Bravo Probiotic – Actually a System for Making a New Ecosystem NOT Merely a Probiotic

One of the frustrating things in dealing with most chronic illnesses is related to the gut ecosystem. TV ads are now extolling the issues of a bad gut ecosystem so the message about gut flora (the protective bacteria of the intestinal track) is getting much more widely accepted. The challenges I have experienced with many patients, however, makes this far more complex than merely popping a few probiotic capsules.

In previous blogs I have written about fecal transplantation or fecal bacteriotherapy (FBT). Recently the FDA warned doctors to not attempt this without FDA approval making it all but impossible these days.  It has been a successful means of changing out a bad ecosystem in the got for a better one and in cases of life-threatening infectious diarrhea it has been published in the medical literature to be life-saving.

But given the impracticality and regulatory barriers, FBT is not a viable option. So what can we do? My choice is now Bravo and you can find it on the web at www.bravoprobiotic.com. Bravo is a complex multistrain bacterial fermentation process; it is not merely a probiotic and technically it is a fermented dairy product you make in your kitchen by using their system and culture blends.  And if you have been around natural health very long you know most dairy is an issue for children with autism and many other health issues.  However, tests on Bravo at a major university indicate it does not contain casein and other milk proteins after the bacteria digest the milk in the process of fermentation. In my population of sensitive children it has been very well tolerated.

After answering hundreds of emails about Bravo I decided it may be easier to just post this information with detailed pictures of how I make it for myself.

Bravo Maker

You will need a yogurt maker and I chose this one which I ordered from the internet for about $40 US.  I also ordered extra jars because the standard volumes of yogurt suggested in the instructions yields more than the 7 jars will hold.

bravo 6

Extra jars for the yogurt maker I purchased.  You can get any yogurt maker you like – although Bravo suggests you use one with an automatic shut off.

bravo 1

I suggest you read the instructions all the way through at least once prior to starting the process and make sure you have all the suggested materials you need.  For me it meant a trip to Target to get a thermometer and a medium metal strainer and a other items like glass jars and special sized cooking pot for boiling the milk. The instructions give you a list of all the material you will need. The instructions talk about a smidgen as a unit of measure.  Technically that is 1/32 of a teaspoon and before you get worried the Bravo starter kit includes a smidgen measuring spoon which you can see on the plate next the to ladle spoon.

The US still uses the Imperial measuring system so for many of you the metric units in the instructions require conversion.  So her are a few tips: 1 liter = approximately 4.23 cups.  The instructions ask you to boil 2.5 litters of milk so that is 10.5 cups (actually a bit more so like 10.6) and there are 16 cups to a gallon so that is more than a 1/2 gallon of milk.  I recommend you use a non-homogenized milk but Bravo instructions don’t mind but they want the full fat milk (whole).  I also suggest you use organic milk. You can use cow or goat or sheep but you cannot use non-mammal milk – meaning almond, rice, soy are all NO-NOs.  You do not need to spend the extra money to buy non-pasteurized since you will boil the milk anyway. They suggest you NOT use the ultra-pasteurized milk now common in stores to increase shelf-life.

As you can see there is a bottle of Colostrum in the picture above.  Kirkman sells a high quality colostrum (milk derived) but again no worries. The dose of colostrum is a little tricky.  The initial suggestion is for 8oz (1 cup) of colostrum (not in the instructions) but that makes the yogurt a little runny.  You need to work on this as time goes on but consistency is not that critical to culture results and health benefits. Temperature conversion are in the instructions.

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Preheating the yogurt maker and cups without their lids for 2 hours is critical.

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In the front is what Bravo calls compound 1 and behind that is compound 2.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU WASH YOUR HANDS, JARS, SPOONS ETC AND KEEP THEM CLEAN AND DRY THROUGHOUT TO PREVENT CONTAMINATION.

I find the taste good without any special flavoring required but then I like real yogurt which is not the sugary stuff we get in the US. You can add honey to it but not until you are ready to serve.  If your child or you are unaccustomed to real fermented food I suggest you go slow and start with small amounts like  a teaspoon and work your way up to large doses.  I suggest adults and teens can have 4 oz a day and medium children 2 oz and little children 1 oz (2 tablespoons are 1 ounce).

Bravo is very responsive to emails so if you have any other questions please contact them about specifics. I hope this is helpful to you all. 

About Dr Bradstreet
Dr Bradstreet is a graduate of the University of South Florida College of Medicine and received his residency training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona. He is extensively published in the peer-reviewed literature on subjects of autism, oxidative stress, mitochondrial disorders, virology, hyperbaric oxygen, and toxicology (especially heavy metal chelation). He is trained in the the isolation and use of stem cells.

12 Responses to Bravo Probiotic – Actually a System for Making a New Ecosystem NOT Merely a Probiotic

  1. Brian says:

    We are making it now per your suggestion and look forward to trying it – for the whole family. The process is a bit challenging at first as there are multiple steps over multiple days, but the Bravo people are great at answering emails with questions. We have tried a lot of different probiotics and hope that this is the one that really makes a difference!

  2. Valerie Bunz says:

    Thank you for all these great details. I agree Bravo has been great about answering questions and havd agreed to ship me a year’s supply to share with two local friends so we can assess how our son’s do-very accommodating. Thankfully for us we are also metric (Canada) and now I know to ask for several “smidgen” spoons.

  3. Ashley L says:

    Would it be faster to use 2 yogurt makers instead of buying extra jars? Or are the extra jars used just for storage of leftover starter?

    • 2 yogurt makers do not speed up the process since only 1/2 the batch actually ferments in the yogurt maker – extra jars are desirable for portion control in the fridge after the components are combined.

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks Dr. B… Great cabinets, by the way

    I’d love for parents who have tried this to share their experiences here including whether or not the packaging was sufficient. I’ve never liked ordering probiotics in the middle of the summer.

    • Susan says:

      The Bravo kit is a small cosmetics bag in which the Starter #1 (dark amber glass bottle), Starter #2 (foil packets), and Probiotic #3 (clear plastic bottle) plus a smidgen spoon was enclosed. The cosmetic bag was shipped in a plastic envelope via DHL; there is no refrigeration required. The instructions advise to keep Starter #1 in the freezer after opening but Starter #2 and Probiotic #3 can be kept in a cool and dry location.

      Some tips per my experiences:

      1) My local nature store only carries organic milk in half-gallon cartons and every brand was ultra-pasteurized which Bravo specifically advises not to use. I checked other grocery stores and found similar (e.g., “national” organic brands such as Horizon, etc.). I eventually found that organic pasteurized milk was available in plastic jugs which I located at Publix (their Greenwise organic label) and also at Trader Joe’s.

      2) Bravo also has a caveat about not using “extra” fortified milk — so don’t buy milk that has Vitamin A beyond 6% RDA, Vitamin D greater than 25% RDA, and calcium beyond 30% RDA (or DHA additives, etc.)

      3) Day 1 is definitely the most time consuming and tedious because you spend a lot of time waiting for the milk to cool to the appropriate temperatures specified for the two compounds. I found that about 30 minutes after you begin to warm the yogurt jars (extremely important), you can begin heating the milk. It took about 90 minutes or so to cool down to the ~105 F temperature for Compound #1 (from boiling), so the yogurt jars should be ready by the time this optimum temperature is reached. Then, it’s more waiting for the milk to cool to the 70 – 86F temperature for Compound #2.

      4) For the colostrum, I also used Kirkman Labs hypoallergenic colostrum; the folks at Bravo confirmed for me that 8 ounces was needed for one batch and they also advised that if I was using the 16-ounce bottle, the remainder would keep for the two weeks after opening until my next Bravo batch. It’s more economical to buy the 16-ounce bottles — I think they’re $52 while the 8-ounce bottles are almost $33.

      5) To make the final Bravo mixture which combines Compounds #1 and #2, you sprinkle a half a smidgen of Probiotic #3 on top of 4 ounces of the combined #1 and #2 mixture, but you are not to further mix or shake Probiotic #3 into it. The instructions advise that if you use a larger amount of the mixture per your containers, to calculate accordingly the amount of Probiotic #3 to be used. Given the cost of Bravo, I was really paranoid about doing it right, so I found that glass baby food jars are 4 ounces and bought 17 (I choose applesauce since we’d actually eat it instead of wasting) — 14 as required and 3 extra for overflow (which I did use). That way, no smidgen calculations!

      6) The recipe was designed to provide an excess of product for every step in the process in case of spillage or other accidents. So you’ll find that you won’t use all your milk or the completed compounds — essentially you’re taking large aliquots of each and will have residual remaining. In my case, when my milk boiled over a bit, I still had plenty.

      7) As Dr. B emphasized, read the directions a couple times minimally to have a good understanding of the process and also to ensure you’ll have all the materials you need before you start the procedure. I too had to go out and purchase most everything new, either to ensure cleanliness or due to the lack of the items in my kitchen supplies.

      8) I was very concerned about the dairy issue because my son is extremely intolerant and in general, he’s a very, very sensitive child — reacts to most everything where other children do well. He’s done very well with Bravo and takes 4 ounces daily (he’s 11-years old). He’s struggled with gut problems no matter what we’ve done and tried previously, and almost immediately after starting Bravo, he had an improved calmness, happier demeanor, and stopped “Lamaze” breathing (which he does in pain, particularly gut pain which he has always experienced to some degree). He had a routine neurology appointment a few days after starting Bravo and his neurologist noticed how much calmer he was, better eye contact with her, and more willingness to engage and interact (my son is nonverbal). Thus far, it’s been very beneficial for my son and I hope everyone else has a similar experience.

  5. HD says:

    FDA backed off somewhat on fecal transplants. At least for c-diff.
    One other comment – looking at all these instructions for Bravo, home fecal transplants don’t seem that much more complex. Although you do need a donor who has been tested first.

  6. Star Laz says:

    Wow! This must have some super power stuff! The cost for a three month supply is $730+$80 shipping. What worries me above the cost is, that the product contains a strain of strap. There are no studies that I am aware of that show what happens when Strap A and B dance. What is the effect? How does it react with one another, especially if you already existing strep overloads slanted in one direction. In our case, when I give him probiotics with any form of Strep, he goes bonkers, his OCD gets worse. Now, please understand, I am not saying this product will make you go bonkers! I am just stating a fact of what happens in our case. Sorry, I am not yet sold.

  7. Ashley says:

    Question for Susan or Dr. B…I’m unclear on how you have extra “liquid” from compound 2 to use as starter for the 2nd week? I keep re-reading the instructions and it seems there is leftover compound 1…not compound 2. What am I missing?

    I also would like to know if these two compounds (once fermented, but before colostrum is added) can be strained through a cheese cloth to remove some of the extra whey? This would make it much thicker like greek yogurt and it would be less runny once the colostrum is added. I do this when I make traditional yogurt. Any thoughts here?

    • Brian says:

      I just made the Bravo Probiotic last week so it’s pretty fresh in my mind. The extra compound 2 comes in the last step as you mix 1 and 2 together you use 750ml of Compound 2 that leaves you 250ml of compound 2 as a starter for next time.
      My question for people who have been using this for a while – do things typically get worse before they get better using this? I guess that might make sense as things are getting rebuilt….

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