WTF probiotics are bad for you?!

Recently I’ve been on the receiving end of quite a few calls from friends and family about a headline-grabbing study on probiotics. The recent study out of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that taking probiotics after antibiotics may delay the gut microbiome’s return to normalcy, longer in fact than allowing the gut to normalize without intervention following antibiotic treatment.

After starting a blog which covers gut health and antibiotic use, I get probiotic questions fairly often and am excited to discuss the latest studies and thoughts from health professionals and industry insiders.

Key points I took note of in this study:

  • The study was very small with only 21 participants in the post-antibiotic probiotic treatments phase. As well the 21 study participants were then divided into 3 separate smaller groups.
  • The use of FMT to return the microbiome to normalcy after the administration of antibiotics was exciting. Fecal microbiota transplant is becoming a fast moving field of study in the treatment of C. diff, IBD and has the potential to treat many other diseases such as Autism, Parkinson’s and MS. OpenBiome is the largest US stool bank and has been hugely successful in providing a “return to settings” switch, a reboot to restore an individual’s microbiome. We will likely see more of FMT in the years to come.
  • In this study, probiotics were not started at the beginning of antibiotic treatment but at the end; including an 11-strain mixture of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
  • It is a very interesting and compelling study but is not geared to the prevention of CDI (Clostridium difficileinfection). And doesn’t claim to be.

What does this mean for you?

The future of probiotics and prebiotics will likely become much more targeted towards individualized microbiome therapeutic treatment. First knowing what the patient’s microbiome “looks like, and then tailoring treatment to the individual microbiome.

In the mean-time should you take a probiotic if you need to take an antibiotic?

I am not a doctor, just a writer, and a compulsive researcher. But, for my own personal health and for my children I say “yes” and choose Saccharomyces Bouliardi, I have used both Jarrow brand and Florastor. A probiotic yeast, which is impervious to antibiotics, boosts immunity and strengthens the gut barrier. It has also been shown in studies to protect against CDI in children.

On a daily basis, the best thing you can do for your gut health is cultivating your microbiome’s diversity by eating fermented foods, prebiotic foods and plenty of veggies.

Are probiotics over? Not by a long shot, they are just going to become more targeted.