The studies show : not all probiotics are created equal.
Probiotic strains have demonstrated significant benefits for maintaining the health of the microbial community in the gut, and our health in general.
There are hundreds and probably even thousands of probiotics now available on the market. But do they work? Do they have a proven track record of being helpful?
One of the most researched bacteria: Lactobacilli has demonstrated the ability to protect the host from multiple bacterial strains that cause illnesses like listeria, salmonella and e.coli. Lactobacilli influences immunological and physiological processes in the body, helping our defenses to protect us from disease.
In a large review of various Lactobacillus species, researchers found Lactobacilli efficacious for the treatment of some cancers, vaginal disorders, high cholesterol, H. pylori, kidney stones and infections, mastitis (breast infection), allergic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, constipation and ulcerative colitis, diarrhea, and type 2 diabetes.
While Lactobacilli as a group have a wide range of therapeutic potential, research indicates that variability among efficacy and adherence to gut lining exists between strains.
One of the most studied is Lactobacillus plantarum 299V (LP299V), that has been shown to affect our genes and immune system in the gut. This helps to minimize a deleterious effect of many bacteria and prevent them from entering into the blood stream and affecting other organs.
LP299V has demonstrated the ability to temper gastrointestinal symptoms when antibiotic exposure occurs. Specifically, routine ingestion of LP299V, in patients receiving antibiotic treatment, reduced the incidence of frequently lethal C. difficile infection.
Researchers discovered that in Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients, addition of LP299V caused significant improvement in IBS related symptoms over the 4 week trial period when compared to placebo. Abdominal pain decreased in frequency and intensity, bloating and sensation of incomplete evacuation also decreased with LP299V ingestion.