In recent research conducted in India, 160 men and women with cirrhosis without signs of hepatic encephalopathy were assigned randomly to receive probiotics or placebo three times a day.
Three months of probiotics reduced levels of arterial ammonia and improved other biomarkers. Seven in the probiotic group developed overt hepatic encephalopathy but twice as many in the control group did.
Probiotics are thought to possibly alter the intestinal microbiota which in turn produce less ammonia.
Researchers from Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences in Iran also examined the impact of probiotics in liver disease.
Imani Fooladi and colleagues assert in a comprehensive paper that:
“…probiotic can reduce the urease activity of bacterial microflora. Furthermore, probiotic decreases fecal pH value and reduces ammonia adsorption. In addition, the serum level of liver enzymes and other substances synthesized by the liver are modulated subsequent to probiotic consumption.”
Whether clinicians are exploring the use of probiotics in liver disease is not readily known. More research is needed here, as probiotic therapy can be a cheaper alternative to many healthcare practices.