This week on BBS: More research needed to determine if probiotics help bacterial vaginosis, almonds positively influence the microbiota and dead probiotics achieve immune benefits in cod.
Still No Hard Conclusions for Probiotic Treatment of Bacterial Vaginosis
Although many studies support the use of probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, it takes meta-studies (analysis of multiple studies together) to fully interpret the results and make hard conclusions. Researchers from China took on this task and looked at a total of 12 different studies with a total of 1304 patients. They found that while the cumulative studies showed that probiotics could help the cure rate, there still weren’t enough quality studies to make hard conclusions. They suggest that new random controlled trials are needed to fully evaluate the contribution of probiotics on bacterial vaginosis.
Almonds Influence the Microbiota
To support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, it is useful to ingest prebiotics. Many types of foods contain prebiotics, and the newest candidate to make the list is almonds. Researchers from Fuzhou University in China looked the effects of almonds on microbiota composition of human volunteers. They found that almonds caused beneficial increases in Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. They also saw reductions in the populations of harmful, Costridium perfringens, species. The nuts also changed bacterial enzyme production. The scientists suspect that almonds contain prebiotic substances.
Dead Probiotics Modulate Immunity in Cod
Probiotic use in aquaculture could improve the health of cultured fish. Scientists from the University of Nordland in Norway investigated if heat-killed probiotics could be just as effective as live ones in stimulating immune reactions in cod intestines. They found that both live and dead probiotics could similarly activate immune cells. However, only live probiotics induced molecules called chemokines that are needed to attract other immune cells. Despite this difference, the results suggest that bacterial vitality may not always be required to reap positive benefits from probiotics in the cod.
- Liu Z, Lin X, Huang G, Zhang W, Rao P, Ni L. Prebiotic effects of almonds and almond skins on intestinal microbiota in healthy adult humans. Anaerobe 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
- Lazado CC, Caipang CM. Bacterial viability differentially influences the immunomodulatory capabilities of potential host-derived probiotics in the intestinal epithelial cells of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. J Appl Microbiol 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
- Huang H, Song L, Zhao W. Effects of probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in adult women: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Arch Gynecol Obstet 2013. [Epub ahead of print]