on-lumina-probiotic...

generalizations3 hours ago

> person who was caught using a pseudonym

You mean doxxed. Since when do we condone doxxing?

tptacek3 hours ago

I don't think we have to have this subthread, but opinion on what happened here is anything but unified --- if you're talking about Alexander. If you're talking about Hanania, calling what happened to him a "doxing" would be closer to a fringe opinion.

bee_rider3 hours ago

I think the idea that an organization like the FDA could have thought hard about ideas like “thinking about risk and probability” before contrarian bloggers arrived to save us from ourselves is offensive to rationalists.

NoImmatureAdHom3 hours ago

I'm curious, why do you think this is different than other "supplements"?

Or "functional foods"?

Or homeopathy?

Or branded generics?

All are lightly regulated. Some work, most don't, and most try to take advantage of stupid people. Is this notable because a bunch of smart people have been taken in (if it doesn't work and / or is dangerous, I haven't enough knowledge to judge for myself)?

Side note: I'm pretty sure using "biased" to denigrate other people is over, Gretchen.

mrguyorama21 minutes ago

>I'm pretty sure using "biased" to denigrate other people is over, Gretchen.

Your username is literally "NoImmatureAdHom"

jrd25957 minutes ago

I'm disappointed by the somewhat ad-hominem attack on Silverbook for being a porn producer: "Aaron, based on his previous work as guy at a rationalist nonprofit, videogame producer, and porn producer, decided to recreate Hillman’s work." Previous work experience is irrelevant, and besides, don't at least some of aspire to being polymaths?

everyoneinmusic40 minutes ago

Funny joke, but many people consider pornography and its creators to be fundamentally immoral, anti-social and destructive towards civil society in general. So I think it's plenty relevant. Same reason Scott promoting the work of "sex researchers" who promote the same sort of thing is reason for many to be skeptical of his integrity.

deelowe3 hours ago

I was hoping for a more thorough explanation for why this particular regimen is dangerous. Instead this is a rather lengthy essay which ultimately relies on the appeal to authority fallacy. Not to say I think people should just put random things into their bodies - It is indeed probably not the best idea.

That said, I'm not sure I learned anything new after reading this.

samrmay3 hours ago

The article does specifically mention that the strain used produces an antibody which survives in the gut and may demolish your gut microbiome. Also one of the footnotes mentions that producing alcohol instead of lactic acid as a byproduct may not be as harmless at it seems.

I'm also not sure that taking issue with a company bypassing systemic protections against dangerous drugs is an appeal to authority.

atuladhar3 hours ago

What a strange take! Not an expert (or even a beginner) in this area by any means, but I definitely learned a lot, and I thought the author pretty clearly laid out why they think this probiotic may not be good for your body. Did we read the same blog post?

nrdgrrrl3 hours ago

[dead]

SamBam3 hours ago

Did you stop reading halfway through?

ted_dunning3 hours ago

Citing published articles is not generally considered appeal to authority.

eynsham3 hours ago

How does the section titled ‘Category 2: the known health risks of BCS3L-1’ problematically appeal to authority? It seems to about as much as appealing to known results that swallowing vast quantities of lead is a bad idea would. (The other sections certainly appeal to authority, although not obviously fallaciously to me, but that would be to go over quite tired ground about medical regulation.)

19394168363 hours ago

The article lists several reasons why the regimen is dangerous: if you get the bacteria that you're supposed to be getting, that bacteria will be continuously producing an antibiotic. Having bacteria constantly dosing you with antibiotics can lead to all the sorts of issues that long-term antibiotics present. Secondly, the article claims, probiotic manufacturing is very susceptible to contamination. Luckily, there are steps a manufacturer can take to avoid contamination, but it doesn't appear that this manufacturer is taking these steps.

All of this is stated in the article, if you missed this on your first read, you might consider re-reading it :)

JohnFen43 minutes ago

That it's marketed as a "cosmetic" and also includes the word "probiotic" is plenty enough reason for me to steer very clear of this.