Many parents give their children probiotics when they get stomach bugs. But do these supplements really help to cure vomiting…
Many parents give their children probiotics when they get stomach bugs. But do these supplements really help to cure vomiting and diarrhea?
The answer – at least for two popular probiotics – seems to be: No.
“We have shown in two very large and rigorous studies that these particular probiotics do not work. They had no effect,” said David Schnadower, a professor of pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Schnadower led one of the studies, a federally funded project conducted in the United States. He also helped with the second, a government-renowned Canadian test. The results of both are published in the New England Journal of Medicine .
Schnadower concludes “These special probiotics should not be used for gastroenteritis.”
Gastroenteritis is the technical name of stomach problems, which can be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. The steam sends about 1
.7 million children to emergency services and houses 70,000 people in the United States each year. Many more children spend unfortunate days at home with their parents.
The theory behind the use of probiotics is that friendly bacteria can help the body to fight stomach problems and restore the normal balance between microbes in the digestive system.
However, based on the results, Schnadower and others recommend that doctors suggest that parents use probiotics for their children sick with stomach bug or mothers and dads try them on their own for the same reason.
“If they do not work, do not spend the money on them,” says Schnadower. “Spend your money on good food. Buy yogurt. Buy vegetables. Buy fruit. Children will benefit from it more than buying bacteria in pills that have no strong evidence for them to support their use.” (No study found any safety issues.)
Others argue that the studies are far from the last word and must be considered in connection with previous research, some of which indicate that probiotics may be effective under certain conditions.
“The conclusion from these two attempts is not that” probiotics do not work “, wrote Mary Ellen Sanders, scientist at the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, in an email. The group includes researchers and probiotic decision makers.” Researchers must consider total evidence in evaluating the effect of any procedure including acute pediatric diarrhea. It is not scientifically valid to ignore previous research when new studies are conducted. “
However, i-Health, Inc., the company that makes Cultural, one of the probiotics tested, raised questions about how the US survey was conducted. The company noted Also, previous research has encountered the effectiveness of probiotic.
“The findings should be considered with other clinical trials that have shown positive results,” wrote Seema Mody, senior director of research and development at I-Health, Inc., in an email
But the researchers who led the new studies argued for the earlier tests were worse. “We hoped for positive trials – a cure for children’s diarrhea – but we must accept reality,” wrote Dr. Stephen Freedman from Alberts Children & # 39 ; s Hospital, who led the Canadian study in an email.
At least one independent researcher agrees that the new studies are definitive, at least for the specific probiotic Ika performed for this specific disease. “These are important, very profitable studies,” said J. Thomas LaMont, director of gastroenterology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who wrote an editorial accompanying the studies. “These studies are likely to have a major impact on eliminating the use of medicines that do not seem to work.”
Schnadower, Freedman, LaMont and others stressed that the results only apply to the two probiotic formulations tested in the study and only for gastroenteritis.
It is still possible that the probiotics tested in these studies may work for other health problems. It is also possible that other probiotics may function for gastroenteritis or other conditions, they say. A new study, for example, found a probiotic can help protect children from sepsis, which can be life threatening.
However, probiotics, consisting of live bacteria, are marketed for a dizziness of diseases – from indigestion to maintain overall health and prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Some probiotics are even marketed to alleviate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The blossoming probiotics market with billions of dollars has been driven by the explosion of microbiological research. The microbiome is millions of friendly bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live and believed to help maintain a healthy human body.
However, most of the probiotics research has consisted of small studies, many of which have been funded by companies selling products. Probiotics are not required to review and be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
As a result, many researchers and clinics have questioned whether there is sufficient evidence to support the myriad claims, and have requested high quality independent investigations like the two new studies.
In the first study, Schnadower and his colleagues studied 971 children in the ages of 3 months to 4 years treated for gastroenteritis in 10 American acute spaces. The children received either a probiotic containing the bacteria Lactobacillus rhammosus GG for five days or a placebo. The probiotic is sold over the counter as Cultural.
There was no significant difference in how long parents said that their children’s vomiting and diarrhea lasted, researchers reported.
In the second study, researchers studied 886 children aged 3 months to 2 years who came into six Canadian ER with gastroenteritis. The youth either received a five-day probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus R001 and Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 or placebo. That combination is popular in southeast Asia.
Again there was no significant difference among the groups.
“The rigor and extent of these studies … have relocated the indicator quite to a conclusion that these two different preparations do not give any benefit to this disease,” wrote Phillip Tarr, professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Petersburg. Louis who helped to conduct the US study, in an email. “It’s time to move on.”