The bacteria are marketed as being beneficial for our digestive system and, in the process, improve our health. But in a study on mice, bacteria in the probiotics ate the protective coating of their intestines - which can lead to irritable bowel syndrome. They also showed a level of antibiotic resistance, a growing threat to humanity that is considered as severe as terrorism. Scientists said the probiotics appeared to evolve the most in unhealthy stomachs, working against them rather than improving them.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, led Dr Gautam Dantas, studied a stain of bacteria called E. coli Nissle 1917 (EcN). It has been used to combat diarrhoea for a long time - especially in children - after being discovered over 100 years ago. The researchers used mice with different gut microbiomes. One had no gut bacteria at all, while the others had various healthy and unhealthy guts. MORE