In this article we have proposed to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about clinical applications of probiotics. As you probably already know and according to the World Health Organization, probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in the right amount, confer a beneficial effect on the health of the subject who receives them.”
Is it convenient to take probiotics when we have to take antibiotics?
The use of antibiotics can often cause diarrhea, more specifically this side effect is manifested in a quarter of patients who take them, which results in the suspension of treatment. This occurs in general because of an imbalance of the intestinal microbiota.
Diarrhea associated with antibiotics (AAD) appears from the beginning of the treatment until possibly 3-8 weeks after, not due to any other cause.
Studies have shown that probiotics in combination with antibiotics reduce the risk of diarrhea. Even so, at the moment there are no conclusive studies to routinely recommend the joint use of probiotics and antibiotics, although some strains have demonstrated their effectiveness by decreasing the incidence of AAD. Making sure, its administration must be done at the start of the treatment.
Are there studies on its use in lactose intolerance?
Consumption of fermented milk improves the tolerance to be degraded by the bacterial enzymes, and in this way improving digestibility and decreasing gastric emptying. Some strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus contain β-galactosidase and lactase, which could increase lactose digestion. Probiotics could improve lactose tolerance by modulating the intestinal microbiota.
Are they effective in functional disorders like irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common functional gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by the presence of abdominal pain and changes in bowel rhythm without an organic alteration justifying it. Its cause is unknown although there are data that support its relationship with the gut microbiota, this being different from that of healthy individuals. In addition, its establishment is related, in a third of cases, to gastrointestinal infectious processes and a high proportion of these patients have also been observed to be compatible with a bacterial overdevelopment.
Most studies suggest that several species of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus benefit treatment, demonstrating that prolonged use has shown a significant decrease in symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and borborygms.