A common idea falls by the wayside.
Probiotic supplements do not prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in elderly patients, according to a study published in The Lancet.
The results of the study showed that the patients who were prescribed the probiotics saw no effect of reduced AAD [antibiotic-associated diarrhea], with 1 in 10 still reporting the occurrence.
The study revealed that both the groups prescribed the probiotics, and the group who received the placebo had the same frequency and severity of diarrhea.
Additionally, there were similar numbers in both groups whose diarrhea was caused by Clostridium difficile.
The researchers say these results conclude that probiotics have no beneficial effect for AAD.”
It’s not too surprising that this study shows probiotics have no efficacy. The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria constituting thousands of different species, probiotic supplements contains only 6 billion or so bacteria and typically only one species, the most common being Lactobacillus spp. The idea of good bacteria versus bad bacteria is generally a myth, nearly all the bacteria in the gut are beneficial in normal amounts, only when antibiotics provide the conditions for species like Clostridium difficile to thrive are there problems, which supplementing with a comparatively small number of external bacteria isn’t going to help.
An emerging therapy that does seem to work well is a faecal transplant from a close relative or housemate administered by tube or tablet form.
My video explains the situation in more detail