Probiotics, true or false hope against digestive disorders?

The yogurt and food supplements intended for “intestinal comfort” market is flourishing. These products rich in Probiotics appear to improve digestion, but their actual effects still to prove. Probiotics are living micro-organisms, bacteria and yeasts, that are purchased for their beneficial effects on the intestine. On the packaging of many dietary supplements available on the […]

The yogurt and food supplements intended for “intestinal comfort” market is flourishing. These products rich in Probiotics appear to improve digestion, but their actual effects still to prove.

Probiotics are living micro-organisms, bacteria and yeasts, that are purchased for their beneficial effects on the intestine. On the packaging of many dietary supplements available on the market, one reads sometimes: “rebalances”, “amend” or “module” intestinal flora…

“These are false allegations,” railed Gerard Corthier, Director of honorary research at Inra (national Institute of agronomic research). Probiotics do that pass into the intestine. They do not install and is not a substitute to bacteria that colonize it naturally…

The stimulating effect of the fermented milk according to a recent study for the Danone agri-food giant, probiotics have a stimulating effect. Inra researchers observed the intestinal flora of 28 women with the syndrome of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)…

For a month, a group consumed two poor yogurt lactose per day, while the other group took daily two jars of milk fermented – namely Activia. “Using a very innovative technique, we found that half a dozen bacterial species, out of 300 in the intestine at a detectable level, were stimulated by the fermented milk, says Dusko Ehrlich, one of the authors of this study. However, the impacted species produce butyrate, a short, friendly intestinal functioning chain fatty acid. “Unable to draw more conclusions for the moment…

Probiotics effective against diarrhea probiotics research is promising but still insufficient. We know that the Yeast Saccharomyces boulardii of the Ultra-Levure effective against diarrhea associated with antibiotics. This is what allowed him to be recognized as a drug. VSL #3 (a complex that combines eight highly measured bacterial strains), available only on the internet seems to walk in some forms of diarrhoea RFA and chronic…

“Studies show that probiotics could reduce the term gastroenteritis or a turista. Others show an interest in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. “But not all these products are available in France and in any case, their effectiveness is equivalent to the current drugs that are available”, stresses Dr. Harry Sokol, gastroenterologist at the hospital Saint-Antoine (Paris) and researcher at the Inserm..

Read also: diarrhea and constipation treatment.

Products safely pending further research, good number of gastroenterologists prescribe probiotics empirically. For their part, patients make their own tests. There is also no risk to experiment…

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“The strains most commonly found in marketed products, the Lactobacilli, the bifid or Streptococcus thermophilus are, a priori, non-pathogenic”, observes Gérard Corthier..

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Yogurts or dietary supplements?
Naturally, in our food, fermented products contain Probiotics: yoghurts, cheeses, beer, sauerkraut… To be known as “yogurt”, a fermented milk must contain two species of bacteria: Streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus. “In 100 grams of yogurt, there are 108 bacteria, or 100 billion, as well as in a food supplement softgel”, considers Gérard Corthier..

To be effective, these bacteria must arrive live in the intestine. “In a capsule, bacteria are freeze-dried. It is as if they were hibernating. It takes three hours between the time where they are eaten and their arrival in the colon. Time that they found their form active, one can think that 90% of these bacteria are dead,”says Gérard Corthier..

Between yogurt and dietary supplements, this specialist gives more confidence to the first: “I prefer to eat a food rather than a dietary supplement. “At least I take calcium and I am the current recommendation of three dairy products per day”, he concludes…

In fact, doctors have no real concern about the probiotics, regardless of their presentation. They simply regret cannot, in the current state of knowledge, prescribe the right product to the right patient. Which strain for what symptom? In the meantime, they tempted each experience…

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“Probiotic”, a very controlled allegation.

The legislation considers probiotics as food and not as drugs. In 2012, the European Agency (EFSA) food safety published a list of 222 health claims permitted on consumer products. To establish, it is based on scientific data showing a beneficial effect on health. For example, to register that “activated charcoal helps to reduce excess flatulence after a meal” is allowed, but mark a product as “probiotic” is prohibited. The national Union of food supplements (Synadiet) regrets this decision and recommends to its members to argue instead on “lactic acid bacteria”..

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