Now that I'm off antibiotics it's time for probiotics. Considering that there are around 500 species of bacteria in our guts, it's worth noting that in the future we shouldn't question probiotic therapy, but should question which species to use.
The future of probiotic therapy may be in studies for selection of "disease-specific strains" that can be used in treatment in diseases such as Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis and even liver diseases (1). We also mustn't forget research into how certain prebiotics stimulate the ecology and growth of individual strains, a science some scientists are now calling "synbiotics" (2).
My outlook is a world of understanding our little friends the bacteria and living a full life enjoying wonderful food without fear of the aches and pains that come with gas, constipation and diarrhea.
1. Jonkers D, Stockbrugger R. Review article: Probiotics in gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2007;26 Suppl 2:133-48.
2. de VM, Schrezenmeir J. Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics. Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol 2008;111:1-66.