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The attenuation of the number and severity of infections is of importance to athletes. Probiotics use has increased over recent years with beneficial effects believed to include improvements in immune function. Recent research has focused on their effectiveness for reducing the number, duration and severity of infections amongst endurance athletes. At present no research has been undertaken with team sport athletes.

Scientist from University of Otago conducted a randomised controlled trial aimed to determine the effectiveness of probiotics on the number, duration and severity of infections amongst elite union rugby players. Thirty elite rugby union players were allocated randomly to receive either a daily probiotics supplement (containing lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidium and B. Longum) or a placebo for four weeks. Participants completed a daily diary to identify and rate the severity of any infectious symptoms.

During the probiotic treatment 14/30 participants never experienced a single upper respiratory tract illness (URTI) or gastrointestinal (GI) episode, compared to 6/30 on the placebo supplementation. The duration of infection was also significantly reduced in probiotic supplement group (3.4 days) compared to the placebo group (5.8 days). There was no significant difference in the severity of the symptoms between the two treatment groups.

These results provide evidence for the beneficial effects of daily probiotic supplementation in professional rugby union players who undertake intensive training and competition.

Brylee A Haywood et al. J Science and Medicine in Sport July 2014; Vol. 17(4):356–360

LungRespiratory infectious conditions place a substantial health and economic burden on society. The economic impact of colds has been estimated to be $40 billion dollars in the USA annually. Recent systematic reviews have reported a positive, although modest, effect of probiotics in terms of preventing common cold symptoms. The recent systematic review further evaluated the effect of probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains, on the duration of acute respiratory infections in otherwise healthy children and adults.

In the latest review, twenty randomised controlled trials (RCT) were included, of which twelve were considered to have a low risk of bias. The duration of probiotic treatment ranged from 3 weeks to 7 months, although the majority of trials were carried out for approximately 3 months over the winter months.

The meta-analysis revealed significantly fewer numbers of days of illness per person, shorter illness episodes by almost a day, and fewer numbers of days absent from day care/school/work in participants who received a probiotic intervention than in those who had taken a placebo.

In conclusion, this systematic review provides evidence from good-quality RCT that adding probiotics to diet helps reduce the duration of respiratory illness episodes in otherwise healthy children and adults and offers a viable cost-saving option in improving quality of life.

Sarah King et al; Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 29:1-14

The latest Cochrane review showed that probiotics are both safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

Antibiotics are among the most prescribed medications worldwide. Antibiotic treatment may disturb the balance of organisms that normally inhabit the gut, and may lead to reduced resistance to pathogens such as Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).  This can result in a range of symptoms, most notably, diarrhoea. Clostridium difficile is one particularly dangerous organism that may colonize the gut if the normal healthy balance has been disturbed. Clostridium difficile-related disease varies from asymptomatic infection, diarrhoea, colitis, and pseudo-membranous colitis to death. The cost of treatment is expensive and the financial burden on the medical system is substantial.

Probiotics are organisms thought to improve the balance of organisms that inhabit the gut, counteract disturbances to this balance, and reduce the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria.  As “functional food” or “good bacteria”, probiotics have been suggested as a means of both preventing and treating C. difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD).

This latest Cochrane review included 31 randomized trials with a total of 4492 participants. Twenty-three studies (4213 participants) assessed the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing CDAD in participants taking antibiotics. The results suggest that when probiotics are given with antibiotics they reduce the risk of developing CDAD by 64%. Side effects were assessed in 26 studies (3964 participants) and the results suggest that probiotics decrease the risk of developing side effects. The most common side effects reported in these studies include abdominal cramping, nausea, fever, soft stools, flatulence, and taste disturbance. The short-term use of probiotics appears to be safe and effective when used along with antibiotics in patients who are not immune-compromised or severely debilitated.

Based on this systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, the authors concluded that probiotics are both safe and effective for preventing Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea.

Source: Goldenberg JZ et al. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD006095. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006095.pub3.

June 2012


A latest study has shown that probiotics is useful as an adjunct treatment in reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

The use of antibiotics that disturb the gastrointestinal flora is associated with clinical symptoms such as diarrhea, which occurs in as many as 30% of patients, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is one of the main reasons for non-adherence with antibiotic treatment.

Probiotics are live microorganisms intended to confer a health benefit when consumed. There is an increasing interest in probiotic interventions, and evidence for the effectiveness of probiotics in preventing or treating AAD is also increasing. To evaluate the evidence for probiotic use in the prevention and treatment of AAD, a recent meta-analysis reviewed 63 randomized controlled trials of probiotics for the prevention or treatment of AAD, which included a total of 11 811 participants.

The study reported that using probiotics as an adjunct therapy significantly reduces the risk of AAD. The result was consistent across a number of subgroup based on participant age: children (0-17 years), adults (18-65 years), and elderly adults (>65 years).

This latest study provided insight into whether probiotics should be used alongside antibiotics. Australian health experts in infectious disease believe that probiotics should be made more available for the prevention and management of AAD – a massive public health problem in Australia. However the study authors cautioned that more research is needed to determine which probiotics are associated with the greatest efficacy and for which patients receiving which specific antibiotics.

Susanne Hempel et al; JAMA. 2012; 307(18):1959-1969

There has been a decline in Digestive Health around the world and gut problems are rampant. Some factors that contribute to this phenomena includes:

* Contaminated Water and or Food

* Stress

* Fast Eating

* Medication

* Bad Habits

Maintaining your digestive health is crucial for maintaining your overall health.

So, what can we take to promote healthy digestive system?

Probiotic is:

•    A digestive health formula containing viable beneficial bacteria

•    Helps to maintain healthy gut flora

These probiotic bacteria strains help to maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, commonly known as the gut flora.

Probiotics Benefits:

1. Replenish beneficial bacteria that get depleted from factors such as antibiotics use, poor diet, and stress.

2. Maintain the balance between friendly and harmful bacteria.

Prebiotic is non-digestible food fibre to stimulate growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

Watch this video on the power of probiotics :

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common diagnosis in gastroenterology. Reduced quality of life caused by IBS affect approximately 20% of adult Westerner.  Studies suggest certain probiotics to be beneficial, and provide a promising therapeutic alternative.

To investigate the effects of multispecies probiotic supplementation on abdominal symptoms, quality of life, intestinal microbiota and inflammatory markers in irritable bowel syndrome, eighty-six irritable bowel syndrome patients participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled 5-month intervention.  Patients were randomized to receive daily either multispecies probiotic supplementation (Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus Lc705, Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB12), or placebo. Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, quality of life, microarray-based intestinal microbiota stability, serum cytokines and sensitive C-reactive protein were monitored.

The composite IBS symptom score (abdominal pain +distension + flatulence + rumbling) at the end of trial has decreased 14 points from baseline in the group with the multispecies probiotic supplement, compared to 3 points in the placebo group.  This represents a mean reduction of 37% in IBS score in the probiotic group compared to a 9% reduction in the placebo group.

In addition, distension and abdominal pain were significantly milder in the group with the probiotic supplementation group.  A stabilization of the microbiota was observed, as the microbiota similarity index increased with the probiotic supplementation, while it decreased with placebo

The authors conclude that the multispecies probiotic supplementation seems to be an effective and safe option to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and to stabilize the human intestinal flora.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2008; 27:48–57

The natural defense systems of humans have been developed to maintain the host’s health by fighting exogenous microbes.  Immune systems, which have functions to recognize and keep out exogeneous organisms, play a central role in the host defense systems.  Intestinal microflora are composed of approximately one hundred trillion microbes to protect our body as well as provide defense functions called colonization resistance to keep out exogenous bacteria.

Read the rest of this entry » »

Probiotic-containing yogurt improves the efficacy of quadruple therapy in eradicating Helicobacter pylori infection.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that lives in the inner lining of the stomach, and causes damages to the lining of the stomach.  The infection can persist for many years.  Quadruple therapy is often used  as rescue regimen to eradicate primary H. pylori infection after triple therapy failure and antibiotic resistance.
One clinical study investigated the effects of prior treatment with Lactobacillus- and Bifidobacterium-containing yogurt (AB-Yogurt), and whether it can improve the efficacy of quadruple therapy in eradicating residual H. pylori after failed triple therapy.
One hundred thirty-eight patients in whom triple therapy failed were enrolled for a culture study of H. pylori to assess antimicrobial resistance. These patients were then randomly assigned in equal numbers to either a yogurt-plus-quadruple therapy group or a quadruple therapy-only group.  The patients received 1 wk of quadruple therapy with or without a 4-wk pretreatment with AB-yogurt (400 mL/d).  For both groups, test was conducted 6-wks after the quadruple therapy to assess the outcome of residual H. pylori eradication.
For the patients in the yogurt-plus-quadruple therapy group infected with either antibiotic-sensitive or -resistant H. pylori, the test value were significantly decreased after the 4-wk ingestion of AB-yogurt. The yogurt-plus-quadruple therapy group had a higher H. pylori eradication rate than did the quadruple therapy-only group.

This study suggests that a 4-wk pretreatment with Lactobacillus- and Bifidobacterium-contaning yogurt can decrease H. pylori loads despite antimicrobial resistance, thus improving the efficacy of quadruple therapy in eradicating residual H. pylori.

Source: Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83:864 –9.

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