ANCHOR LEAD: A NATURAL REMEDY CALLED PROBIOTICS MAY ACTUALLY HARM SOME, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Probiotics are a mix of bacteria that are supposed to restore a normal balance in the gut and aid a host of gastrointestinal and other problems. But for the first time, a study has identified one group of patients who’ve experienced harm from probiotics. Patrick Okolo, a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins, explains.
OKOLO: I think we’re absolutely very enthusiastic about probiotics and in adult use look like they have very few side effects and look like they were good for everything we evaluated them for, neutral or very good. And then comes a study looking at patients hospitalized in intensive care units for acute pancreatitis and in this group of patients probiotics actually increased the mortality in this group. It’s the first time that its really tempered our enthusiasm, meaning that there is a group of patients out there with severe disease who probiotics are not good for. :31
Okolo says additional study is needed to assess other groups of patients who may not benefit. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.