Probiotics Reduce Inflammation – Scientific Proof

Irrefutable scientific evidence has just shown that probiotics reduce inflammation.  Let’s discuss why this is, what types of probiotics were studied, and what this means for improving your health.

If you need help with probiotics, click here.

Evidence for Probiotics Reducing Inflamation

Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi, this is Dr. Ruscio. Let’s talk about probiotics and inflammation. You hear a lot of claims about probiotics. Some are true. Some are not true.

What’s nice about a recent study that was published is it gives us very high level scientific proof that probiotics do, in fact, help reduce inflammation, specifically an inflammatory marker known as C-reactive protein.

Now, I’ll put this study abstract up here on the screen. This study was what’s known as a systematic review with meta-analysis. What this means is a group of researchers looked to purview all the studies on probiotics and inflammation and come up with a summary of what all the scientific evidence shows.

So a systematic review with meta-analysis is like a summary of all the scientific data. So it’s a great way not to be misled. You can find one study showing something good, another study showing something bad. That isn’t necessarily super helpful. But when you look at all the studies, now you get a good gauge as to what the majority of the data shows.

So in this study, 20 clinical trials were summarized, and it was found that probiotics do, in fact, lower inflammation, specifically this inflammatory marker C-reactive protein.

Now, what else is very interesting is that it wasn’t necessarily one probiotic in particular, because, of these 20 different studies, the probiotic used in each study wasn’t the same. So it seems as a general class, probiotics tend to have an ability to reduce inflammation. So that’s a very important, very encouraging finding.

And I’ll just quote the conclusion from the researchers here. “This meta-analysis suggests that probiotic administration may significantly reduce serum C-reactive protein.” Again, C-reactive protein being a marker of inflammation that your doctor can easily run as a blood test.

So why is it that probiotics can reduce inflammation? Well, a few thoughts. The gut is a very common source of inflammation. And probiotics have been shown to help heal the gut, and therefore they can help reduce inflammation—point one.

Point two—your immune system is a major contributor to inflammation. In fact, the way your immune system acts to kill stuff that shouldn’t be there is through inflammation. You can think of your immune cells as having these little inflammatory guns, and what the immune cells use to kill things that shouldn’t be there is actually inflammation.

So when there are problems in the immune system or when the immune system is maladjusted or overzealous or what have you, the immune system can cause lots of inflammation.

We see this in things like food allergy. When people are reacting to foods that they shouldn’t, the immune system is inadvertently or inappropriately attacking food, and that causes inflammation.

Now, probiotics have been shown to help with the health of the gut, where the highest density of immune cells reside. So if the immune cells are a major source of inflammation, and the highest density of immune cells in the body resides in the intestines and probiotics help heal the intestines, it’s not illogical, or not a stretch, to see a mechanism here where, by probiotics helping to heal the gut and improve the immune system in the gut, we can have a great ability of decreasing the inflammation burden in one’s body.

Now, the other part of this that’s noteworthy is that probiotics may help to reduce unhealthy bacteria and fungus in the gut. And if we’ve talked about the gut as being a major source of inflammation—partially because of the immune system acting in the gut—if you have an unhealthy bacteria or fungus in your intestines, then that is going to cause inflammation, of course. And your immune system is going to be part of what makes that inflammation.

Now, if probiotics can help reduce these unhealthy bacteria or fungus, we can reduce inflammation, because we’re getting rid of this unhealthy bacteria or fungus that’s causing inflammation, that’s causing your immune system to chronically react.

So for all these reasons—through healing the gut, through balancing the immune system, and through getting rid of unhealthy or unwanted bacteria and fungus—are a few of the major reasons why it’s likely this study that reviewed all the data on probiotics and inflammation has shown that, yes, probiotics do, in fact, help to decrease inflammation.

So what does this mean? What should you do? Well, it comes back to something I say quite often, which is, “Start with the gut.” If you’re not feeling well, one of the best bangs for your buck, if you will, in terms of health interventions that can help reduce or eliminate the most amount of symptoms the most quickly is starting with having a thorough investigation of and optimizing the health of your gut.

Probiotic Supplement Protocol*

Click on the supplement names for more information.

Name Dose Times Per Day With Food Notes
Lacto-Bifido Probiotic Blend 1/4 teaspoon 1-2 No Try to take away from anti-microbials if possible, if you are on them
Saccharomyces Boulardii 1-2 pills 1-2 No Try to take away from anti-microbials if possible, if you are on them
Soil-Based Probiotic 1-2 pills 1-2 Yes Try to take away from anti-microbials if possible

*Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. You should consult with your doctor before using any of these products.

So if you start with the gut, you can help decrease inflammation, get rid of these unwanted bacteria, balance your immune system, and what have you.

Now, there are many ways that you can start with the gut. But for someone who is listening to this, if you’re not sure where to start, starting with the gut is an excellent bet.

So again, very high level scientific data, systematic review with meta-analysis of 20 clinical trials has shown that probiotics do, in fact, help to decrease inflammation.

So this is Dr. Ruscio, and I hope this helps you get healthy and get back to your life. Thanks!


If you need help with probiotics, click here.

What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.

Dr. Ruscio is your leading functional and integrative doctor specializing in gut related disorders such as SIBO, leaky gut, Celiac, IBS and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office. Serving the San Francisco bay area and distance patients via phone and Skype.

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

46 thoughts on “Probiotics Reduce Inflammation – Scientific Proof

  1. Hi Dr Ruscio

    Thanks for the useful information. I found out that I have low levels of blastocystis homminis amd yeast in my stool (could not be cultured). i also feel i may have SIBO and SIFO and seem to be deficient in beneficial flora. I have been taking high potency bifido strains for a year and while they help with bowel movements they are not correcting the underlying problem. I am considering taking 3 days of Alinia followed by 30 days of antiparasitic herbals (Dr Sandberg-Lewis recommended this in something he posted online). do you feel this would help or can Alinia cause more problems? I very much appreciate your insight.

    All the best

    Jason

    1. Hi Jason,
      Glad this was helpful. I can’t make specific clinical recommendations via the comments section. Both interventions you listed can be helpful but can also cause side effects. The context is what matters most. I would defer to the input of your doctor/clinical in this 🙂

      1. Thanks. maybe you shouldnt respond in your comments section if you are unable to offer any useful feedback. I wasnt asking for clinical advice just ideas based on your experiences. As another poster indicated below the cost of care is absurd and many people still dont have the answers they need. The internet is saturated with self proclaimed “health coaches” and people claiming to cure all of these problems and seldom do they come through and more often than not they lack experience necessary to work with patients.. In many ways the natural health industry is becoming worse than traditional western medicine and everyone thinks they can become wealthy by making empty promises to desperate people searching for help. I refuse to be anyones cash cow and am hopeful I will find the right person to help me who is more concerned with my health rather than the bottom line.

        1. Jason,

          Dr. Ruscio is doing us all a service here and him responding at all is awesome! Like, I don’t know if you know how awesome that is, but it is, trust me. Just be careful what you wish for here.

          I know you’re looking for specific advice, so I think if you can find a way to word your question better, there’s a better chance you’ll get the answer you’re looking for in an indirect way.

          It’s a legal issue man!

          -Mike in NYC

          1. thanks- im just beyond frustrated. and i would happily put in writing that I expect no medical advice. legal ramificantions can easily be avoided if things are phrased appropriately

          2. Hey Jason,
            Sorry to hear of your frustration, I know is sucks not feeling well. I offer as much as I can here but can’t do it all. Hope you find relief soon.

    2. Hi Jason. I wrote a longer general response that may be helpful for you. I’m not sure it will get posted. You can ask Dr. Ruscio’s office for the comment or email me at [email protected].
      God bless, Jason.

    3. Dear Jason, I suffered for almost two years with severe abdominal pain and symptoms indicating leaky gut. I had many food sensitivities and lost alot of weight. I went to 14 traditional doctors with no help. I then found a wonderful Integrative/Functional Dr. who through various testing found out I had B hominus.. I went on 3 days of Alinia with some improvement. The following month was put on 5 days of Alinia with greater relief. The next month I hit the Medicare gap and the medicine was cost prohibited. My Dr tried Flagyl which didn’t help. The fourth month I was able to get the Alinia again and took it for 10 days. All of my abdominal pain has abated!!! Good luck. Hope my personal story helps you., Linda

  2. Hi Dr Ruscio

    Thanks for the useful information. I found out that I have low levels of blastocystis homminis amd yeast in my stool (could not be cultured). i also feel i may have SIBO and SIFO and seem to be deficient in beneficial flora. I have been taking high potency bifido strains for a year and while they help with bowel movements they are not correcting the underlying problem. I am considering taking 3 days of Alinia followed by 30 days of antiparasitic herbals (Dr Sandberg-Lewis recommended this in something he posted online). do you feel this would help or can Alinia cause more problems? I very much appreciate your insight.

    All the best

    Jason

    1. Hi Jason,
      Glad this was helpful. I can’t make specific clinical recommendations via the comments section. Both interventions you listed can be helpful but can also cause side effects. The context is what matters most. I would defer to the input of your doctor/clinical in this 🙂

      1. Thanks. maybe you shouldnt respond in your comments section if you are unable to offer any useful feedback. I wasnt asking for clinical advice just ideas based on your experiences. As another poster indicated below the cost of care is absurd and many people still dont have the answers they need. The internet is saturated with self proclaimed “health coaches” and people claiming to cure all of these problems and seldom do they come through and more often than not they lack experience necessary to work with patients.. In many ways the natural health industry is becoming worse than traditional western medicine and everyone thinks they can become wealthy by making empty promises to desperate people searching for help. I refuse to be anyones cash cow and am hopeful I will find the right person to help me who is more concerned with my health rather than the bottom line.

        1. Jason,

          Dr. Ruscio is doing us all a service here and him responding at all is awesome! Like, I don’t know if you know how awesome that is, but it is, trust me. Just be careful what you wish for here.

          I know you’re looking for specific advice, so I think if you can find a way to word your question better, there’s a better chance you’ll get the answer you’re looking for in an indirect way.

          It’s a legal issue man!

          -Mike in NYC

          1. thanks- im just beyond frustrated. and i would happily put in writing that I expect no medical advice. legal ramificantions can easily be avoided if things are phrased appropriately

          2. Hey Jason,
            Sorry to hear of your frustration, I know is sucks not feeling well. I offer as much as I can here but can’t do it all. Hope you find relief soon.

    2. Hi Jason. I wrote a longer general response that may be helpful for you. I’m not sure it will get posted. You can ask Dr. Ruscio’s office for the comment or email me at [email protected].
      God bless, Jason.

    3. Dear Jason, I suffered for almost two years with severe abdominal pain and symptoms indicating leaky gut. I had many food sensitivities and lost alot of weight. I went to 14 traditional doctors with no help. I then found a wonderful Integrative/Functional Dr. who through various testing found out I had B hominus.. I went on 3 days of Alinia with some improvement. The following month was put on 5 days of Alinia with greater relief. The next month I hit the Medicare gap and the medicine was cost prohibited. My Dr tried Flagyl which didn’t help. The fourth month I was able to get the Alinia again and took it for 10 days. All of my abdominal pain has abated!!! Good luck. Hope my personal story helps you., Linda

  3. The information you provide is always so interesting. In the Probiotic Supplement Protocol table, the notes section says “Try to take away from anti-microbials if possible, if you are on them”. Can you explain what that means? Thank you so much!

    1. There are antivirals one can take to help did of bacteria, fungus,sibo etc in our guts.i did so for 8 months and it seemed to work. Took my probiotics too

    2. Hi Lindsey,
      Thanks! It means try not to take at the same time as antibiotics or herbal antibiotics, separate the dose by a few hours. It’s not that important though 🙂

  4. Thanks for the article, Dr. Ruscio. When our pediatrician recommended doubling our daughter’s probiotics for Crohn’s, we were excited to see a visible improvement in her energy. She has been taking a VSL#3 capsule each day (112 bil units) ever since.

    After reading the paper you linked, I wonder what they mean by lower dose vs. higher dose. How many units would that be per day?

    Also, I wonder if there is any benefit to rotating brands or strains instead of taking the exact same thing all of the time?
    Thanks for this topic!

    1. Hi Gd,
      Glad to hear the probiotics helped. The dose varies from study to study so there is no short answer, but good news it is means dose isn’t crucial. On rotating… good question. We don’t really know but my thinking is a low level of semi-continuous exposure might be best.
      My pleasure!

  5. Thanks for posting this interesting summary. However, it is a shame there is no mention of SIBO here, given that you treat many patients with SIBO. Is there any update on the prevailing evidence whether probiotics should be taken whilst trying to get rid of SIBO?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      In terms of the study – it was only examining inflammation. In terms of my comments – I did mention that ” probiotics may help to reduce unhealthy bacteria and fungus in the gut.” I didn’t mention SIBO by name but its implied 🙂
      Yes – in my opinion they absolutely should, which the evidence supports.
      Thanks for your input. Hope you are well.

  6. The information you provide is always so interesting. In the Probiotic Supplement Protocol table, the notes section says “Try to take away from anti-microbials if possible, if you are on them”. Can you explain what that means? Thank you so much!

    1. There are antivirals one can take to help did of bacteria, fungus,sibo etc in our guts.i did so for 8 months and it seemed to work. Took my probiotics too

    2. Hi Lindsey,
      Thanks! It means try not to take at the same time as antibiotics or herbal antibiotics, separate the dose by a few hours. It’s not that important though 🙂

  7. Thanks for the article, Dr. Ruscio. When our pediatrician recommended doubling our daughter’s probiotics for Crohn’s, we were excited to see a visible improvement in her energy. She has been taking a VSL#3 capsule each day (112 bil units) ever since.

    After reading the paper you linked, I wonder what they mean by lower dose vs. higher dose. How many units would that be per day?

    Also, I wonder if there is any benefit to rotating brands or strains instead of taking the exact same thing all of the time?
    Thanks for this topic!

    1. Hi Gd,
      Glad to hear the probiotics helped. The dose varies from study to study so there is no short answer, but good news it is means dose isn’t crucial. On rotating… good question. We don’t really know but my thinking is a low level of semi-continuous exposure might be best.
      My pleasure!

  8. Thanks for posting this interesting summary. However, it is a shame there is no mention of SIBO here, given that you treat many patients with SIBO. Is there any update on the prevailing evidence whether probiotics should be taken whilst trying to get rid of SIBO?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      In terms of the study – it was only examining inflammation. In terms of my comments – I did mention that ” probiotics may help to reduce unhealthy bacteria and fungus in the gut.” I didn’t mention SIBO by name but its implied 🙂
      Yes – in my opinion they absolutely should, which the evidence supports.
      Thanks for your input. Hope you are well.

  9. Dr. Ruscio,

    Thank you for this helpful video. I have told that I have Seborrheic Dermatitis, as well as mild Rosacea, by my Dermatologist, and I trying to find a way to reduce inflammation and found your video. I am having a hard to trying to figure out exactly what I have as last year it did seem like in November about this time I had SD and successfully got rid of it with coconut oil, but still had redness apart from the SD, which a PDL laser reduced to such a great amount that my Rosacea was barely noticeable. So my face was pretty clear for the entire year. Now again, this same time of the year, my face is red after breaking out with SD again, so wondering if it is the winter weather or just a return of things. To add to the insult, the laser this year did not seem to reduce my Rosacea as much as it did last year, and my face (each side of nose) is red so much that I can’t leave the house. I think I may have broke out with Contact Dermatitis (not sure as I can’t tell difference between anything) from Miravaso (this gets rid of all the red completely), but after its use this year it seems to be causing a negative reaction; however, I have been using 2% hydrocortisone, which is reducing the redness over the last couple days, but not sure where I will be in the next few day, I fear the red will not completely go away. So I’m looking for alternative solutions. Kinda stuck here in bed with and not sure what to do. Is there a way to have my gut tested to see if I can benefit from probiotics? What would be the name of such a test? What would you do if you were in this situation? Thanks a lot for your website. Would be most grateful for any guidance.

    1. Hi Tony,

      So sorry to hear you’re dealing with this, I know how frustrating it can be. We can’t give medical advice or recommendations in the comment section, but I would suggest picking up a copy of Dr Ruscio’s book, “Healthy Gut, Healthy You”, because it walks through a DIY protocol to improve gut health, which will often improve skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, etc. You can find it here: https://www.drruscio.com/getgutbook

      As far as the probiotics go, there’s no test, the best thing would just be to try them and see how it goes (though again, I’d recommend the book because it lays out a specific protocol that includes probiotics).

      Good luck!

  10. Dr. Ruscio,

    Thank you for this helpful video. I have told that I have Seborrheic Dermatitis, as well as mild Rosacea, by my Dermatologist, and I trying to find a way to reduce inflammation and found your video. I am having a hard to trying to figure out exactly what I have as last year it did seem like in November about this time I had SD and successfully got rid of it with coconut oil, but still had redness apart from the SD, which a PDL laser reduced to such a great amount that my Rosacea was barely noticeable. So my face was pretty clear for the entire year. Now again, this same time of the year, my face is red after breaking out with SD again, so wondering if it is the winter weather or just a return of things. To add to the insult, the laser this year did not seem to reduce my Rosacea as much as it did last year, and my face (each side of nose) is red so much that I can’t leave the house. I think I may have broke out with Contact Dermatitis (not sure as I can’t tell difference between anything) from Miravaso (this gets rid of all the red completely), but after its use this year it seems to be causing a negative reaction; however, I have been using 2% hydrocortisone, which is reducing the redness over the last couple days, but not sure where I will be in the next few day, I fear the red will not completely go away. So I’m looking for alternative solutions. Kinda stuck here in bed with and not sure what to do. Is there a way to have my gut tested to see if I can benefit from probiotics? What would be the name of such a test? What would you do if you were in this situation? Thanks a lot for your website. Would be most grateful for any guidance.

    1. Hi Tony,

      So sorry to hear you’re dealing with this, I know how frustrating it can be. We can’t give medical advice or recommendations in the comment section, but I would suggest picking up a copy of Dr Ruscio’s book, “Healthy Gut, Healthy You”, because it walks through a DIY protocol to improve gut health, which will often improve skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, etc. You can find it here: https://www.drruscio.com/getgutbook

      As far as the probiotics go, there’s no test, the best thing would just be to try them and see how it goes (though again, I’d recommend the book because it lays out a specific protocol that includes probiotics).

      Good luck!

    1. Hi Amal,

      I don’t know that there’s a specific probiotic designed to do that. I think you’ll likely need to figure out the underlying cause of the inflammation (thyroid issues, allergies, stye, etc). Definitely something to chat about with your doctor. Good luck!

    1. Hi Amal,

      I don’t know that there’s a specific probiotic designed to do that. I think you’ll likely need to figure out the underlying cause of the inflammation (thyroid issues, allergies, stye, etc). Definitely something to chat about with your doctor. Good luck!

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