Consuming probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and some other dairy products, can reduce the incidence of diarrhea caused commonly by antibiotics.
Diarrhea is a common side effect which affects almost one in three of people who take an oral antibiotic. The condition mostly occurs because the drug also kills many of harmless and even beneficent bacteria colonized in the intestines.
A new government-sponsored study showed that consuming supplements or food containing probiotics such as yogurt with live bacterial cultures can keep the delicate microbial balance in the intestines of patients who take antibiotics.
The research included a review of 63 previous clinical trials involving 11,811 participants. The findings which were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
showed that probiotics could prevent 42 percent of the diarrhea that may occur after antibiotic intake.
None of the reviewed studies gave any definite guideline for how to use supplements or probiotic rich food or which specific kind of those microorganisms were more effective, said Sydne Newberry, a nutritionist and researcher for the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center at the RAND Corp. in Santa Monica.
More studies are therefore needed to test particular doses of individual probiotics against one another, and to give patients and their doctors better guidance, she said.
Authors of the new study highlighted that their work was not sponsored by any yogurt or supplement manufacturers and they had no ties with any of those stakeholders.