Dietary supplements

Seven questions about the effectiveness of probiotics

Whether in pharmacies or parapharmacies, health food stores or on the internet, the supply of probiotic products is plethoric. It’s not easy to find your way around when you don’t know anything about it! Philippe Langella, research director at Inra, explains:

“The European Food Safety Authority has helped to clean up this market where there was a lot of excess, but it has, in my opinion, set the bar much too high by requiring that they demonstrate an effectiveness close to of those of drugs, which they are not, while some have sometimes more solid scientific files than certain minerals and vitamins benefiting from an authorization of health claim. »

One thing is certain: the probiotics do not constitute a homogeneous family and their action depends on the strain. The whole difficulty is therefore to find which one will bring the expected benefits. Making a mistake is basically not very serious, but since these are products that have a significant cost, it is better to go for those that have been evaluated.

Probiotics replenish flora during antibiotic treatment. True or false ?

True. The experts are formal: knowing the deleterious effects of antibiotics on the microbiota (name that scientists now give to the intestinal flora), probiotics, which can help restore its balance, have their place.

Several good bacteria strains have demonstrated their effectiveness in prevention of diarrhea associated with taking antibiotics :

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG,
  • bifidobacterium longum,
  • as well as Saccharomyces boulardii.

“They must be taken from the start and throughout the antibiotic treatment, avoiding formulas which also contain prebiotics of the FOS or inulin type, which risk aggravating the diarrhea”, specifies Pre Marie-Bénédicte Romond, teacher-researcher at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Lille. As for continuing to take probiotics that combine several strains in order to restore the diversity of the flora, this seems logical, but it is not proven.

  • Lactibiane ATB. Lab. Pileje, €13.80 for a box of 10 capsules.
  • ArkoBiotics Supraflor. Lab. Arkopharma, around €8.50 for a box of 14 capsules.
  • Ultra Yeast 200 mg. Lab. Biocodex, around €6.50 for a box of 30 capsules.

Our selection for infants and children

  • Pediakid Colicillus Baby. Lab. Ineldea, €12.90 for the 10 ml dropper bottle.
  • Ultra Baby from birth. Lab. Biocodex, around €8.20 for a box of 14 sticks.
  • Ultra Yeast 100 mg, from 2 years old. Lab. Biocodex, around €6.60 for a box of 20 sachets.

Probiotics limit the symptoms of gastroenteritis. True or false ?

True. A meta-analysis published in 2015 confirmed the efficacy of the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG against diarrhea linked to gastroenteritis, with not only a reduction in their duration but also in their intensity, as well in adults than in the child. Already in 2014, several learned European pediatric societies had underlined its great interest in this indication in children, in the same way as the Saccharomyces boulardii yeast (Ultra yeast), in addition to dietary measures.

our selection
In addition to the Ultra-Levure range mentioned above:
For adults: Lactibiane Imedia. Lab. PiLeJe, €10 for a box of 4 sticks.
For babies and toddlers:

  • Ergyphilus Children. Lab. Nutergia, €11.50 for a box of 14 sachets.
  • Lactibiane Child Drops. Lab. PiLeJe, €18.10 for a 30 ml bottle.

Probiotics relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. True or false ?

True. Some have shown in clinical studies against placebo that they reduce pain, bloating and intestinal discomfort in those who suffer from this syndrome also called functional colopathy, and improve their quality of life. However, not in everyone nor with the same results: “These people represent a very heterogeneous population, analyzes Philippe Langella. It is often necessary to try several formulas and count at least 4 weeks of treatment to judge the effects. »

In video: Functional colopathy: are probiotics effective?

Probiotics can improve mood. True or false ?

We do not know anything. “There are ongoing studies aimed at finding strains capable, via their effect on the flora, of regulate the mood hormone serotonin, specifies Pre Romond. And others, in the Nordic countries, where we are testing probiotics in the prevention of depression, particularly common in these areas due to the lack of light at certain times of the year. But we will have to wait for the results to draw conclusions. »

Probiotics boost immunity before winter. True or false ?

Not sure. “This is a very active field of research, with a lot of work in progress, but not yet any convincing results that point to a particular strain”, underlines Prof. Romond.

Probiotics prevent recurrences of vaginal and urinary infections. True or false ?

True. “We know that these diseases are very often linked to a imbalance of the vaginal flora, says Dr. Jean-Marc Bohbot. And we have strong clinical studies showing that women treated vaginally with certain lactobacillus strains have two fewer recurrences than those treated with a placebo. Specifically, Lactobacillus crispatus for thebacterial vaginosis where the cystitisand Lactobacillus rhamnosus for mycoses. »

  • In case of bacterial vaginosis or cystitis: Physioflor. Lab. Iprad, around €9.17 for a box of 7 vaginal capsules.
  • In case of mycosis: Gynophilus LP. Lab. Besins, around €14 for a box of 6 prolonged-release vaginal tablets.

Probiotics are also good for the lungs. True or false ?

Likely. Fewer symptoms of respiratory infection in overweight, obese or elderly people, this is what has been observed when taking probiotics daily, at least according to a scientific study presented during the 2021 edition of Digestive Disease Week, major international congress on gastrointestinal health.

The researchers analyzed data from 220 patients who participated in a study on probiotics and weight loss. They then found that people who took probiotics daily had a 27% reduced incidence of symptoms compared to the group who took a placebo. This effect was even greater in participants aged 45 or older, as well as in those with obesity. For Dr. Mullish, this study feeds the data on the intestine-lung axis, in other words, on the way the intestine and the lungs interact with each other. Further studies should be conducted to better identify the mechanisms that explain this association.

Jet-lag, staggered hours: prebiotics to reset your biological clock

In a scientific study, published in October 2021 in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunityresearchers report having observed that the consumption of prebiotic foods, which serve as food for the “good” bacteria of the intestinal microbiota, would help reset a biological clock disturbed due to jet lag or work shifts due to example, .

“This study (conducted on rats) suggests that by promoting and stabilizing the good bacteria in the gut and the metabolites they release, we may be able to make our bodies more resilient to disturbances [de notre horloge biologique]”, said the study’s lead author, Monika Fleshner, professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado (Boulder, USA), in a statement. Abundant in many fibrous foods, such as leeks, asparagus, artichokes or onions, these indigestible carbohydrates for humans crosssmall intestine, and linger in the large intestine, where they are ingested by the bacteria there.

The researchers found an explanation behind this finding: animals that ingested prebiotics harbored more good bacteria, which in turn produced metabolites that protected them from what was akin to jet lag. Further work is underway to develop effective dietary supplements for such beneficial effect in humans.

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please disable your ad blocker to be able to view the page content. For an independent site with free content, it's literally a matter of life and death to have ads. Thank you for your understanding! Thanks