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Probiotics don't boost friendly bacteria

HealthBy Sunday World
Probiotics don't boost friendly bacteria

With so many advertisements stressing the importance of probiotic drinks and how they boost our 'friendly bacteria', it's no wonder sales for products like Yakult and Actimel are high.

However, if you're one of the many consumers, you may be wasting your time, as a major new study has found zero evidence proving such drinks have any benefits for healthy people.

It's estimated that the probiotic market reigns in around £20 billion ($29 billion) globally, with promises of helping restore the natural balance of the bacteria in our intestines and stomach. Danish researchers have rubbished such claims though after looking into seven trials, which showed such products make little difference on the gut's bacteria.

Experts delved into major studies of unnamed drinks, pills and biscuits which aimed to find a link between the probiotics and body, six of which showed no changes between those who took placebos or real products.

Although one of the seven trials detected a minor difference, researchers believe this may have been at fault and does not count.

Furthermore, experts still cannot name which bacteria are deemed as 'friendly' and which are no good for the body.

"Overall, this systematic review demonstrates there is no convincing evidence for consistent effects of probiotics on microbiota (bacteria) in healthy adults," scientists from the University of Copenhagen wrote in the Genome Medicine journal.

Senior author Professor Oluf Pedersen added: "While there is some evidence from previous reviews that probiotic interventions may benefit those with disease-associated imbalances of the gut microbiota, there is little evidence of an effect in healthy individuals."

Previous research conducted by University College London in 2014 found similar results, with scientists pointing out that any bacteria deemed good were ruined during digestion.

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