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Emergency Medical Minute


Sep 28, 2018

Author:  John Winkler, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Probiotics are bacteria that are ingested to promote gut health but recent research casts doubt on their effectiveness.
  • Recent study suggests that most probiotics that are ingested are killed by stomach acid. Those that remain are not very healthy and are outcompeted by the normal gut flora.
  • Probiotics should not be given as a one-size-fits-all treatment.



Zmora N, Zilberman-Schapira G, Suez J, Mor U, Dori-Bachash M, Bashiardes S, Kotler E, Zur M, Regev-Lehavi D, Brik RB, Federici S, Cohen Y, Linevsky R, Rothschild D, Moor AE, Ben-Moshe S, Harmelin A, Itzkovitz S, Maharshak N, Shibolet O, Shapiro H, Pevsner-Fischer M, Sharon I, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E. Personalized Gut Mucosal Colonization Resistance to Empiric Probiotics Is Associated with Unique Host and Microbiome Features. Cell. 2018 Sep 6;174(6):1388-1405.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.041. PubMed PMID: 30193112.