So, now that we’re experts on probiotics, what sort of conditions and diagnoses could you treat with probiotics?
While probiotics for adult health can be applied to a broad spectrum of conditions, they should not be considered a magic bullet that can cure everything. Probiotics are defined as ‘Live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’. In plain language, probiotics are “good microbes” that are meant to help the person taking them. These friendly microbes help us digest food, maintain health and fight disease.
It’s important to note that if you are a generally healthy person (physically active, eat well, aren’t under a lot of stress) you likely do not need to take a probiotic. Not everyone needs a probiotic to stay healthy. Probiotics have only been identified as a treatment for specific conditions and for symptom relief. It’s important that you talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or dietitian FIRST before taking a probiotic, to ensure you have a proper diagnosis, or know why you are taking it. Together, you can select an appropriate probiotic that is the most suitable for you.
For probiotics in adult gut health, clinical evidence supports the use of probiotics for:
With so many probiotics available on the market – how do you choose which one is best for child? Well, it’s important to note that not ALL adults need to take probiotics. “[Probiotics] might not be appropriate for all patients. They are not the solution for every single problem that ails our patients, but some of the most significant and most impactful solutions can be easily obtained by using a specific probiotic under specific conditions. I like to say “You need to use the right probiotic, for the right person, for the right reason.”
With so many products available, and so much chatter around this “hot topic”, it’s no wonder that people are having trouble choosing the right probiotic. What often happens is that people will take something labelled “Probiotic”, or “live bacterial cultures”, but as these products often aren’t right for their diagnosis, the patient won’t see any health difference and assume that probiotics just don’t work… but how wrong they are…
The issue of choosing the right probiotic for the right reasons has been addressed in the Clinical Guide to Probiotic Products. The Clinical Guide is an evidence-based decision-making tool for clinicians, which is independently prepared and updated every year. This project has been going on since 2008, and has been recognized as the only reliable resource by international healthcare associations providing health care professionals and consumers with a list of probiotic formulations that have been specifically clinically tested – so they can select the appropriate product, dose, and formulation for a specific indication. Alliance for Education on Probiotics (AEProbio) supports publishing and distribution of this Guide.
Within the Guide, the recommendations are tied to brand names, making it easier for you to select the recommended product when purchasing in stores. Probiotic strain names and doses are also listed. Favorable published clinical evidence for the particular strain(s) presented in each product are given and include numerous gastrointestinal conditions.
The handy acronym table makes it easy for you to find the product that has clinical evidence for your specific condition:
|AAD||Antibiotic associated diarrhea – prevention|
|CDAD||Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea – prevention|
|CID||Common infectious disease – Community acquired|
|CMPA||Cow Milk Protein Allergy|
|HP||Helicobacter pylori – Adjunct to standard eradication therapy|
|IBD-P||Inflammatory bowel disease – Pouchitis|
|IBD-UC||Inflammatory bowel disease – ulcerative colitis – adjunct to standard therapy|
|IBS||Irritable Bowel Syndrome|
|LH||Liver Health (NASH/NAFLD/MHE; as adjunct to standard therapy; see studies for specific population)|
|M/A||Mood and Affect (symptoms related to stress/anxiety; not a substitute for standard treatment)|
|OH||Oral health (reductions of tonsillitis, laryngitis, and dental caries)|
|TD||Travelers diarrhea prevention|
|WM||Weight management (aids in reduction of body weight, body fat mass, and waist circumference|
There, you will also be able to compare products based on the level of evidence, as it is graded with a I, II, or III, with level I being the highest level:
To make things even EASIER, the guide also includes symbols to indicate whether or not the product is gluten free and requires refrigeration.
For example, if you suffer from constipation – probiotics can help. Referring to the probiotic guide under the adult health page, under the indication for constipation – you would see that there are 6 products in the 2019 edition that have favorable published clinical evidence on relieving constipation – 5 of which have level I evidence:
As you can see the following five probiotic brands and strains have level I evidence for constipation in adults. It also indicates the dosage form – whether it be drops, tablets, capsules, etc and the number of doses you should be taking per day.
See the full guide to review brands and strains for other conditions online at Probioticchart.ca
App Store or Google Play: PROBIOTIC GUIDE