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Do Probiotics Work for Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

By    |   Friday, 27 May 2016 04:01 PM

Many people take probiotics for overall health, but if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), could they work to benefit you?

Researchers are unsure of the underlying cause of inflammatory bowel disease, so treating it can be a challenge. In addition to conventional medicine that can help reduce inflammation and ease symptoms, some patients also seek natural alternatives such as probiotics.

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Probiotics are products and foods containing live beneficial bacteria that help balance the gut flora, providing a host of health benefits.

While probiotics have shown promise in treating other maladies of the digestive system, research into using them to treat IBD has been disappointing so far with no concrete evidence they provide benefit.

A study is currently underway to determine if a new strain of probiotic may benefit patients. The researchers have found a strain of bacteria called Bifidobacterium breve that already exists in the bowels, but is less plentiful in people who have inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers plan to develop this strain into a protective probiotic that will then be tested on patients with IBD, says Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

Registered dietitian Sherry Coleman Collins writes in Today’s Dietician that the current research about treating IBD with probiotics is limited, but because there are so many different strains of probiotics to study, she expects the body of knowledge to expand greatly.

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Of the different types of IBD, the most promising results with probiotics have been seen in a condition called pouchitis. Enough positive data also exists for using probiotics to treat ulcerative colitis that many clinicians now incorporate them into treatment plans.

According to WebMD, because the research supporting the benefit of probiotics in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease is murky, probiotics should not be considered a first-line treatment for these conditions. However, they pose almost no health risks so they can be used together with conventional medications.

WebMD advises patients who take probiotics for inflammatory bowel disease to keep a journal of which strains they are taking and note any changes in symptoms to help isolate strains that may be working.

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Many people take probiotics for overall health, but if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), could they work to benefit you?
do, probiotics, work, inflammatory bowel disease, IBD
Friday, 27 May 2016 04:01 PM
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