Facts and Science of Probiotics

The scientific trials and data supporting the health benefits of probiotics is growing on a weekly basis. In fact, there is no other ingredient or product available in pharmacies or health food stores which can provide customers with such a wide-ranging list of health benefits,  supported by science.

Established health benefits of probiotic supplementation

Antibiotic-induced diarrhea (1,2)

Probiotic bacteria restore the positive balance of “friendly” bacteria in the intestine, which can be disrupted by poor diet, poor lifestyle, stress and the use of drugs. Antibiotics kill “friendly” bacteria together with pathogenic microorganisms. This disruption of the gut microflora causes diarrhoea. Probiotic bacteria restore the positive balance of “friendly” bacteria in the intestine and treat antibiotic-induced diarrhoea.

Traveler’s diarrhea (3)

Traveller’s diarrhoea is a common problem occurring in up to 50% of travellers and is caused by exposure to pathogenic microorganisms in new environments, food and water. Probiotic bacteria are highly effective in inhibiting these pathogens and prevent traveller‘s diarrhoea.

Gastroenteritis  (4,5,6)

Probiotic bacteria have been established as beneficial in preventing and treating the symptoms of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs), particularly acute watery diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (7,8,9)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition experienced by 15-20% of adults, often linked to stress. IBS causes altered bowel habits and abdominal discomfort or pain. Probiotics are highly effective in reducing the symptoms of IBS.

Urinary tract and vaginal infections (11,12)

Oral consumption of probiotics can positively affect the balance of probiotic bacteria in the vagina.10 Probiotic bacteria provide a barrier to the pathogenic bacteria that cause urinary tract infections and prevent the growth of bacteria/yeasts causing vaginal infections e.g. candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis.

Pregnancy (17,38)

There is very strong scientific evidence that prenatal supplementation with probiotic bacteria results in a significant reduction in atopic conditions in the infant, particularly atopic eczema.

Eczema (Atopic dermatitis) (18,19)

Clinical trials have shown that probiotic bacteria have a modest role in the treatment of atopic eczema, especially in children. The benefits of probiotics were clearer in individuals with moderately severe rather than mild eczema.

Helicobacter pylori infection (20,21)

Certain lactobacilli probiotic bacteria have been shown to inhibit or kill H.pylori.

Immune stimulation (32,33)

Preliminary studies show that probiotic bacteria can stimulate and regulate the immune response in the body and may contribute in reducing the risk or duration of certain infections.

Lactose intolerance

Lactobacilli probiotic bacteria convert undigested lactose into lactic acid in the intestine, thereby reducing the discomfort caused by lactose intolerance.

Oral health and  dental caries (13,14,15,16)

Probiotics produce anti-bacterial compounds that have a positive effect on oral health, including plaque formation, bad breath, dental caries and gum bleeding or inflammation (gingivitis).


Emerging health benefits of probiotic supplementation

Allergy prevention (34)

There have been trials and research demonstrating the ability of probiotic bacteria in reducing allergic responses in humans (especially children), for example from food or pollen.

Cholesterol lowering (22,23)

There is some evidence that probiotic bacteria may lower total serum cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol.

Functional  constipation (24)

The role of probiotic bacteria in treating functional constipation is still at an investigational stage, but there are some clinical studies that suggest probiotics may help.

Respiratory tract infections (25)

There are clinical trials supporting the theory that probiotic supplementation can reduce the severity and duration of respiratory tract infections.

Infant health and growth (26, 27)

Clinical studies are ongoing on the benefits of probiotic supplementation in infant  formulas. Research has shown that probiotic bacteria supplementation can increase infant height and weight in the first 6 months of life.

Infant colic (28)

One clinical study found a 65% reduction in infantile colic after 28 days in infants being given probiotic bacteria. More research is required to confirm these initial findings.

Irritable bowel disorders

There is some limited scientific evidence that suggest probiotic bacteria may help alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through their anti-inflammatory effect.

Autism (35)

Exciting and emerging research is ongoing.

Diabetes (36, 37)

Exciting and emerging research is ongoing.

Have a look at Quest’s New Biotix range of Probiotics on our website —> www.simplyhealthfood.co.uk/probiotics

Or read about them in our New product review section —> New product reviews

Scientific References
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6.         Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2.2004:CD003048
7.         BMC Gastroenterol.2009;9:15
8.         Gut.2010;59:325-332
9.         Am J Gastroenterol.2008;103(Suppl 1):S458
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23       Appl Environ Microbiol.2005; 71:1745-1753
24       World J Gastroentreol.2010;16:69-75
25       Int J Antimicrobiol Agents.2009;34:197.el-e10
26.      J Hum Nutr Diet. 2006;19:51-58
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28       Pediatrics.2007;109:e124-e130
29       Int.J.Food Prot.1998;44:93-106
30       http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/Scientific_Opinion/sc_op_ej587_qps_en.pdf
31       J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr.2004;38:365-374
32       J Daily Sci.1995;78:1597-1606
33       J Clin Gastroenterol.2006;40:232-234
34       J Clin Gastroenterol.2008;42.Suppl12;591-96
35       Gastroenterol Res Pract.2011; 161358
36       Acta Diabetol.2011;48(4):257-73
37       PLoS One .2011;96(6):2000s-2005
38       Am J Clin Nutr.2011;94(6):2000s-20005s

Facts and Science of Probiotics