There is certainly an abundance of talk, these days, about probiotics. One can hear anything from probiotics can control Inflammatory Bowel Disease to prevention of disease in newborns to overall improvement in health due to a boosted immune system. However, much of it was speculation, until now.
A study released yesterday in The Journal of Leukocyte Biology concentrated on the link between celiac disease and probiotics. In short, the study tried to simulate the environment of an actively ill celiac patient’s intestine which included certain types of harmful bacteria (ie. gram negative bacteria). Beneficial bacteria (ie probiotics) were then introduced. In this study, the probiotic used was bifidobacteria. The harmful bacteria, alone, produced a large amount of inflammatory mediators called cytokines. These cytokines, in turn, “revved” up the cells that cause the most inflammation in celiac disease. Once the bifidobacteria was introduced, an extreme anti-inflammatory effect was seen. The authors of the study were so optimistic about the findings, they stated that this “evidence could be the first step toward changing how celiac disease is treated and possibly prevented”.
This is real concrete evidence in favor of the use of probiotics in celiac patients. There are further theories that probiotics can alleviate symptoms in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and IBD ( both Crohn’s and UC). I will look forward to more studies and more positive findings in the future. But, for the meantime, my suggestion to all celiac patients would be to start a probiotic and help to build up healthy bacteria in the gut. You might find that you feel better.
To read more about the study, you can visit http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100429102818.htm.