The body of evidence substantiating benefits of probiotics is quite extensive. Over 1800 human trials have been conducted using probiotics. See table below for a list of some benefits of probiotics shown in human trials. Keep in mind that benefits are tied to specific strains. It’s easy to grasp this concept if you look to the animal world. Different breeds of horses, for example, have quite different strengths and functions. You wouldn’t ride a pony in the Kentucky Derby. Similarly, different strains of even the same species of a probiotic may have different benefits. In some cases, more than one independently tested probiotic product confers the same benefit. In other cases, only a single probiotic product has been shown to be effective. The best evidence for probiotic use is for prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C. difficileinfection, management of certain gut symptoms, and prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preemie infants. People often wonder if probiotics have any benefit for healthy people. Benefits such as improved tolerance of dietary lactose for lactose intolerant people, management of blood lipids, improved oral health, reduced incidence of common infectious diseases such as the common cold, and management of gut symptoms all are demonstrated in reasonably healthy people.
The probiotic marketplace can be confusing for consumers. If you aren't being muscle tested for what probiotic your body needs here are some basic principles to guide your search:
- There is no one strain or one dose that is best. Sometimes lower dose products or products with fewer strains have the best evidence.
- One of the biggest challenges in the probiotic market is keeping the probiotic strain alive. Responsible manufactures go to great lengths to be sure their probiotics retain viability and deliver an efficacious dose through the end of the product’s shelf life. Unfortunately, not all products on the market are responsibly formulated. Consumers should buy products from companies they trust like I trust Standard Process.
|Treat colic in breastfed infants||Infants|
|Prevent atopic dermatitis/food hypersensitivity||Infants|
|Prevent necrotizing enterocolitis||Premature infants|
|Treat acute diarrhea||Infants, children|
|Manage symptoms of occasional constipation||Adults|
|Manage symptoms of lactose intolerance||Children, adults|
|Reduce incidence and duration of common infectious diseases (upper respiratory tract and gastrointestinal)||Children, adults|
|Prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea||Children, adults|
|Extend remission of ulcerative colitis||Adults|
|Improve therapeutic efficacy of antibiotic treatment of bacterial vaginosis||Adult women|
|Reduce low density lipid cholesterol||Adults|
|Prevent Clostridium difficile diarrhea||Children, adults|
|Reduced prevalence of dental caries and gingivitis||Infants, children|