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Update on probiotics

January 17, 2020

The value of probiotics is difficult to sort out.

I wrote a paper on probiotics, in 2019, with special attention to IBS, and I am always trying to be sure that my conclusions were accurate. Recent publications support my original conclusions, and yet even some gastroenterologists seem to recommend probiotics more than I think the evidence indicates.

The advertisements for Align suggest it is the "probiotic most often recommended by gastroenterologists", or "#1 gastroenterologist recommended probiotic" but this "evidence" comes from "among gastroenterologists and doctors who recommended a brand of probiotic in a ProVoice 2018 survey". That means it is the commonest, but we have no idea how many gastroenterologists do nto recommend probiotics at all.

A very useful and insightful review appeared recently on one of my favorite websites,  "sciencebasedmedicine.org", and the author is actually a neurologist, but also an expert in assessing science-based claims, and one of the leading experts world-wide in critical thinking, related to medicine but also other scientific issues.  Here is his review:

https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/probiotics-online/

He is reviewing a paper from British and Belgian authors looking at the information available on the internet.

A scientific review (systematic review and meta-analysis) on probiotics and IBS is also available, and to flesh out the discussion, a review from 2017 on probiotics and IBD, and a short and sharp editorial from Fergus Shanahan, one of the world's leading researchers and experts in probiotics and other areas related to the gut microbiome.