Probiotics are live micro-organisms, usually bacteria, that provide health benefits when consumed at appropriate doses. According to some surveys, approximately four million Americans take probiotics. Probiotics are a huge industry, with revenue over 40 billion dollars a year. Probiotics improve the composition of the gut microbiome, which has been shown to improve you’re metabolism, immunity and mood. There are different types of probiotics and some have shown to be effective of different medical problems. Clinical studies suggest that certain probiotics can help in certain contexts. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 can help treat irritable bowel syndrome (I.B.S.), while Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can each reduce the risk of diarrhea in adults taking antibiotics and reduce the risk of developing Clostridium difficile. Probiotics come in multiple presentations and need to be aware that this products are not regulated by FDA that usually lead that what you’re buying may not be what you’re getting, so it’s critical to do you’re research on which will be the best one for you. Taking probiotics every day with no clinical indication is not recommended. At the end, many clinical studies on probiotics have been small, poorly designed or difficult to interpret. Many have focused on short-term outcomes, rather than looking at long-term effects. Hope it helps. Let’s celebrate aging!
Dr. Duran is board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.