The safety of probiotics.

Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Department of Medicine, Tufts-New England Medical Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.
Clinical Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 9.37). 03/2008; 46 Suppl 2:S104-11; discussion S144-51. DOI: 10.1086/523331
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Probiotics are generally defined as microorganisms that, when consumed, generally confer a health benefit on humans. There is considerable interest in probiotics for a variety of medical conditions, and millions of people around the world consume probiotics daily for perceived health benefits. Lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, and lactococci have generally been regarded as safe. There are 3 theoretical concerns regarding the safety of probiotics: (1) the occurrence of disease, such as bacteremia or endocarditis; (2) toxic or metabolic effects on the gastrointestinal tract; and (3) the transfer of antibiotic resistance in the gastrointestinal flora. In this review, the evidence for safety of the use of or the study of probiotics is examined. Although there are rare cases of bacteremia or fungemia related to the use of probiotics, epidemiologic evidence suggests no population increase in risk on the basis of usage data. There have been many controlled clinical trials on the use of probiotics that demonstrate safe use. The use of probiotics in clinical trials should be accompanied by the use of a data-safety monitoring board and by knowledge of the antimicrobial susceptibilities of the organism used.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Gluten, a common component in the human diet, is capable of triggering coeliac disease pathogenesis in genetically predisposed individuals. Although the function of human digestive proteases in gluten proteins is quite well known, the role of intestinal microbiota in the metabolism of proteins is frequently underestimated. The aim of this study was the isolation and characterisation of the human gut bacteria involved in the metabolism of gluten proteins. 22 human faecal samples were cultured with gluten as the principal nitrogen source, and 144 strains belonging to 35 bacterial species that may be involved in gluten metabolism in the human gut were isolated. Interestingly, 94 strains were able to metabolize gluten, 61 strains showed an extracellular proteolytic activity against gluten proteins, and several strains showed a peptidasic activity toward the 33-mer peptide, an immunogenic peptide in coeliac disease patients. Most of the strains were classified within the phyla Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, mainly from the genera Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Clostridium and Bifidobacterium. In conclusion, the human intestine exhibits a large variety of bacteria capable of utilising gluten proteins and peptides as nutrients. These bacteria could have an important role in gluten metabolism and could offer promising new treatment modalities for coeliac disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Microbiology Ecology 02/2014; · 3.56 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a gastrointestinal emergency that leads to inflammation and intestinal necrosis. Although probiotics can decrease the incidence of NEC, consistent recommendations for probiotic administration to very low-birth-weight (VLBW) neonates are lacking. Here, the best available evidence is reviewed and a practice guideline for probiotic administrations to VLBW neonates is described. A systematic review was conducted using MEDLINE and EMBASE, and the strength of evidence was classified using the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine classification schema. Probiotics for VLBW neonates may decrease the incidence of NEC. Providers may choose to give probiotics to VLBW neonates at risk of acquiring NEC in facilities with a high NEC incidence. Clinicians must monitor infants for possible adverse effects. Contraindications for probiotic use include extremely low birth weight, clinical instability, abnormal abdominal examination, the presence of congenital abnormalities, post-NEC, stage III asphyxia, and umbilical catheters.
    Advances in Neonatal Care 04/2014; 14(2):88-95.
  • Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology: the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association 04/2014; · 5.64 Impact Factor