Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
A 2022 research paper titled “The Use of Probiotic Therapy in Metabolic and Neurological Diseases,” published in Frontiers in Nutrition, highlights that probiotics may be used in the treatment of metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes as well as in neurological diseases like autistic spectrum disorder, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to the role of probiotics in metabolic and neurological diseases, the paper presents vital insights about probiotic therapy, including myth-breakers.
Role Of Probiotic Therapy In Metabolic Diseases
The study highlights that probiotics offer a major hope in the treatment of obesity. Probiotics may act in obese people by modulating the gut microbiota strains as well as gastrointestinal and immune systems. They may also lower insulin resistance and induce satiety. Especially, probiotics containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can be useful in obesity treatment, as has been shown in some studies.
In diabetes, probiotic intake, particularly Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, can improve intestinal integrity, reduce lipopolysaccharide level and endoplasmic reticulum stress, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Role Of Probiotic Therapy In Neurological Diseases
The study highlighted that probiotics are very likely to have a role in the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders, but the perfect probiotic for autistic spectrum disorder is yet to be defined. Similarly, their role is being studied in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease as well.
As opposed to the studies for metabolic diseases, the general tendency in these studies of probiotics in neurological diseases is to use a mixture of probiotic strains. The authors suggest that it would still take some more time and larger studies to develop efficacious treatment regimens for neurological diseases.
Authors’ Views About Probiotic Therapy
The authors of this paper clarify many important details about probiotic therapy. For instance, they advocate that probiotics should be viewed as add-on therapies and not replacements for conventional therapies.
Also, this paper examines the different underlying mechanisms of different probiotic strains. The authors highlight that “not all probiotic supplements are equal.” So, it is vital that the correct strain (as per the clinical evidence) is used to treat a particular disease.
This paper also recommends that along with the guidance from clinical studies, the selection of probiotics can be personalized based on the genetics, diet, immunity, physical activity, and diseases of a person.
Interestingly, different probiotic strains produce different metabolites, which are intermediary molecules that can stimulate our body systems, including the immune system and nervous system. The authors note that these metabolites can also be separately developed as treatments for diseases.
Moreover, the authors point out that probiotics can be developed as individual therapies as well as combination therapies. This can also go a long way in further personalizing the use of probiotic therapies.
The study concluded that more research is needed to develop probiotic therapy for metabolic and neurological diseases. Yet the study confers hope to patients with these diseases.
Lee, S., Ahmad, S. R., Lim, Y. C., & Zulkipli, I. N. (2022). The Use of Probiotic Therapy in Metabolic and Neurological Diseases. Frontiers in nutrition, 9, 887019. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.887019