Ethics in Medicine

Benefits of Probiotics

Kristen Sparrow • November 20, 2012


Rethinking Bacteria

Discussed the new trend in thinking about bacteria in the body and how to foster a healthier population here and here, in posts called “Bacteria: Friend or Foe?” The skyrocketing incidence of Clostridia Dificile makes this study very timely.  Europe has been way ahead of us  in regards to probiotics.
Probiotics Linked to Lowered Diarrhea Risk
Antibiotics can upset the normal balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract, and one of the most common and dangerous results is infection with C. difficile, bacteria that can cause diarrhea, colitis and even death. Now a review of studies has found that probiotics – beneficial microorganisms introduced into the gut – can reduce the risk.
Researchers, writing online this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine, pooled data from 20 randomized controlled trials that compared a course of probiotics with a placebo or no treatment on the incidence of C. difficile-associated diarrhea.
The studies used several species of the beneficial bacteria Saccharomyces and Lactobacillus, and the doses varied. Compared with placebo or no treatment, higher and lower doses of these probiotic bacteria were more effective in preventing diarrhea in both adults and children. Ingesting more than one species at a time produced an even greater benefit.
Over all, the researchers found, probiotics reduced the risk of C. difficile-associated diarrhea by 66 percent…