Comprehensive coverage

The effect of probiotic preparations varies from person to person, and may even be undesirable

"The results of the study indicate that probiotics should not be administered to the general public. It must be adapted to each person according to his personal needs" say researchers Eran Alinev and Eran Segal from the Weizmann Institute

Intestinal bacteria. Illustration: shutterstock
Intestinal bacteria. Illustration: shutterstock

Millions of people around the world take probiotics every day - preparations containing live bacteria designed to strengthen the immune system, prevent diseases or correct the negative effects of antibiotics. However, the benefits of probiotics have never been scientifically proven. Moreover, it is not at all clear whether the probiotic bacteria introduced into the body succeed in colonizing the digestive system, and if so, how they affect humans and their microbiome - the population of bacteria residing in our bodies. From two new studies by Weizmann Institute of Science scientists published simultaneously in the scientific journal Cell, shows that the effect of 11 strains from the most common probiotic bacteria families varies from person to person, and may even be undesirable in some people.

In the first study, 25 volunteers underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy in order to sample their microbiome and establish its basic composition and its activity in the different areas of the intestines. 15 of the volunteers were divided into two groups: the first received the probiotic preparation, and the second received a dummy pill (placebo). Three weeks after the start of the treatment (which lasted four weeks in total), all participants underwent a second endoscopy and colonoscopy to confirm the changes that had occurred in their bodies, and remained monitored for another two months.

The researchers from the laboratories of Prof. Eran Alinev from the Department of Immunology and Prof. Eran Segal from the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, discovered that the degree of intestinal colonization of the probiotic strains varied significantly from person to person. However, they noticed two main groups: the group of "persisters" in whose intestines the probiotic bacteria settled, and the group of "resisters" who eliminated the guests. The research team discovered that it is possible to predict which of the two groups a subject will belong to based on the basic composition of his gut bacteria and the gene expression profile in his digestive system. The study was conducted in collaboration with Prof. Zamir Halpern, Director of the Gastroenterology Division at the Tel Aviv Sorasky (Ichilov) Medical Center.

"The results of the study indicate that probiotics should not be given to the general public," says Prof. Alinev, "each person should be adapted according to their personal needs." Prof. Segal adds: "The results add to our previous findings, which revealed a personal response to food, and emphasized the role of the gut microbiome as a source of unique clinical differences between humans."

In the second study, the researchers referred to the conventional combination of antibiotics and probiotics. Many times we are advised to take probiotics in order to deal with the negative effects of antibiotics. Following antibiotic treatment, do the probiotic bacteria settle in the intestine more easily, and if so, what is their effect on the host body and its microbiome? The researchers gave broad-spectrum antibiotics to 21 volunteers, who then underwent endoscopy and colonoscopy to examine changes in their gut and microbiome. Later, the volunteers were randomly divided into three groups: the first - the "wait and see" group, in which the microbiome in the body was allowed to recover on its own; The second group received the preparation of the 11 probiotic strains over a period of four weeks, and the third group was treated with "self-implantation of feces", which was collected from the subjects before the antibiotic treatment.

The researchers discovered that after antibiotic treatment, the probiotic bacteria settled relatively easily in the intestine - certainly compared to the findings in the previous study, where no antibiotics were given. However, to the researchers' surprise, colonization prevented the gene expression profile and the microbiome from returning to their original, pre-antibiotic configuration for many months. Autologous fecal transplantation, on the other hand, resulted in the resettlement of the original microbiome and the return of the gene expression profile to normal within days. "These findings," says Prof. Alinev, "reveal a new and worrying side effect of using probiotics combined with antibiotics, which may have long-term consequences. On the other hand, personalized treatment - using the patient's own bacteria for the purpose of replenishing the stock of bacteria in the intestine - completely canceled the effect of the drugs."

Since probiotics are one of the best-selling food supplements in the world, the research findings may have extensive and immediate implications. "Contrary to the existing belief, according to which probiotics are not harmful and even beneficial," says Prof. Segal, "we suggest adjusting probiotic preparations to patients personally, or in some cases, considering treatments such as fecal transplantation."

Dr. Niv Zamora, Yotam Suetz, Gili Zilberman-Shapira and Uriah Mor from Prof. Alinev's laboratory led the two studies, in collaboration with Dr. Meli Dori-Baksh, Dr. Stavros Bashards, Maya Tzur, Dana Regev-Lehavi, Rotam Ben -Zev Barik, Dr. Sara Federici, Yotam Cohen, Max Horn, Rachel Linevsky, Dr. Mirav Pevsner-Fischer and Dr. Hagit Shapira from Prof. Alinev's laboratory; Dr. Eran Kotler, Dafna Rothschild, Dr. David Zaevi and Dr. Tal Korem from Prof. Segal's laboratory; Andreas Mor, Shani Ben-Moshe, and Dr. Shalu Itzkowitz from Dr. Itzkowitz's laboratory; Prof. Alon Harmelin from the Department of Veterinary Resources, Dr. Nitzan Maharshek and Prof. Oren Shibulat from the Souraski Tel Aviv Hospital, and Dr. Itai Sharon from Tel Hai College and the Migel Institute in the Galilee.

8 תגובות

  1. There are several cases where the existing probiotics can help a lot:
    1. For those who have intestinal inflammation, taking probiotics will introduce bacterial miliards that will take part of the living space of the pathogenic bacteria (causing diseases). After the body (or medicine) overcomes the disease, it is advisable to continue for a few weeks, while gradually reducing the amount, until the normal bacteria emerge from the environment and multiply.
    2. When taking antibiotics, it is advisable to take a probiotic capsule two hours after each antibiotic pill. The antibiotics kill the entire intestinal population, making room for resistant bacteria. The situation is particularly serious in hospitals, which are infested with pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to most (and some to all) antibiotics. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from resistant bacteria they acquired in a hospital while receiving antibiotics. Again continue for a period until good bacteria from the environment multiply.
    3. Fungus in the mouth can be cured by opening the capsule (or crushing the pill into powder) and applying the powder to the fungus. Heals within two days (trying).
    When there is a quality probiotic with several hundreds of good bacteria strains, of course it will be better. Bacteria are already known today that can eliminate colonies of resistant bacteria such as C-DEFF, which are an important cause of death in hospitals, by competing for food resources. It's just that it's still impossible to get them for the average patient.
    Another topic: if a pathogenic bacterium returns after taking antibiotics, before going for a fecal transplant, you can take saliva from family members in order to accelerate the culture of good bacteria.

  2. It is simply discovered time and time again that it is not advisable to use human-engineered supplements, to go for the natural source - that is, to consume natural probiotics from natural foods, such as home-pickled canned vegetables, natural yogurt, Sha'or sourdough, etc.

  3. When will the company be able to offer capsules with the bacterial composition of a healthy human intestine, and not just the 11 varieties that are sold in supplements? The 11 strains in the supplements are not useful in anything, they are not important, and the only reason they were put in the supplements, is purely economic considerations, which have nothing to do with human health. They are simply easy to breed, and have a long shelf life. Not everyone can do an auto-faecal transplant, from their own faeces before they got sick. Because they are already sick. Transplantation of feces is dangerous because it is impossible to know what is transferred from the other person. But if there was a controlled and tested product, it would be so helpful. The real and important strains in the intestines of humans are difficult to extract, most of them are anaerobic. Therefore they are not sold. But whoever can produce capsules like that, will be a millionaire, because this is what will solve so many of the problems caused by the disruption of the bacteria in the intestines.

    Where can you buy, or purchase a service of transplanting a complete composition of bacteria (thousands of strains), from the intestines of healthy people? The material in faecal transplants has not been thoroughly tested. Only a few known pathogens are tested, and no more.

  4. Where is it possible to adjust probiotic preparations for patients personally?

    Is there a service that, after lining up the composition of the bacteria (as in daytwo), says which bacteria are missing in this composition, which are in the intestines of healthy people, and then prepares capsules for them, with the specific bacteria they are missing?

    That is, a tailor-made composition of specific bacteria, according to the deficiencies found, relative to a diverse, rich and healthy composition?

Leave a Reply

Email will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismat to prevent spam messages. Click here to learn how your response data is processed.