Evidence suggests that the gut microbiota play an important role in gastrointestinal problems.
Professor Hungin and colleagues from the United Kingdom give clinicians a practical reference guide on the role of specified probiotics in managing particular lower gastrointestinal symptoms/problems by means of a systematic review-based consensus.
Systematic literature searching identified randomized, placebo-controlled trials in adults.
Evidence for each symptom/problem was graded and statements developed.
|With some probiotics, improved symptoms ed to improvement in quality of life|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
As results cannot be generalized between different probiotics, individual probiotics were identified for each statement.
The team included 37 studies, mostly on irritable bowel syndrome, or antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Statements with 100% agreement and ‘high’ evidence levels indicated that specific probiotics help reduce overall symptom burden, and abdominal pain in some IBS patients in patients receiving antibiotics/Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy.
The team noted that specified probiotics are helpful as adjuvants to prevent/reduce the duration/intensity of AAD, and probiotics have favorable safety in patients in primary care.
Items with 70–100% agreement and ‘moderate’ evidence included that specific probiotics help relieve overall symptom burden in some patients with diarrhoea-predominant IBS, and reduce bloating/distension and improve bowel movement frequency/consistency in some IBS patients.
The researchers noted that with some probiotics, improved symptoms have led to improvement in quality of life.
Professor Hungin's team concludes, "Specified probiotics can provide benefit in IBS and antibiotic-associated diarrhea."
"Relatively few studies in other indications suggested benefits warranting further research."
"This study provides practical guidance on which probiotic to select for a specific problem."