Introduction: Probiotics are live microorganisms which confer a health benefit on the host. Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast, has been found to be an effective probiotic in double-blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical studies.
Materials and methods: We reviewed the established mechanisms of actions and clinical efficacy in children of S. boulardii.
Conclusions: The mechanisms of action of S. boulardii depend mainly on the inhibition of some bacterial toxins, anti-inflammatory effects, and on stimulating effects on the intestinal mucosa such as trophic effects on the brush border enzymes and immunostimulatory effects. At present, in pediatric populations, there is evidence that S. boulardii is beneficial for the treatment of acute gastroenteritis and the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. More data are needed in other indications such as traveller's diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori eradication, and inflammatory bowel disease. S. boulardii is a yeast strain that has been extensively studied in vitro and in vivo. Recent data have opened the door for new therapeutic indications.