Where are Probiotics?
Which Probiotics are Best for Me?
Probiotics are living microorganisms which provide extraordinary health benefits by competing with harmful microbes and by boosting the immune system.
Probiotics live naturally in many fermented foods such as yogurt, aged cheeses, kimchi and pickles. When targeting a specific illness, a probiotic supplement may be more effective.
Different probiotic strains have been sucessfully deployed in allergies, eczema, immune disorders, acute and chronic infections, irritable bowel, hypertension, high cholesterol and in preventing some cancers. Arthritis, autism, cystic fibrosis and obesity are among the exciting new areas of research where probiotics are proving beneficial.
Probiotics under the Microscope
Research on probiotics is streaming in at a fast pace thanks to foundation grants and industry money. Every day, pieces of information add to this exciting wing of microbiology: Some studies will come up short while others will show great promise for a particular strain of bacteria in a very specific disease. All the research, all the time--that's what you'll find in this section.
May 15, 2013
Probiotics Emerge in Infant Stool
Infants born by Caesarean section have altered gut microbiota, with lower numbers of bifidobacteria and Bacteroides, compared to that of infants who were delivered vaginally. Probiotic supplementation has been
May 8, 2013
Prebiotics for the Elderly
As people age, they become more vulnerable to metabolic and immune system malfunctions. Prebiotics lead to production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which defend against conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, intestinal cancer and heart disease. Read more here in Food Research International.
May 2, 2013
Care for Colic?
Colic can upset parents as much as the child when it is a generally harmless swallowing of air. In Nigeria, some mothers think it causes loose stools and fever among other disorders. Reserachers think they may be overtreating. Read more here in the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice...
April 28, 2013
Fewer Sick Days for Rugby Players
Elite athletes seem to be more prone to infections. Players from an elite rugby squad in New Zealand received either probiotics or placebo for four weeks. There was a reduction in illnesses as well as a shorter duration for episodes in the group receiving probiotics. Read more here..
April 21, 2013
Repopulating the Vagina
In bacterial vaginosis (BV), recurrence after treatment with antibiotics is common. A recent literature review from Iran concluded that specific Lactobacillus strains of at least 108CFU/day for two months were most beneficial. Read more about this nagging problem which can lead to serious complications.
April 15, 2013
Probiotics experts say that while probiotic interventions have shown promise in certain clinical conditions, more and specific information is needed:Progress in this area will be facilitated by: optimising strain, dose and product formulations, including protective commensal species; matching these formulations with selectively responsive subpopulations; and identifying ways to manipulate diet to modify bacterial profiles and metabolism. Read more in GUT journal.
April 10, 2013
Probiotics Reduce Price of Diarrhea
Antibiotic treatment often comes with diarrhrea and longer hospital stays. Researchers in the UK wanted to know if probiotics would reduce costs. They found that the provision of probiotics can achieve substantial cost savings and can be recommended as a cost-eff ective regime in the perioperative setting. See the numbers here at P83 in the list.
April 7, 2013
ICU Infections Require New Treatments
Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the ICU. In addition to fatalities, VAP also prolongs mechanical ventilation, increases the duration of ICU and hospital stays, accounts for more antibiotic consumption, and generates more costs. Probiotics should be explored as treatment or prevention. Read more in Chest journal.
Conquering Spores in C. diff
A role for probiotics in Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been promising. This paper from Beneficial Microbes journal aserts that the future points towards a multistrain mixture of probiotics to reduce CDI, but also to limit (nosocomial) transmission and/or endogenous reinfection. Read more here...
March 25, 2013
No Help from Probiotics in Ear Infection Trial
In this 18 month French trial, 224 children with acute otis media(AOM)or ear infections were randomly assigned to receive formula supplemented with pre and probiotics. Results were disappointing: the treatment and control groups did not differ in incidence of AOM number of antibiotic treatment courses or recurrent AOM. Read more in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
March 21, 2013
Staying Alive or Not?
Labels on probiotic products--accurate? This new study looked at European products and found some shortfalls: Ten in twenty-four products (42%) did not contain the labelled bacterial amount. In four of these products, whole colonies were missing. Read more in the Journal of Chemotherapy.
March 18, 2013
Probiotics Lessen Obesity Effects
The obesity epidemic has clinicians looking for answers. Probiotics may help. Researchers gave strains of Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum to obese mice. There were good results in metabolic and immune function including lower cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose levels, insulin resistance and better glucose tolerance. Read more in Obesity.
March 9, 2013
Probiotics Advised for Expectant Mothers
A new review of literature on microbiota, probiotics, and reproductive health shows promise. Lactobacilli fight pathogens and boost immunity as well as reduce complications in pregnancy.
March 5, 2013
Probiotics Best Antibiotics in Dairy Cows
This study looked at vaginal lactic acid bacteria against the most prevalent bacteria in uterine infections in order to investigate their probiotic potentials as an alternative approach to antibiotics. Results showed that Lactobacillus spp might be as or more efficient as antibiotics in postpartum dairy cows. Read more here...
March 3, 2013
Solo Strains Fight UTIs Well
Researchers asked if probiotic mixtures were better than single strains in quashing urinary tract pathogens. Probiotic mixtures prevented the growth of urinary tract pathogens but were not significantly more inhibitory than single strains. They also found that metabolites or byproducts of the probiotics are effective against the bad guys. Read more here...
February 21, 2103
Probiotics Treat Metabolic Syndrome
A high fructose diet is implicated in the development of metabolic syndrome,a growing pandemic which leads to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Researchers in South Korea added probiotics to the diets of rats which had metabolic syndrome induced by diet. Results:Strains of L. curvatus and L. plantarum combined suppressed the clinical characteristics of high-fructose-induced metabolic syndrome, suggesting a treatment of diet-induced metabolic syndrome. Read more in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.
February 17, 2013
Do Probiotics Soothe Atopic Dermatitis?
Atopic dermatitis (AD)--a chronic dermatitis with hallmarks of severe itching and oozing blisters-- may affect 14% of young children. Now, an excellent review from Brazil surveys the scientific literature. For example, exclusive breastfeeding for four months or more, decreases the risk of developing AD in the first four years of life, regardless of the child’s family allergy history. The authors concluded that while most studies showed improvements in microbiota not all showed clinical imnprovement. Look at the PDF here.
February 12, 2013
Probiotics as Fatbusters
This review out of India discusses the antiobesity potential of probiotics, a role which is gathering steam because of new evidence. Microbes figure in energy homeostasis as well as fat metabolism. While the mechanisms are not yet clear, the future looks promising. Read more of the abstract here.
February 7, 2013
Probiotics Boost Immunity in Breast Cancer
A poster from the First International Congress of Medical Bacteriology at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences reported on research which evaluated a Lactobacillus delbrueckii strain on breast cancer in inbred mice. Results showed improved immunity as well as gut wall integrity. Read more here..
February 4, 2013
The surge of interest in microbiome research and media attention has public health researchers calling on epidemiologists to contribute their expertise to and translate results of microbiota research for population health.
January 30, 2013
Probiotics Fight Fat
The antiobesity potential of probiotics is gaining attention because of the role of gut microbiota in energy homeostasis and fat accumulation. The underlying pathways governing the antiobesity effects of probiotics remain unclear. Read more here...
January 26, 2013
Regulation or Not?
Both the USA and Europe have a booming probiotic product and supplement market. These governments have taken different approaches to protecting the public against spurious claims. On one end there is minimal regulation which relies on a marketplace which respects individual choice and the other backs considerable regulation in order to protect the consumer. Read more here in the journal Beneficial Microbes.
January 22, 2013
Probiotics Lessen Colic
Eighty primarily breastfed infants who suffered with colic(defined as crying episodes lasting 3 or more hours per day and occurring at least 3 days per week within 7 days prior to enrollment) received either a strain of Lactobacillus reuteri or placebo. The probiotic group showed more recovery as well as shorter crying times. Read the entire PDF on probiotics and colic in The Journal of Pediatrics.
January 19, 2013
Probiotics No Insurance Against Allergies, Says New Study
Kindergartners who had participated in a clinical trial as infants in which they were given probiotics supplements were just as likely to have allergies or asthma later. All of the babies were considered to be at increased risk of allergies because their mothers suffered from them. Read more...
January 16, 2013
Probiotics and Diabetes
Diabetes has many risk factors, one of which is altered gut microbiota. Much research has revealed the benefit of probiotics especially lactobacilli and bifidobacteria for the prevention and disease treatment. This review highlights the new developments in probiotic interventions. Read more about probiotics and diabetes in Diabetes metabolism Research and Reviews.
January 13, 2013
Probiotics Team Up against Asthma
Certain foods are associated with less risk of asthma, a growing problem. Fruits, vegetables, fish and probiotics are separately seen to help modestly. What can they do together? Researchers from Taiwan designed an elegant trial looking at 192 asthmatic children aged 10-12 years. Compared with the placebo group, the supplement group improved in pulmonary function and used fewer bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids. Read more about asthma and probiotics in British Journal of Nutrition.
January 8, 2012
Probiotics Halt Herpes
Antivirals are credited with much success in smallpox and now HIV. This treatise in PDF form sought to determine if and how probiotics stimulate the immune system to also defend against viruses. It also tests the benefits of prebiotic loads on mice infected with herpes. Lactobacilli, but not bifidobacteria, showed benefit against various viral infections. Read more of this exciting research...
January 4, 2012
Zeroing in on Colon Cancer
A report in Gut suggests that colon cancer outcomes will benefit when variation in gut biogeography at subsite level is made clearer. Plainly, all polyps are not equal. The authors also call for a better understanding of the effects of gut microbiome and host interactions on these often deadly cancers.
January 1, 2012
Power of Probiotics in Cancer
This review in the Journal of Gastrointestinal Cancer looks at how probiotics may impact gastrointestinal cancers which account for one fourth of all cancers.Theoretically, probiotics reduce cancer risk by a number of mechanisms: binding and degradation of potential carcinogens; alterations of the intestinal microflora; production of anti-tumorigenic or anti-mutagenic compounds; competing with pathogenic bacteria; enhancement of the host’s immune response; and direct effects on cell proliferation. Wow.