BioGaia comment on article in BBC Future

In the article ”Is it worth taking probiotics after antibiotics?” in BBC Future 22 January 2019 the two studies by Zmora et al and Suez et al. are once again discussed.

Comment on article in BBC Future covering the earlier published studies by Zmora et al. and Suez et al. 2018

Once again, the two publications are interpreted as “probiotics are almost useless”. In this BBC Future article Dr. Elinav, co-author of both studies, is interviewed and claims:

“This opens the door to developing personalized probiotic treatments based on someone’s genetic profile. Such a system is “realistic and could be developed relatively soon”, says Elinav, but at this stage it remains a proof of concept. To become a reality, it will need more research on probiotic tailoring and testing more bacterial strains in larger groups of people.”

Our concern with this article is the lack of objectivity. Dr. Elinav and Dr. Segal, co-authors of the publications by Zmora and Suez, are both involved in a company working with commercial products in the area of personalized nutrition.

The two studies discussed in the BBC article are done on a multi-strain probiotic product containing 11 different probiotics, none of them are of the Lactobacillus reuteri species and none of them are defined on strain level.

A probiotic needs to be defined on strain level and what is true for one probiotic bacteria cannot be extrapolated to all other probiotics. Efficacy and safety of a probiotic has to be determined on strain level.

In the article the quality of multi-strain products claiming to contain probiotics bought off the shelf is questioned which is reasonable, but it is important to notice that no conclusions can be drawn concerning the efficacy of BioGaia’s probiotic strains of the L. reuteri species.

Clinical benefits of reduced antibiotic associated side-effects have been shown in numerous clinical treatment studies with L. reuteri Protectis in combination with antibiotic treatment1-4. Among other things the studies have shown:

  • Significantly reduced incidence of diarrhea
  • Reduced abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, constipation and regurgitation

For other comments on the publications see:

More information regarding BioGaia’s probiotic strains of L. reuteri are available at biogaia/clinical studies.



Cimperman et al. 2011. 2. Francavilla et al. 2008. 3. Linetti et al. 2006. 4.Ojetti et al. 2012