Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are administrated as supplements or in foods to benefit the host. It is the recommendation that they may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of acute diarrhea in adults and children, the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in adults and children, and the maintenance of remission and prevention of pouchitis. Although early results indicate that probiotics may also be useful in immunologic modulation to prevent atopy, treatment of radiation intestinal disease, vaginosis, ulcerative colitis, and the irritable bowel syndrome, the studies available are not sufficient to say they are definitely helpful. Even fewer data are available to recommend probiotics for the treatment of H pylori and Crohn disease and for the prevention of cardiovascular risk factors or other degenerative diseases. Clearly, larger and better-designed studies of probiotics are necessary, including comparative and dose-ranging trials.
*Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
†University of Alberta, Canada
‡University of Toronto, Canada
§Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, IL
∥Division of Gastroenterology, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, University Hospitals of Cleveland, OH
¶Department of Pathology
**Department of Medicine and Physiology, Department of Gastroenterology, Harvard Medical School, Harvard, UK
††Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Reprints: Martin Floch, MD, Yale University School of Medicine, Section of Digestive Diseases, P.O. Box 208019, New Haven, 06520-8019 CT (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Received for publication October 4, 2005; accepted November 30, 2005
These guidelines are based on a consensus opinion arising out of this workshop held at Yale University on October 7, 2005 under the auspices of the Digestive Disease Section and The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology.