The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Probiotics are live, nonpathogenic microorganisms (usually bacteria or yeasts) that have been used for centuries for their potential health benefits. They are currently marketed for prevention and treatment of a variety of disorders, including diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

MECHANISM OF ACTION — Several mechanisms of action have been proposed to explain how probiotics could have beneficial effects. Acetic, lactic and propionic acid produced by Lactobacillus can lower intestinal pH and inhibit growth of pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Clostridium spp. The presence of probiotics in the intestinal tract may physically or chemically prevent adhesion and colonization of pathogenic bacteria. They may also induce or enhance immune responses.1 Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a yeast, has been shown to inhibit ... more      

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