Is there legitimate research in support of probiotics

Microbiome: Addicted intestinal flora

  1. An addiction arises in the head - but recent research suggests that the intestine and its microbial inhabitants can contribute to its development.

  2. Both substances produced by the digestive tract such as ghrelin and metabolic products of intestinal microbes change the effects of various drugs.

  3. Some scientists want to use these processes therapeutically: drugs that intervene in the intestinal-brain axis, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, could help to better treat addictions.

Every Monday four new alcohol-dependent patients move into their rooms in the Saint-Luc hospital, east of Brussels. Doctors accompany them during their withdrawal over a period of three weeks and support them with psychological and drug therapies. Unlike a typical withdrawal program, however, between 2010 and 2013, the clinic staff asked some patients for stool samples at the beginning and at the end of their stay. These 90 people were part of a study led by Philippe de Timary and Nathalie Delzenne from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. It should show whether the intestinal flora of the patient affects the cravings for alcohol.

In Germany alone, 1.6 million people are addicted to alcohol. Around 12 million smoke, and according to estimates by the Federal Ministry of Health, 600,000 have problematic use of illegal drugs, while around 2.3 million are drug addicts. Addiction disorders are not only widespread, their treatment is often lengthy and difficult. Substances that make you dependent activate the brain's reward center and stimulate it to release messenger substances such as dopamine. That feels good. The brain quickly gets used to the reward and demands replenishment - the consumer becomes addicted ...

This article is contained in Brain & Mind 11/2019