Archive for Probiotic
Protective role of probiotics and prebiotics in colon cancer
Fiber has been shown to be protective against colon cancer, but a recent study shed some doubt on this belief. However, it is commonly believed that this protective effect comes from the action of probiotics on soluble fiber, producing butyrate. I would love to see the bacterial environment of the GI tracts of the patients used in the study that showed no benefit from fiber, and re-evaluate the data.
AJCN — Abstracts: Wollowski et al. 73 (2): 451S
Protection from gastrointestinal diseases with the use of probiotics
Need I say more?? American Journal of Clinical nutrition, Feb 2001 has devoted an entire supplement to probiotics. Their value, safety and therapeutic benefit has held out in clinical trials and case controls. I use them quite frequently in my practice.
AJCN — Abstracts: Marteau et al. 73 (2): 430S
Probiotics: effects on immunity
Once we finally accept that the GI tract has a strong ability to modulate the response of the immune system throughout the entire body, then using probiotics to help boost immune function becomes an entirely rational therapeutic avenue. And remember…antibiotics will kill off these normal, protective flora. Could it be shown in the years to come that antibiotics actually lower our immune response?
AJCN — Abstracts: Isolauri et al. 73 (2): 444S
Probiotic agents to protect the urogenital tract against infection
What a wonderful article!! I have had numerous patients use probiotics for recurrent urinary tract infections as well as yeast infections. The results from a distilled water douche is almost instantaneous. Lactobacillus is a normal inhabitant of the vaginal vault, and its acidity prevents many other bacteria and yeast from growing. Such a simple therapy…
AJCN — Abstracts: Reid 73 (2): 437S
Erythromycin as a prokinetic agent in infants and children
One of these days I may just throw up my hands in despair and give up preaching against the incoming tide. Until then… What we see here is that the pharmaceuticals may be loosing some of their business in this era of reduced antibiotic use so they are looking for another indication for their drug. Save money on R & D…just take one of the side effects of the drug and try to turn it into an indication! Truly amazing. The idea of using an antibiotic to increase motility of the GI tract goes beyond incredulous. How about using probiotics, high fiber and prebiotics (such as insulin and FOS) instead? Much safer and you are actually looking at fixing whatever is causing the decreased transit.
Synergy : Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 15 (5), 595-603
Improvement of symptoms in infant colic with lactase
This is such a simple and easy approach to any infant suffering with colic. Remember to add in probiotics as well.
Synergy : Journal of Human Nutrition & Dietetics 14 (5), 359-363
If only it were that simple, but physiology rarely is. But this does not mean you can’t use this info on probiotics and weight gain to your advantage.
Out of all the topics I’ve covered in the past 13 years and some 2500 blog posts, there are a few that stand out. Vitamin D, exercise, diabetes prevention, chronic migraine relief. Probiotics, or those beneficial little buggers that should be present in your gut, is also way up on this list.
That is because the research on probiotics is everywhere across multiple specialties and any number of disease states. Many times I do not flag interesting journal articles on probiotics because I sound like such a darn broken record. So why am I doing it again? Certainly not boredom–I’ve got 20 other articles in my inbox for blog fodder. Maybe it’s because, at times, the evidence for a particular benefit becomes so overwhelming that it needs to be said again.
We are clearly at that point when it comes to probiotics and regulation of body weight.
The problem is that it is not a matter of having obese people add in some probiotics and “Viola!” They wake up skinny. The reality is that having the right blend of healthy bacteria in your gut seems to help set the tone for your body weight over a lifetime. This begins from birth. I recently had a patient with a 4 month old infant tell me that her pediatrician actually recommended probiotics, but that she should start after 6 months.
Well intentioned, but off base by 6 months. Passage through the womb begins the process and nursing continues the exposure of the newborn and infant to bacteria. Waiting for 6 months in a formula fed baby is just WAY too long to wait. This could potentially make the difference between a lifetime of being at an ideal weight versus this child fighting his weight for the rest of his life. Needless to say, I stressed how important it was not to wait 6 months.
As this particular article points out, the details on the process still are not ironed out. Frankly, given the difference in everyone’s physiology and the hundreds of species of bacteria that are present in the gut, I don’t think we’ll ever get the specifics.
Besides this study, here are some previous blog articles looking at the relationship between probiotics and weight:
The take home message is twofold. First, the use of antibiotics for non-life threatening situations needs to go away. Nothing will destroy the delicate balance of the bacteria in your gut faster than antibiotics. Second, supplementation of probiotics intermittently is not a bad idea. this concept is particularly important for newborns, infants, toddlers and children.
My general recommendations are as follows:
- Teens and Adults: 20 billion cfu / day taken one or two weeks per month.
- Infants and toddlers: 5-10 billion cfu / day at least several days per week.
- Preschoolers and elementary kids: 10-20 billion cfu several days per week.
While these recommendations vary greatly based on the individual situation, it is a good place to start.
Ingested probiotics reduce nasal colonization with pathogenic bacteria
This really was interesting news to me…oral probiotics can positively effect the balance of bacteria in the nasal cavity. This supports many functional medicine practioner’s recommendation for probiotic supplementation in children with recurrent ear infections–supplementation can reduce the presence of pathogenic bacteria in the nasal cavity that can produce infections.
AJCN — Abstracts: Glück and Gebbers 77 (2): 517
Fermented milk high in bioactive peptides has BP lowering effect in hypertension
This article evaluated milk fermented with Lactobacillus and found that it lowered blood pressure in 21 weeks. Now, I’m not convinced that it was bioactive compounds in the milk that produced the results–supplementation of probiotics can lead to many positive health effects that could very well lead to mild lowering of BP.
AJCN — Abstracts: Seppo et al. 77 (2): 326 -
Mucosal TNF-alpha production in Crohn’s disease downregulated by probiotic bacteria
Research articles like this just bring tears to my eyes. Probiotics are showing efficacy and high levels of safety in a wide variety of GI conditions (and their associated systematic manifestations). Like many other natural therapies, however, their use is still rare. Here we see probiotics lowering the amount of inflammation at the mucosal level of the GI tract. Remember, this is similar to what the new class of drugs for Crohns’ and RA do–the drugs block the effect of TNF-alpha. What still surprises me is that, despite all the research on the benefits of probiotics, we still view antibiotic resistance as the major concern with rampant antibitotic use. I have always considered the destruction of natural flora as the most important bad side effect…
Gut — Abstracts: Borruel et al. 51 (5): 659