A study suggests that there is not sufficient evidence to support probiotics as a possible treatment for conditions such as Crohn’s Disease.
Probiotics are tiny organisms that are microscopic in nature and can be found in many dietary supplements and other foods. Bacteria and yeasts are the best examples of such microbes. A popular notion is that they can be beneficial for health when consumed by restoring the microbiota of the patient’s gut.
Nonetheless, a set of guidelines issued by the American Gastroenterological Association named only three scenarios where probiotics might be helpful.
Use of Probiotics
dailynouri/Unsplash: Consult an expert before taking probiotics
Patients consuming probiotics for dealing with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis should seriously consider ending the practice, states a gastroenterologist, Dr. Grace Su, from the University of Michigan.
Such supplements could be expensive, and currently, we can neither prove that it is beneficial nor say that it causes harm. The latest guidelines direct gastroenterologists to recommend such medicine to patients only if there is a clear indication that it can help.
Moreover, researchers concluded that medical practitioners should understand the fact that the impact of probiotics does not have anything to do with the species. Instead, they are strain and combination specific. Whenever in doubt whether to take them or not, talking to your physician could be the best bet!
dailynouri/Unsplash: Probiotics are recommended only in certain cases
There are three settings where the intake of probiotics is clinically acceptable. The first one is for preventing a Clostridioides Difficile Infection for those who are taking antibiotics. Second, for avoiding Necrotizing Enterocolitis in preterm infants with low birth-weight.
The last exception scenario is the management of a condition called Pouchitis—a complication that arises upon the removal of the large intestine. In such cases, the ‘pouch’ or reservoir that connects the small intestine with the anus becomes inflamed.
The team which conducted the study recommended against the use of probiotics to treat Infectious Gastroenteritis in kids. They further added that children should not be consuming them regularly, especially if they have chronic diarrhea.
Future of Probiotics
dulgier/Unsplash: It is best to wait for conclusive evidence before consuming
While there are a few use cases for probiotics, most assumptions of the public about its benefits aren’t well-founded. Dr. Su mentions that there is a huge difference in results recorded during the formulation of such products. This is an important fact and could be a game changer in this entire hullabaloo.
Researchers added that more clinical trials would be required to provide clarifications regarding the updated recommendations of the AGA.