Intended for healthcare professionals


“Probiotic” remedies are not what they seem

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 06 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:55
  1. J M T Hamilton-Miller,
  2. Saroj Shah,
  3. Craig T Smith
  1. Professor Senior medical laboratory scientific officer Technician Department of Medical Microbiology, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London NW3 2QG

    EDITOR,—“Probiotics,” usually called “acidophilus,” are claimed to contain “friendly” intestinal lactic bacteria, regular consumption of which confers health benefits.1 As a previous report showed that dietary products sold in the United States as containing Lactobacillus acidophilus either contained no viable lactobacilli or contained organisms other than L acidophilus,2 we investigated the microbiological content of 13 brands of probiotics bought over the counter in Britain.

    The preparations were cultured for lactobacilli on MRS agar (Unipath, Basingstoke, Hampshire), for enterococci on …

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