How do we know if probiotics are safe if studies don’t report risks?

yogurt strawberries bowl x header
Image: Healthline

As consumer interest grows in probiotics and other supplements that claim to regulate gut microbes, experts are posing a critical question: Are they safe?

Probiotics are increasingly popular, from Greek yogurt and kombucha to pills chock-full of bacteria in the supplement section of the grocery store. But a new analysis published [July 16] in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that many studies of probiotics and similar products fail to adequately report on safety and adverse events. And without that information, the authors say, it’s impossible to broadly conclude whether the products are safe.

The study looked at how often those downsides were studied in 384 randomized, controlled trials of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics.

The study’s authors found that 37 percent of trials didn’t report safety results and 28 percent didn’t report harms-related data.

Related article:  Can virtual reality treat depression symptoms through 'pleasant scenarios'?

Reporting of serious adverse events was even less common: 80 percent of the trials didn’t report the number of serious problems that cropped up during the study. And almost none of the studies included a definition of adverse events or serious adverse events.

“We can’t say if the probiotics are safe or not, because we don’t have the data,” said Aida Bafeta, one of the study’s authors and an epidemiologist at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine in Lausanne.

Read full, original post: Probiotics studies often don’t disclose safety data or risks, report finds

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend