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Probiotics: If you don’t just just poop them out, they may muck up your guts – ANITH
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Probiotics: If you don’t just just poop them out, they may muck up your guts

Probiotics: If you don’t just just poop them out, they may muck up your guts

Enlarge / Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. casei cultured from a commercial probiotic food gel sold in health food stores. (credit: Getty | Scimat)

There’s a pungent cloud of hype and hope around probiotics—and researchers have long tried to clear the air about what the bowel-blasting products can ( and mostly can’t) do. Now, a new set of studies offers a gut-check on funky claims, ripping current probiotics as likely ineffective at boosting health and potentially even causing harm.

In the two studies, both published this week in the journal Cell, Israeli researchers report that bacteria taken in supplements, aka probiotics, often have little impact on healthy people’s innards and, at worst, can elbow out native populations of microbes.

In the first study, the researchers found that healthy microbial populations in people’s plumbing tends to flush out the newcomers. Thus, the microbial interlopers from supplements have little impact on resident microbiomes—and, by extension, consumers’ health—and are largely just pooped out.

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Anith Gopal
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