Popular probiotic flunks a test

It didn’t reduce symptoms of acute gastroenteritis among children in a recent, large trial.

Can Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), the bacteria found in Culturelle and many other probiotics, help curb the diarrhea and vomiting that doctors call acute gastroenteritis?

Researchers randomly assigned 943 preschool children and infants who were diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis at emergency rooms to take either a placebo or LGG (10 billion colony-forming units) twice a day for five days.

After two weeks, the probiotic takers had no less diarrhea or vomiting than the children who got the placebo. It’s not clear if the results apply to adults.

What to do

Interested in probiotics? Keep in mind that few large clinical trials like these have tested their claims.

As for LGG, in smaller trials, either LGG or Saccharomyces boulardii (a yeast found in supplements like Florastor) reduced the risk of diarrhea linked to antibiotics in children.

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Photo: mbt_studio/stock.adobe.com.

The information in this post first appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter.

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