A collaborative paper from scientists in Libya and the United States describes the potential roles for probiotic use in developing countries.
Mohamed Hadi Nahaisi, Shreeya Ravisankar and Giuliana D Noratto published Probiotics as a Strategy to Improve Overall Human Health in Developing Countries in Journal of Probiotics & Health in September of 2014.
Foremost on the problem list is the high rate of infectious diseases encountered when clean water is unavailable for many of the inhabitants.
More than one million die yearly from diarrheal illnesses, according to World Health Organization data. While causes are primarily poor sanitation, antibiotics, viruses and poor nutritional status can also lead to acute and chronic diarrhea.
Beneficial microbes may alleviate some of these disconcerting numbers by increasing natural resistance. In addition the authors present evidence whereby probiotics may be useful in lowering cholesterol, improving lactose intolerance, improving vaccine efficacy and impacting allergies. The paper includes a helpful table which lists identified probiotic bacteria and yeasts.
Developing countries may lack a framework of educational vehicles to inform the populace of probiotic intervention and present guidelines. Furtheremore, the guidelines are fluid and sometimes confusing even in countries which are assuming leadership roles on probiotics.
Nevertheless it is in poor countries, where hygiene, water safety and food handling may be less than optimum, that probiotics may be MORE necessary.
The researchers call for:
- Regulations to ensure that quality and safety standards are met
- Strategies from nations to address needs, costs and compliance issues
- Increased awareness of benefits
And the authors state that“… compared to normal therapeutic agents or drugs, probiotic strains are comparatively cheaper to produce, store and deliver which would overall be beneficial for developing regions.”
Read the paper here. It presents a nice overview of probiotic research.