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(How) do probiotics affect health

beyond the gut?

 

Findings of a scientific review article published by the ISAPP

Probiotics are well known for their beneficial effect on gastro-intestinal (GI) disorders. Nowadays, the potential impact they have on health beyond the gut is being more and more recognized, giving rise to an enormous potential for patient care. 

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Probiotics and prebiotics and in some cases faecal microbiota transplants are increasingly used to influence local and distant microbial communities, although global (clinical) guidelines are lacking, giving physicians a hard task making evidence-based recommendations. 

During a workshop hosted in Turku Finland the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) assessed the evidence of probiotics and prebiotics to affect brain, respiratory, urogenital, heart and skin health. The findings of this workshop have been published in Beneficial Microbes .

 

The researchers concluded that for each of these areas there are many individual studies that have shown beneficial effect. Htough, meta-analyses often fail to show clear effects.. This can be explained by the great diversity in study design, probiotics used, duration, cfu’s and subject groups. The researchers also pointed out that the metabolites probiotics produce may be the mediators in the health effects and this is something we need to know more about. Which specific strains and metabolites are critical and how do they program immunity? 

 

 

 

Exposure to bacteria and the shape of the microbiota compostion already starts during foetal development and delivery
 

 

Despite the heterogeneity in study results the authors conclude that there is mounting evidence that microbes at one site can affect the host at other sites. Many of the above mentioned conditions are chronic in nature and costly for the healthcare system and reduce the quality of life of patients. Probiotics being a safe and natural alternative might have the potential to ofer novel therapeutic treatment options. Future research can shed more lights on the mechanisms by which probiotics exert their health effects at distant sites.

 

 

Read the scientific article 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probiotics against AAD in elderly patients

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