Back-to-Back Studies on Probiotics Set Off Alarm Bells

Many of us in the natural/integrative health space have for many years probably made the assumption that supplementation with probiotics is guaranteed to provide health benefits for pretty much anyone: and at the very least not cause any negative effects.

This assumption has for most I would think gained more credence in our minds with the explosion of research that has been coming out during the last several years regarding the widespread influence of the microbiome on many aspects of our health.

This concept of widespread benefit resulting from probiotics supplementation may be starting to change: I have included in this newsletter an article published in Psychology Today which details some recently published research that supports this idea that probiotics supplementation may in certain circumstances actually have negative effects.

Following is the summary of the article:

There are four significant takeaways from this study: (1) murine gut mucosal probiotic colonization is only mildly enhanced by antibiotics, (2) Human gut mucosal probiotic colonization is significantly enhanced by antibiotics, (3) After taking antibiotics, probiotics delay gut microbiome and transcriptome reconstitution in mice and humans, (4) Autologous fecal microbiome transplant (aFMT) restores mucosal microbiome and gut transcriptome reconstitution.

“Contrary to the current dogma that probiotics are harmless and benefit everyone, these results reveal a new potential adverse side effect of probiotic use with antibiotics that might even bring long-term consequences,” Elinav said in a statement. “In contrast, replenishing the gut with one’s own microbes is a personalized mother-nature-designed treatment that led to a full reversal of the antibiotics’ effects.” Segal added, “This opens the door to diagnostics that would take us from an empiric universal consumption of probiotics, which appears useless in many cases, to one that is tailored to the individual and can be prescribed to different individuals based on their baseline features.”

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