- Research conducted at the University of Copenhagen finds little evidence that probiotics alter microbiota in healthy adults. The findings were published in Genome Medicine, an online journal.
- The researchers conducted seven trials of products with probiotics, which ranged from 21 people to 81 people.
- They stated the real impact of the probiotics may have been hidden by the small sample sizes, as well as different bacteria strains and diet changes, according to The Guardian.
The study joins recent research questioning the validity of food and supplement manufacturers’ claims that probiotics offer health benefits. Critics state stomach acids destroy the active bacteria prior to hitting the intestines, according to Fortune.
In a statement responding to this new study’s findings, the International Probiotics Association stated: "In their meta-analysis, the researchers conclude that probiotics do not alter the microbiota in healthy adults. The study does, however, not address the question of whether probiotics have a health benefit or not."
An excerpt from a statement issued by Professor Glenn Gibson of the University of Reading reads: "Of course not all products marketed as probiotics may exert benefits but the science does come through for the best strains."
While manufacturers should take notice of such studies, it doesn’t appear they are hampering sales. Fortune reported that sales of probiotics are expected to rise 15% this year, up from an estimated $1.3 billion market. It will be important for the industry to consider this research in product development and marketing to address concerns if they arise.