We have all seen the commercials and advertisements for “probiotics” to improve our health and treat
diseases, such as diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and even cancers and obesity. Web-based
testimonials and claims of “scientific” reports have built probiotic consumption into a multi-billion dollar
industry in the U.S. and other westernized countries. But are these products really supplying us with any
measurable health benefit? What do the scientists have to say, based on their research?
Completing this activity will assist you in mastering Module Level Outcomes 1 and 2.
Be sure you have read these materials:
•Wood, M. (2014) Do Probiotics Work? (Links to an external site.) Science Life, University of Chicago,
Medicine and Biological Sciences
•Probiotics Pros and Cons (Links to an external site.), Berkeley Wellness, University of California, 2014
•Probiotics: In Depth (Links to an external site.), National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine
•Christensen, N. B., Byrup, T., Allin, K. H., Nielsen, T., Hansen, T. H., & Pedersen, O. (2016). Alterations in
fecal microbiota composition by probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: A systematic review of
randomized controlled trials (Links to an external site.). Genome Medicine, V8, Issue 52.
oYou are required to read the Abstract, which includes abbreviated
Background/Methods/Results/Conclusions, but you also might want to look over the full-length
Background and Conclusion sections.
Recall from Module 1:
•Achenbach, J. (2015). National Geographic, V227. Achenbach, J. (2015, 03). The age of disbelief (Links
to an external site.). National Geographic, 227, 31-32, 34-37, 39-42, 44-47.
In this Module 1 reading by Joel Achenbach, recall that we learned about:
•“Confirmation bias”: when we tend to select for information that supports our currently held beliefs
•Pressure from advertising that indicates our “tribe” believes this and does this, so we should believe and
do this, as well
•The tendency to have a strong attachment to anecdotes instead of research results based on statistics
that may seem counter-intuitive.
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