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      Strain-Specificity and Disease-Specificity of Probiotic Efficacy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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          As the use and diversity of probiotic products expands, the choice of an appropriate type of probiotic is challenging for both medical care professionals and the public alike. Two vital factors in choosing the appropriate probiotic are often ignored, namely, the probiotic strain-specificity and disease-specificity for efficacy. Reviews and meta-analyses often pool together different types of probiotics, resulting in misleading conclusions of efficacy.


          A systematic review of the literature (1970–2017) assessing strain-specific and disease-specific probiotic efficacy was conducted. Trials were included for probiotics with an identifiable strain (either single strain or mixtures of strains) that had at least two randomized, controlled trials for each type of disease indication. The goal was to determine if probiotic strains have strain and/or disease-specific efficacy.


          We included 228 trials and found evidence for both strain specificity and disease specificity for the efficacy of specific probiotic strains. Significant efficacy evidence was found for 7 (70%) of probiotic strain(s) among four preventive indications and 11 (65%) probiotic strain(s) among five treatment indications. Strain-specific efficacy for preventing adult antibiotic-associated diarrhea was clearly demonstrated within the Lactobacillus species [e.g., by the mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285, Lactobacillus casei LBC80R, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus CLR2 (Bio-K+ ®), by L. casei DN114001 (Actimel ®) and by Lactobacillus reuteri 55730], while other Lactobacillus strains did not show efficacy. Significant disease-specific variations in efficacy was demonstrated by L. rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745, as well as other probiotic strains.


          Strong evidence was found supporting the hypothesis that the efficacy of probiotics is both strain-specific and disease-specific. Clinical guidelines and meta-analyses need to recognize the importance of reporting outcomes by both specific strain(s) of probiotics and the type of disease. The clinical relevance of these findings indicates that health-care providers need to take these two factors into consideration when recommending the appropriate probiotic for their patient.

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          Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

          Probiotics are live microorganisms intended to confer a health benefit when consumed. One condition for which probiotics have been advocated is the diarrhea that is a common adverse effect of antibiotic use. To evaluate the evidence for probiotic use in the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). Twelve electronic databases were searched (DARE, Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews, CENTRAL, PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED, MANTIS, TOXLINE, ToxFILE, NTIS, and AGRICOLA) and references of included studies and reviews were screened from database inception to February 2012, without language restriction. Two independent reviewers identified parallel randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of probiotics (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, and/or Bacillus) for the prevention or treatment of AAD. Two independent reviewers extracted the data and assessed trial quality. A total of 82 RCTs met inclusion criteria. The majority used Lactobacillus-based interventions alone or in combination with other genera; strains were poorly documented. The pooled relative risk in a DerSimonian-Laird random-effects meta-analysis of 63 RCTs, which included 11 811 participants, indicated a statistically significant association of probiotic administration with reduction in AAD (relative risk, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.68; P < .001; I(2), 54%; [risk difference, -0.07; 95% CI, -0.10 to -0.05], [number needed to treat, 13; 95% CI, 10.3 to 19.1]) in trials reporting on the number of patients with AAD. This result was relatively insensitive to numerous subgroup analyses. However, there exists significant heterogeneity in pooled results and the evidence is insufficient to determine whether this association varies systematically by population, antibiotic characteristic, or probiotic preparation. The pooled evidence suggests that probiotics are associated with a reduction in AAD. More research is needed to determine which probiotics are associated with the greatest efficacy and for which patients receiving which specific antibiotics.
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            Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial.

            To determine the efficacy of a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus for the prevention of any diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use and that caused by Clostridium difficile. Randomised double blind placebo controlled study. 135 hospital patients (mean age 74) taking antibiotics. Exclusions included diarrhoea on admission, bowel pathology that could result in diarrhoea, antibiotic use in the previous four weeks, severe illness, immunosuppression, bowel surgery, artificial heart valves, and history of rheumatic heart disease or infective endocarditis. Consumption of a 100 g (97 ml) drink containing Lactobacillus casei, L bulgaricus, and Streptococcus thermophilus twice a day during a course of antibiotics and for one week after the course finished. The placebo group received a longlife sterile milkshake. occurrence of antibiotic associated diarrhoea. Secondary outcome: presence of C difficile toxin and diarrhoea. 7/57 (12%) of the probiotic group developed diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use compared with 19/56 (34%) in the placebo group (P=0.007). Logistic regression to control for other factors gave an odds ratio 0.25 (95% confidence interval 0.07 to 0.85) for use of the probiotic, with low albumin and sodium also increasing the risk of diarrhoea. The absolute risk reduction was 21.6% (6.6% to 36.6%), and the number needed to treat was 5 (3 to 15). No one in the probiotic group and 9/53 (17%) in the placebo group had diarrhoea caused by C difficile (P=0.001). The absolute risk reduction was 17% (7% to 27%), and the number needed to treat was 6 (4 to 14). Consumption of a probiotic drink containing L casei, L bulgaricus, and S thermophilus can reduce the incidence of antibiotic associated diarrhoea and C difficile associated diarrhoea. This has the potential to decrease morbidity, healthcare costs, and mortality if used routinely in patients aged over 50. National Research Register N0016106821.
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              Systematic review and meta-analysis of Saccharomyces boulardii in adult patients.

              This article reviews the evidence for efficacy and safety of Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) for various disease indications in adults based on the peer-reviewed, randomized clinical trials and pre-clinical studies from the published medical literature (Medline, Clinical Trial websites and meeting abstracts) between 1976 and 2009. For meta-analysis, only randomized, blinded controlled trials unrestricted by language were included. Pre-clinical studies, volunteer studies and uncontrolled studies were excluded from the review of efficacy and meta-analysis, but included in the systematic review. Of 31 randomized, placebo-controlled treatment arms in 27 trials (encompassing 5029 study patients), S. boulardii was found to be significantly efficacious and safe in 84% of those treatment arms. A meta-analysis found a significant therapeutic efficacy for S. boulardii in the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) (RR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.35-0.63, P < 0.001). In adults, S. boulardii can be strongly recommended for the prevention of AAD and the traveler's diarrhea. Randomized trials also support the use of this yeast probiotic for prevention of enteral nutrition-related diarrhea and reduction of Helicobacter pylori treatment-related symptoms. S. boulardii shows promise for the prevention of C. difficile disease recurrences; treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, acute adult diarrhea, Crohn's disease, giardiasis, human immunodeficiency virus-related diarrhea; but more supporting evidence is recommended for these indications. The use of S. boulardii as a therapeutic probiotic is evidence-based for both efficacy and safety for several types of diarrhea.

                Author and article information

                URI : https://frontiersin.org/people/u/461572
                URI : https://frontiersin.org/people/u/551707
                URI : https://frontiersin.org/people/u/551163
                Front Med (Lausanne)
                Front Med (Lausanne)
                Front. Med.
                Frontiers in Medicine
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                07 May 2018
                : 5
                1Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Washington Medical Center , Seattle, WA, United States
                2Department of Preventive Medicine and Center for Healthcare Studies, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University , Chicago, IL, United States
                3Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Center of Innovation of Complex Chronic Healthcare (CINCCH), Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital , Hines, IL, United States
                4RM Alden Research Laboratory, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA , Los Angeles, CA, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Miguel Cacho Teixeira, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

                Reviewed by: Takako Osaki, Kyorin University, Japan; Ruixue Huang, Central South University, China

                *Correspondence: Lynne V. McFarland, lvmcfarl@ 123456u.washington.edu

                Specialty section: This article was submitted to Infectious Diseases – Surveillance, Prevention and Treatment, a section of the journal Frontiers in Medicine

                Copyright © 2018 McFarland, Evans and Goldstein.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 79, Pages: 14, Words: 8773
                Systematic Review


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