Do You Need Probiotics? Trust Your Gut.


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On this episode of the pod, we answer the question, "are probiotics beneficial?"
We kick things off with a description of probiotics and, more generally, all the microorganisms that live in symbiosis with us (collectively called the microbiome). We discuss the complexity of our microbiome and the fact that no two people have the same microbial cells (not even twins)! We spend some time talking specifically about the gut microbiome and different bacterial species that it is composed of. Next, we dig into the literature to explore the evidence (or lack thereof) of the benefits of probiotic therapy. We specifically investigate the use of probiotics for antibiotic-associated diarrhea, yeast infections and other urogenital issues, colic in infants, and necrotizing enterocolitis in very-low-birth-weight infants. We talk about different types of probiotics-- specifically refrigerated versus shelf-stable and the variety of probiotics on the market. Finally, we dive into the U.S. regulation of probiotics and quality control issues with unregulated probiotics, as well as potential harms of probiotics for specific sub-populations at high-risk.
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