New meta-analysis: 2 vital factors determine quality of probiotics

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis by McFarland et al. found strong evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficacy of probiotics is strain-specific as well as disease-specific.

Multispecies probiotics

For more than 25 years now, Winclove has fostered the concept of multispecies indication specific probiotic formulations. Moreover, our formulations not only contain multiple strains, the strains are also carefully selected from our large strain collection to target specific indications. However, only recently scientific research confirmed this concept that not all probiotics are equally effective. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis by McFarland et al. found strong evidence supporting the hypothesis that the efficacy of probiotics is strain-specific as well as disease-specific.

Strain-specificity and disease-specificity

This review is the first paper that looks what strains are used for which disease (i.e. indications), because the authors assumed that a specific probiotic type or formulation which is effective for one disease or indication may not be effective for another. They call this the strain-specificity and disease-specificity of probiotics. It means that probiotic bacteria have different capacities (such as stimulating different kinds of cytokines, producing short chain fatty acids or bacteriocins etc.) and therefore, depending on their capacities, are useful for different indications. McFarland argues that strain-specificity and disease-specificity is broadly ignored in scientific research. Until recently, different types of probiotics were often lumped together (which is called ‘pooling ‘ in statistical jargon), resulting in misleading conclusions regarding the efficacy of probiotics.

What they did & found

To find out if probiotics are indeed strain- and disease specific, McFarland and colleagues performed a systematic literature review of scientific articles published from 1970 to 2017. According to specific and strict criteria, studies were included in their meta-analyses. They aimed their research at 8 diseases and divided the studies in ‘treatment trials’ (studies aimed at reduction of clinical symptoms) and ‘prevention trials’ (aimed at reduction of the incidence of disease). Furthermore, they looked at single strains and mixtures of strains. From the 2,366 studies they started with, only 288 studies were included. After analyzing these 288 studies, they concluded that there is strong evidence that the efficacy of probiotics is both strain-specific and disease-specific.

Winclove ahead of its time

Long before this meta-analysis was published, Winclove already based its formulations on these same principles. The Ecologic® inside formulations are supported by pre-clinical and clinical studies, whereas the Winclove and tailor-made formulations are based on pre-clinical data. For more information about our formulations and strains contact: Sales Department.

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Reference

McFarland LV, Evans CT, Goldstein EJC. Strain-Specificity and Disease-Specificity of Probiotic Efficacy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Front Med (Lausanne). 2018 May 7;5:124. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2018.00124.