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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2006 Mar;8(2):103-9.

Probiotics and prebiotics for gastrointestinal infections.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Wearn 247, Cleveland, OH 44106-5066, USA.


There is growing interest in and knowledge about the potential health-promoting benefits of both probiotics and prebiotics. Multiple mechanisms of action for the beneficial effect of probiotics and prebiotics have been postulated, including prevention of pathogenic bacteria growth, production of antimicrobial agents, stimulation of mucosal barrier function, and altering immunoregulation. Clinical trials support the efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of acute infectious diarrhea, the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea, and the prevention of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. Although some data support the potential benefit of probiotic therapy in traveler's diarrhea, diverticular disease, and Helicobacter pylori, the strength of this evidence is limited. This paper will review the recent literature relevant to the mechanism of action and utility of probiotics and prebiotics in the treatment of gastrointestinal infections.


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