Monday, July 14, 2014

4 Conditions Probiotics Have Been Proven to Treat

A cup of greek yogurt 

The trillions of bacteria and yeast found in the intestinal tract are one of the hottest topics in medicine. So it's no surprise that probiotics, and foods or supplements containing live organisms that can help maintain a normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, have also gained more attention.

"There's been a tremendous increase in interest in probiotics among practicing physicians and the general public," said Dr. Allan Walker, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an investigator at the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.

"Over the last 10 to 15 years, research into probiotics and intestinal microbes has taken off, and many talented researchers have entered the field," Walker said.

 In his own research, Walker studies the use of probiotics in infants, and has also co-chaired the Yale Workshop, a group of experts who analyzed the scientific data and published recommendations for physicians on probiotic use in 2011. The group will meet again to review the latest evidence and release updated guidelines in March 2015.

Although the interest in probiotics is skyrocketing, the medical community is not as excited about probiotics as the public, because doctors want to have strong scientific evidence before making recommendations for patients, Walker told Live Science.  What's really needed to move the science ahead is to gather more evidence from multiple-center clinical trials, he said. 

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