17 January 2013

Research Suggest Beneficial Effect of Probiotic Therapy for HIV Patients

Researchers demonstrate that probiotics can be useful in treating HIV.

Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics. Antibiotics fight bacterial infections by killing bacteria or inhibit their growth in the body. Probiotics are good bacteria that help in body functions and protect the body from harmful bacteria.

The most common use for probiotics are related to the digestive system. Although there are studies that probiotics can also be applied to therapies for diabetes, cancer, alleriges, anemia, and even cavities.

Some food that are commonly consumed that contains probiotics are yogurt, onions, garlic, sauerkraut, buttermilk and kimchi (a korean dish). There are also probiotic supplements available.

Probiotics are marketed depending on its bacterial strain. Bacillus coagulans and Lactobacillus plantarum are probiotics that are used by people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis strain are used for gastrointestinal conditions while probiotics containing Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis are for abdominal pain.

As stated on the embedded BBC video, on the average, the effects of probiotics are positive. But the effect of probiotics change from person to person. Most get the beneficial effect of it while others experience the complete opposite.

Probiotic Therapy and HIV

Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are the first line therapy for patients with HIV; however, ARV-treated, HIV-infected individuals still have a higher mortality rate than uninfected individuals. During the course of infection, HIV patients develop inflammation that damages the walls of the intestines, known as the gut mucosa, allowing intestinal microbes to escape and enter the blood stream to cause a life-threatening systemic infection. The health of the gut mucosa is significantly influenced by the complement of bacteria in the gut and there is mounting evidence that probiotic supplements benefit patients intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, C. difficile infection, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Video: Probiotics

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Jason Brenchley at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, demonstrated that probiotic supplementation may also be beneficial for ARV-treated HIV patients. Brenchley and colleagues treated SIV-infected macaques (a model of human HIV-infection) with either ARV alone or ARV in combination with a mixture of probiotics. Macaques treated with probiotics had enhanced gastrointestinal immune function and decreased inflammation compared to macaques treated with ARV alone. In a companion article, Judith Aberg and colleagues at New York University School of Medicine discuss how these findings could benefit HIV patients.


Journal of Clinical Investigation
Probiotic/prebiotic supplementation of antiretrovirals improves gastrointestinal immunity in SIV-infected macaques
Clash of the microbes: let’s bring back the good guys
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
New York University School of Medicine
Research Show Relationship Between Intestinal Bacteria and Type 2 Diabetes
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