Probiotics ease gut problems in people with HIV/AIDS


Yet another study and benefit on the use of probiotic cultures has emerged. This time the study focuses on the positive results derived from the use of probiotics by those who suffer from HIV/AIDS.

The study (a joint project by African and Canadian researchers) suggests that taking gut-friendly bacteria may ease suffering from diarrhoea and nausea.

Twenty four participants (from the sub-Saharan region of Africa, all female) with HIV/AIDS were recruited, aged between 18 and 44 and with clinical signs of moderate diarrhoea.

The researchers (University of Benin, Benson Idahosa University, and the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics at the University of Western Ontario) assigned the subjects either a normal or probiotic yoghurt (approx. 100ml) for fifteen days.

At the end of the study, it was reported that the occurrence of diarrhoea, flatulence, and nausea was resolved in all 12 subjects receiving the probiotic yoghurt, compared to only two out of the 12 in the normal (control) yoghurt.

Before treatment, the average CD4 T-lymphocyte count (the immune system cells that the virus attacks) was over 200. After treatment, the average CD4 count remained the same in 92 per cent of the subjects in the probiotic group, while the level only remained the same in 25 per cent receiving the control yoghurt (i.e. without the probiotics).

Again, before treatment, the white blood cells count of the probiotic – supplemented group was 5.8 billion cells per litre and 6.0 billion cells per litre after. Fifteen days after the study and supplementation had stopped, the white blood cells count dropped to 5.4 billions cells per litre.

Although the study was somewhat small in terms of duration and number of participants, it shows promising signs of probiotic supplementation and its benefits amongst some of the poorest regions in the world affected by these diseases.


Anukam, K.C., Osazuwa, E.O., Osadolor, H.B., Bruce, A.W., Reid, G. (January 2008) Yogurt Containing Probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 Helps Resolve Moderate Diarrhoea and Increases CD4 Count in HIV/AIDS Patients, Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Published online ahead of print.


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