Probiotics may not be that helpful - and could actually do some harm

According to background information in the study, nearly 4 million adults take either probiotics or prebiotics (foods that are said to feed healthy bacteria in the gut), and about 60 percent of USA health care providers prescribe probiotics to their patients. But new research suggests they might not be as effective as we think.

Probiotic foods have grown in popularity over the last decade, but the science behind their so-called benefits may not be conclusive.

In one group, which the researchers named "resisters", the bacteria simply moved from one end to the other without ever attaching to the gut.

After the antibiotics had cleared the methodology, the long-established probiotics could additionally with out complications colonize the gut of all and sundry in the second team, but to the workforce's surprise, this probiotic colonization performed with out the host's long-established microbiome and gut gene expression profile from returning to their long-established shriek for months in a while. This signifies that probiotics could additionally unbiased tranquil no longer be universally given as a "one-size-fits-all" complement. And sometimes, doctors even encourage people to take probiotics after they've been on antibiotics, to help get things back to normal.

The BBC article also discussed another study from the Weizmann Institute that investigated the impact of probiotics after a course of antibiotics (to "wipe the slate clean", so to speak).

Additionally, a national health survey found that the use of probiotics or prebiotics by adults in the U.S.in 2012 was four times higher than in 2007. They have been studied in a variety of conditions, including antibiotic-related diarrhea, digestive disorders, tooth decay, allergies, eczema, liver disease and even the common cold.

To date, evidence to back up numerous health claims associated with probiotics is lacking.

Probiotic supplements are very popular with American consumers. But people who were given a pill of their own bacteria recovered from the antibiotics much more quickly. "It was significantly bad, and persistent", said Elinav.

However, Eran Elinav insists we do already have the technology at our disposal to create personalized gut health tests, and he can envision something being available globally "in the near future".

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In a series of experiments involving mice and healthy human volunteers, the Israeli researchers found that probiotics only sometimes do what they're advertised to do: change the makeup of our gut's bacterial environment, known as the microbiome. They then randomly divided the volunteers into two groups.

Generic priobiotic strains were given to one group, and a placebo was administered to the other. The second group was given a placebo.

After three weeks, the volunteers underwent another round of endoscopies and colonoscopies. The second team become as soon as administered the identical generic probiotics primitive in the essential scrutinize. But compared with the control and aFMT groups, the probiotic subjects fared the worst in terms of reestablishing their microbial communities.

In the other 50 per cent of cases, bacteria lingered but briefly, before being crowded out by existing microbes. The probiotics did effectively "colonize" their gastrointestinal tracts, but they did so at the expense of the normal gut microbiome, delaying the return to its normal, pre-antibiotic state by several months. The second group was given the same 21 strains of probiotics used in the first study. Probiotics are "good bacteria" taken in food or supplement form, that are thought to contribute to this gut microbiome. This demonstrates that not everyone who takes a catch-all type of probiotic is able to assimilate the product in their digestive tract. However, a fecal transplant resulted in a quick return of the normal microbiome.

Prof Elinav said: 'Contrary to the current dogma that probiotics are harmless and benefit everyone, these results reveal a new potential adverse side effect of probiotic use with antibiotics that might even bring long-term consequences.

Scientists are now saying that probiotics and microbiomes - living organisms in the body - need to be studied more extensively.

What can help, she noted, is eating a more plant-based diet. It's the cornerstone on which a healthy gut is built. "They don't like the typical Western diet", Heller said.

FMI: You can read both studies on Cell's website. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

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