Don’t be Surprised if Your Family Doctor Recommends Probiotics


ASBThe January 2016 Issue of the Journal of Family Practice has published guidelines on the use of probiotics for gastrointestinal illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), antibiotic associated diarrhea and acute infectious diarrhea.

The author’s recommendations include:

  • The use of a combination probiotic to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms
  • The use of probiotics containing Lactobaccilus for the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and Saccharomyces to prevent Clostridium dificile infection
  • The use of probiotics containing both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium for acute infectious diarrhea or traveler’s diarrhea

These recommendations were all given an ‘A’ rating by the journal for the high quality of patient oriented evidence that supports them.  This is great news and important support for the efficacy of probiotics in clinical practice!

What do microbes do in our gut?

The microbes in our gut have several important functions.  They supply essential nutrients by breaking down complex food molecules. They generate bile acids that assist in digesting fat.  Microbes in the gut synthesize vitamins and contribute to the defensive barrier of our gut lining.  And finally, they interact with the immune system to modulate immune activity without causing autoimmunity, or in other words, an hyperactive immune system.

Because there are a multitude of microbes and many functions of the collective microbiome current research is attempting to clarify specific causes and effects within the body.

Evidence supporting the use of probiotics for digestive issues is the strongest.

There is clear evidence that probiotics can improve and treat digestive illness.

In a meta-analysis of 43 studies there was a significant decrease in the symptoms of IBS such as abdominal pain, bloating and flatulence when the patient used a probiotic. The evidence supports using a combination of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, such as found in H2PRO probiotics and vitamins, to help relieve the symptoms of IBS.

Probiotics help with acute infectious or traveler’s diarrhea and have been shown to decrease the duration of the event by 25 hours as well as improving stool frequency in as little as 48 hours. Probiotics have also been documented to induce and maintain remission in ulcerative colitis patients.

Future research will clarify the role probiotics will play in a variety of disorders.

There is encouraging evidence that probiotics may play a role in metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes.  A combination of Lactobaccillus and Bifidobacterium are thought to help correct imbalances in the GI biome by increasing short chain fatty acids that increase feelings of satiety and decrease food intake as well as inflammation.

Probiotics may play a role in treating psychiatric illness in the future. New evidence has strengthened the theory that our gut microbes influence the Gut-Brain Axis by modulating the immune system and possibly decreasing episodes or intensity of depression and anxiety.

Finally, probiotics have potential to treat or influence allergic disease such as eczema and rheumatoid arthritis.  Strong evidence supports the use of preventative probiotics in children under two who are at high risk of developing eczema, though probiotics are not a treatment for eczema itself.  Research in this area continues to grow.

Probiotics have a high safety profile and are easy to incorporate into your diet.

H2PRO probiotics and vitamin powder is an easy way to incorporate a multi-strain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic into your routine.  It is tasty, has added vitamins and can be easily taken to work, while travelling or to the gym. Try one of our products in Acai Berry, Lemonade or Flavorless and invest in your health, daily.

#LoveYourGuts

 

Citation

Schneiderham, Jill et al. (2016) Targeting gut flora to treat and prevent disease. Journal of Family Practice. 65(1):33-38.