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09/30/11 12:06 PM
Probiotic Pills Better for IBS than Yogurt

Probiotic pills better for IBS than Yogurt

Sep 23, 2011 3:30 PM

Probiotic pills ease irritable bowel syndrome and other stomach problems more effectively than yogurt with probiotics, a recent survey of Consumer Reports subscribers suggests. Probiotics are helpful bacteria that naturally occur in the intestines. Other recent research concluded that probiotics, in yogurt or pills, might also help prevent colds.

In the Consumer Reports survey, 1,019 people said they took probiotic supplements to ease their stomach problems and 1,121 people said they consumed yogurt with lactobacillus acidophilus, a common probiotic. A third of the supplement users said the probiotic helped a lot, compared with 17 percent and 20 percent of those who consumed the yogurt for their IBS or another digestive disorder, respectively. Among people who used probiotics for their general health, those who took pills were more likely than those who consumed yogurt to get probiotics on all or most days.

Respondents said that neither supplements nor yogurt worked as well as prescription drugs.

The analysis on probiotics and colds, published this month by the Cochrane Collaboration, looked at 10 previous studies including 3,451 children and adults age 40 and younger who took pills or consumed yogurt for more than a week. It concluded that people who took a probiotic experienced 12 percent fewer acute upper respiratory tract infections over the study periods than those who took a placebo. In addition, people who took probiotics were less likely to need antibiotics to treat bacterial complications of those infections.

The researchers said that probiotics might help the immune system by bolstering gut wall integrity.

Bottom line: Neither our survey nor the new Cochrane analysis proves that probiotics protect the stomach or prevent colds, though they add to a growing a body of evidence suggesting they might. The survey of Consumer Reports subscribers, who may not be representative of the general population, differs from clinical trials, which has a control group and monitors dosing. Probiotics are safe for most people, though possible side effects include vomiting and flatulence. And you might need to avoid them if you’re pregnant or nursing, have a serious acute or chronic illness, or have weakened immunity, check with your doctor.

Source
Probiotics (live micro-organisms) to prevent upper respiratory tract infections (for example, the common cold) [Cochrane Collaboration]

—Sue Byrne


http://news.consumerreports.org/health/2011/09/probiotic-pills-might-help-with-ibsand-colds-too.html



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