Until now, probiotics were thought to be 100% beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods that help to activate our immune system, besides having a crucial role in the digestion process. However, a new Israeli study reveals that the intake of probiotics is not as beneficial as initially thought.
The two studies published by the medical journal Cell tries to discover how a healthy body behaves when colonized by bacteria from fermented foods and how these bacteria help people to recover after taking antibiotics.
The first study shows that people who take probiotics can be divided into two groups. In the first group, the bacteria colonize people’s intestines, while in the second one, the already-established microbiota expels the new bacteria intake. Scientists believe they can predict to which of the groups each person will belong by using pre-meal tests.
The researchers say that the successful colonization of “good bacteria” is depending on each individual, so their efficacy may not be guaranteed. Therefore, not all people can benefit from buying a probiotic in the supermarket.
Antibiotics are threatening the microbiota – Can probiotics intake be beneficial?
The second study wanted to discover the role that probiotics play in people after they take antibiotics. The leading author of the study, Eran Elinav, explained to the Australian daily ABC that “it is common all over the world for people to ingest probiotics when they are taking antibiotics to prevent possible side effects.”
However, the scientist says their study’s results do not support this claim.
The study shows that for people who take probiotics along with antibiotics it would take much longer to return to the intestinal flora they had before starting the medication. Additionally, the researchers also claim that the stool samples used for the study are a very poor indicator of what is happening in the intestine and do not reveal what is going on inside our body.
Thus, it is not yet clear how these results will help in clinical practice, but it is essential to know that probiotics, either from foods or supplements, are not as beneficial as we initially thought.