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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Probiotics - Are They Working Or Not ?

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Author Topic: Probiotics - Are They Working Or Not ?
micul
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Quality of Probiotic Supplements Questioned

People who take supplements that are supposed to contain beneficial bacteria (probiotics) may not be getting their money's worth, according to a study presented by researchers from Bastyr University (Kenmore, WA) at an American Public Health Association meeting. The finding that some of these products do not contain viable bacteria or are contaminated with other potentially harmful bacteria raises concerns about the safety and efficacy of these products.

The intestinal tract contains billions of beneficial bacteria that perform various necessary functions, such as aiding in the digestion and absorption of food and protecting the body against microorganisms that can cause infection. While there are dozens of different types of friendly bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. thermophilus, L. reuteri, and Bifidobacterium bifidum are some of the more common strains found in the gut. Studies suggest that taking supplements containing these bacteria can help boost immune function and prevent or relieve certain health conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal yeast infections, and traveler's diarrhea. However, commercially available probiotic products that do not contain what they are purported to contain will not deliver these benefits.

According to this new report, laboratory testing of 12 refrigerated and 8 non-refrigerated, randomly selected probiotic supplements obtained from different health food stores revealed that only one product contained the same bacteria as those listed on the label. Many of the refrigerated products had some beneficial bacteria, but contained fewer species of organisms than the label claimed. More than 30% of all supplements were contaminated with other microorganisms and 50% of the non-refrigerated products were completely dead. Dead probiotics have no impact on improving intestinal function or restoring the balance of normal intestinal flora.

The deficiencies found in these probiotic supplements may be due to poor manufacturing processes, poor quality control, or other environmental factors that cause the bacteria to deteriorate. While some probiotics are stable at room temperature, most require refrigeration to maintain live cultures. The findings in the new study suggest that many probiotic supplements will provide no benefit due to lack of viable organisms and may cause infection if contaminated with organisms that cause disease. However, no reports have been published linking a probiotic supplement to an intestinal infection. It is unclear at this point whether there are any adverse effects from the bacterial contaminants found in probiotic supplements.

http://flash.lymenet.org/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=049241

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You're only a failure when you stop trying.

Posts: 945 | From U.S | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
micul
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Up

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You're only a failure when you stop trying.

Posts: 945 | From U.S | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
microbes4u
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I want to be clear, we sell a probiotic. I would just like to comment. There are several factors that go into packaging a probiotic. For the "bugs" to grow, they need heat, oxygen and water. If they have these ingredients in a capsule they will self intoxicate.

A plastic bottle will allow moisture and oxygen to move in and out of the bottle even when capped. Add a bit of room temperature and you will have a whole lot of self intocxicated "bugs" (dead probiotic bacteria). Retail environments also add time to the equation. Some product can sit for weeks or months before it moves off the shelf. We store our product at -20 degrees. To give you some perspective, in the freezer our probiotic will last well beyond the expiration date. In a refrigerator, potency can be maintained for 2 years, at room temperature, 30 days. At 60 days the potency begins to decline quite rapidly.

Most probiotics will tell you how many bacteria are in the capsule at the time of manufacture. Look for probiotics that guarantee CFU counts at the expiration date on the bottle.
Get independent third party tests on each lot number. This information should be available.

I applaud Bastyr for doing the study. Probiotics are very important for Lyme patients. Dr. Richard Horowitz at the last ILADS conference told the gathering that 100 billion CFU of probiotics should be taken daily by Lyme patients. I did not get to question if that is in the capsule or delivered through the gasric environment. I would comment that 100 billion sounds like a great amount, but relative to the total in the gut, it is not. There are trillions of gut microbes. If the probiotic formulation does not protect the microbes in the stomach acid, loses of 3-4 logrithms can be expected. That is 99.9 to 99.99%. That amount would truly be insignificant. All companies will tell you their product is good, it is up to you to do the research to find the best products for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
To your health!
[email protected] if you have any questions, you can email me directly.

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a goal without a plan = a wish

Posts: 1 | From Abington Township, PA | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
gardenoflyme
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there is truth in everything said above. I have tried many probiotics, both refrigerated and not. Sometimes, even the brand i normally use seems to be a little less potent.

I think so much depends not only on the reputation and/or quality control of the manufacturer, but also how it gets to the store, doctor or consumer and then how they store it.

for example, I am a big fan of metagenics ultra flora plus powder. I love the supplier i usually get it from--they will even include an ice pack(insulated) in the shipment box. However, if i forget to reorder before the hot, summer months i will purchase it at a health foods store. Their bottles just don't seem to be as potent. Easily remedied--just take more.

i have had good luck with culturelle when travelling. My doc just recently suggested i try theralac. it is on my list of things to do. i believe many on this board have had good luck with it. so far every new product recommnded by my doc has done everything it is supposed to do and then some. Use your LLMDs if they are willing and able.

too bad there isn't somewhere where we could keep a list of brands that we personally have used and had good luck with. Unfortunately what works for one may not for the other--kinda like treating lyme itself.

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micul
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Up

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vachick
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I think I am more concerned about ingesting the harmful ingredients that were mentioned in the study.

I take Theralac now...I have no idea if it includes any of those harmful ingredients and/or contaminants. Therefore, I may being doing myself more harm than good.

How would one research whether a product contains these contaminants?

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micul
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Vachick.

I wouldn't be too concerned that there might be undesireable bacteria in some probiotics as long as they contain live beneficial bacteria also. What can really hurt you is getting the bad bacteria along with a capsule of DEAD probiotics. Can you imagine how much harm this does to someone that is on high dose long term abx? Just think what problems arise as a result of this. Someone can be taking a whole bottle of DEAD probiotics for weeks without even knowing it, and the whole time they are experiencing an increase in Sx for which they have no explanation other than thinking that they are going through a cycle or just herxing.

These are the brands that I have tested and had good results with. Theralac, Pharmax, Enz Therapy Pearls, Sedona Labs, VSL#3. But there is always a possiblity of getting a bad batch, so you can never be 100% sure unless you test each bottle yourself.

The best way to be assured that you are always getting beneficial bacteria is to make it yourself as Yogurt and Kefir

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clairenotes
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I vaguely remember reading a report a long time ago that expressed similar concerns. Since then, I have chosen not to do probiotics.

For awhile, I ate a little unsalted organic sauerkraut, but my stomach was sensitive to it. I think I can go back now. It is supposed to be rich with friendly flora. The raw foods people really seem to like it. I love the taste. It is not for everyone though.

There is another topic on 'Cultured Foods' that I am anxious to read. Think it might talk about the sauerkraut.

Any comments on it's safety?

Thanks for this article.

Claire

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dontlikeliver
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My LLMD advised me to take VSL3, which you buy from them directly. It has 450 BILLION bacteria per packet. It comes in serving sized sealed packs that have to be kept refrigerated. I also take Theralac on top of that twice a day (so that's 510 billion bacteria a day/probiotics) plus Pearls and Udo's....and yogurt.

The VSL3 is apparently made for people with serious intestinal disorders. (from what I read on their site).

DLL

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micul
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Wow! That's great Liver hater. I wish that I could afford to do that. Those are both great products that work. Those large numbers of bacteria can be obtained and surpassed with homemade Yogurt and Kefir. It is much easier to take the capsules tho if you can afford to do that for long term. I just can't, and unfortunately insurance doesn't cover these supplements.

So how have you been doing since getting on these better probies? What were you taking before when you were having all the Candida issues? Maybe you would have been able to handle the Ketek and Bicillin if you had been taking better probies?

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