Probiotics are working hard to make the leap from lab bench to patient bedside. But the science behind probiotic application, while thrilling, is still new enough that clinicians are cautious in their recommendations.
Enter Martin Floch who leads the convocation of probiotic experts who meet every few years to write recommendations regarding probiotic use in humans. The Yale-Harvard meet up began in 2005 and the updates for 2015 have been published here.
The article contains an excellent table which will prove invaluable for the healthcare professional. Here are some of the highlights:
Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC): can be controlled with proper intervention and probiotic usage.
Childhood Diarrhea: “…it appears that probiotics are very helpful in shortening the course of acute gastroenteritis diarrhea.”
Adult Diarrhea: “All of the more recent studies, particularly the one done by Hickson and associates in England, found that Lactobacillus casei, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus were capable in reducing the incidence of diarrhea as well as having some effect on Clostridium difficile. This study also showed the potential to decrease morbidity, healthcare costs, and mortality in patients over the age of 50.”
Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea:”…probiotics are helpful in the prevention of C. difficile-associated diarrhea in both adults and children.” Fecal transplantation is also reviewed as a cure for resistant Clostridium difficile.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: pouchitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are discussed.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Effects are controversial but several strains and multi-species doses have shown positive outcomes.
Allergic Disorders: effective on immune responses in allergies.
Radiation Enteritis: Various treatments exist and there isn’t one specific protocol which is recommended to prevent radiation diarrhea.
Of course, probiotics have been linked to numerous other conditions and diseases: autism, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and more. Additional research should bring them into the mainstream.