Recent research has suggested that probiotic supplementation does not benefit everyone as the bacteria does not appear to populate everyone’s guts. I was wondering if there was any research as to why that is the case?


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  1. Ricebowl Food Expert
    October 25, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    The human gut is one of the most complex ecosystems, composed of 1013-1014 microorganisms which play an important role in human health – Large number of bacteria that shapes many important physiological and metabolic processes as well as the development of immune system. It has been shown that the collective adult human gastrointestinal tract is composed of up to 1000-1150 bacteria species. However, the physiological conditions differ widely in the human gastrointestinal tract leading to an individual gut microbiota (Martin et al., 2013).


    Probiotics are live bacteria that help our body by replacing the lost good bacteria. However, probiotics must survive before reaching the small intestine and colonize the host, thereby imparting their benefits (Corcoran et al., 2005). Several factors that influence the stability of probiotics in human gastrointestinal tract includes acidity conditions in the stomach, enzymatic activities, composition of the environment as well as the bile salt in the small intestine (Soccol et al., 2010). The consumption of dairy and non-dairy products would also stimulates the immunity in different ways.


    A review article has reviewed forty-five studies where the relevant literature were published between 1990 to August 2017. It highlighted that majority of the published studies have proved the positive impact of probiotic supplementation towards human health but focused on demographics with specific health pathologies. Among these studies that were included for review, evidences had shown to support the role of probiotics in improving immune system responses, stool consistency, bowel movement, and vaginal lactobacilli concentration (Khalesi et al., 2018).


    Zmora et al. (2018) conducted a study which involved 25 healthy volunteers to sample their baseline microbiome in gut. However, only 15 of those volunteers progressed to the next stage where they were then divided into two groups to carry out the impact of probiotics test. The results had shown that there were probiotics present in the gut, with only some people permitted them. This demonstrates that not everyone who takes a catch-all type of probiotic is able to assimilate the product in their digestive tract. These results highlighted the role of the gut microbiome in driving very specific clinical differences between people.


    In conclusion, the findings demonstrated that one approach may not fit all. A more personalized approach to probiotics therapy will ensure everyone gets the individual care they need. It is the best to consult a physician/doctor before taking any probiotic supplements or for your medical needs.



    • Khalesi, S., Bellissimo, N., Vandelanotte, C., Williams, S., Stanley, D. & Irwin, C. (2018). A review of probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: helpful or hype? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 73(1), 24-37.

    • Zmora, N., Zilberman-Schapira, G., Suez, J., Mor, U., Dori-Bachash, M., Bashiardes, S., Kotler, E., Zur, M., Regev-Lehavi, D., Brik, R.B-Z., Federici, S., Cohen, Y., Linevsky, R., Rothschild, D., Moor, A.E.,  Ben-Moshe, S., Harmelin, A., Itzkovitz, S., Maharshak, N., Shibolet, O., Shapiro, H., Pevsner-Fischer, M., Sharon, I., Halpern, Z., Segal, E., Elinav, E . (2018). Personalized Gut Mucosal Colonization Resistance to Empiric Probiotics Is Associated with Unique Host and Microbiome Features. Cell Press, 174(6), 1388-1405.

    • Martin, R., Miquel, S. Ulmer, J., Kechaou, N., Langella, P. & Bermudez-Humarah, L. G. (2013). Role of commensal and probiotic bacteria in human health: a focus on inflammatory bowel disease. Microbial Cell Factories, 12(71), 1-11.

    • Soccol, C. R., Vandenberghe, L. P. S., Spier, M. R., Medeiros, A. B. P., Yamaguishi, C. T., Lindner, J. D. D., Pandey, A. & Thomaz-Soccol, V. (2010). The Potential of Probiotics: A Review. Food Technology and Biotechnology, 48(4), 413-434.

    • Corcoran, B. M., Stanton, C., Fitzgerald, G. F. & Ross, R. P. (2005). Survival of Probiotic Lactobacilli in Acidic Environments Is Enhanced in the Presence of Metabolizable Sugars. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(6), 3060-3067.

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