Probiotics, D-Lactic acidosis, oxidative stress and strain specificity

Gut Microbes. 2017 Jul 4;8(4):311-322. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1279379. Epub 2017 Jan 12.


The existence of an implicit living microscopic world, composed primarily of bacteria, has been known for centuries. The exact mechanisms that govern the contribution of bacteria to human health and disease have only recently become the subject of intense research efforts. Within this very evident shift in paradigms, the rational design of probiotic formulations has led to the creation of an industry that seeks to progress the engineering of probiotic bacteria that produce metabolites that may enhance human host health and prevent disease. The promotion of probiotics is often made in the absence of quality scientific and clinically plausible data. The latest incursions into the probiotic market of claims have posited the amelioration of oxidative stress via potent antioxidant attributes or limiting the administration of probiotics to those species that do not produce D-Lactic acid (i.e., claims that D-Lactic acid acidosis is linked to chronic health conditions) or are strain-specific (shaping an industry point of difference) for appraising a therapeutic effect. Evidence-based research should guide clinical practice, as there is no place in science and medicine that supports unsubstantiated claims. Extravagant industry based notions continue to fuel the imprimatur of distrust and skepticism that is leveled by scientists and clinicians at an industry that is already rife with scientific and medical distrust and questionable views on probiotics. Ignoring scientifically discordant data, when sorting through research innovations and false leads relevant to the actions of probiotics, drives researcher discomfit and keeps the bar low, impeding the progress of knowledge. Biologically plausible posits are obligatory in any research effort; companies formulating probiotics often exhibit a lack of analytical understanding that then fuels questionable investigations failing to build on research capacity.

Keywords: D-Lactate; bacteria; efficacy; oxidative stress; probiotics; safety; strain.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Lactic / drug therapy*
  • Acidosis, Lactic / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillaceae / classification
  • Lactobacillaceae / physiology*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Probiotics / analysis*
  • Species Specificity