Probiotics – What Scientific Basis Do They Have?
As probiotics are becoming more popular, people are becoming more aware of the benefits of regular probiotic supplementation. However, probiotics have been associated with many other alternative health products…many of which have questionable scientific basis.
A Short History of Probiotics
Humans have regularly consumed probiotics for thousands of years. The medicinal benefits of probiotic foods such as yogurt, kombucha, milk and sauerkraut. Traditionally, the healing properties of probiotics are well trusted.
But it wasn’t until the late late 19th and early 20th century that serious scientific inquiry began. In fact, Elie Metchnikoff’s research on immunology (and probiotics) earned him the Nobel prize in 1908.
In 1935, a Japanese company commercialized Yakult, a drinkable probiotic yogurt. This yogurt was made possible by researching proving that certain strains can make it through the stomach acid to the intestines. It is arguable the first
modern probiotic product ever made.
In the 70 years hence, volumes of probiotic research has been carried out. Extremely costly studies have proven many of their helpful effects under numerous conditions…often double-blind placebo-controlled research studies.
Scientifically Proven Probiotics
Here is a small sample of the scientifically researched healthful effects of probiotics. There are many more benefits to be found and much more research to be done.
- control of acute diarrhea
- With Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota
- prevention of traveller’s diarrhea
- via Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium bifidum
- reducing high blood pressure & mild hypertension
- Lactobacilus helveticus
- immunity enhancement
- maintenance of Crohn’s disease
- S. boulardii
- reducing symptoms of IBS
- treating vaginitis and vaginosis
And since mainstream medical students are being taught the benefits of probiotics, it is safe to say that probiotics are a proven medicinal substance.
- Agarwal KN, Lactobacillus casei in the control of acute diarrhea – a pilot study. Indian Pediatr, 2001 aug;38(8):905-10
- Aihara K, Effect of powdered fermented milk with Lactobacilus helveticus on subjects with high-normal blood pressure or mild hypertension. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Aug;24(4):257-65
- Chiang BL, Enhancing immunity by dietary consumption of a probiotic lactic acid bacterium (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019): optimization and definition of cellular immune responses. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;54(11):849-55
- Gluslandi M, Saccharomyces boulardii in maintenance treatment of Crohn’s disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2000 Jul;45(7):1462:-4
- Kajander K, Clinical studies on alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(4)576-80
- Kollarisch H, Prevention of traveler’s diarrhea with Saccharomyces boulardii. Results of a placebo controlled double-blink study. Fortschr Med. 1993 Mar 30;111(9):152-6
- Shalev E, Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus compared with pasteurized yogurt as prophylaxis for recurrent Candidal vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis. Arch Fam Med. 1996 Nov-Dec;5(10):593-6