Probiotics are a good choice in remission of inflammatory bowel diseases: A meta analysis and systematic review

J Cell Physiol. 2018 Mar;233(3):2091-2103. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25911. Epub 2017 May 3.


Altered gut bacteria and bacterial metabolic pathways are two important factors in initiation and progression of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, efficacy of probiotics in remission of patients with IBD has not been characterized. This study was performed on the studies that specifically assessed the efficacy of probiotics in attaining clinical response on patients with various types of IBD. The efficacy of variant species of probiotics in different conditions and the influence of study quality in outcomes of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were also assessed. The RCTs were collected by searching in MEDLINE Web of Science and Google scholar. Then all studies were abstracted in abstraction form and the outcomes were analyzed with fixed-effect and mixed-effect models for assessment of efficacy of variant species of probiotics in subgroups of IBDs. Analysis of 9 trials showed that probiotics had not significant effect on Crohn's disease (CD) (p = 0.07) but analysis of 3 trials in children with IBD revealed a significant advantage (p < 0.01). Analysis of 18 trials revealed that probiotics in patients with Ulcerative colitis (UC) in different conditions have significant effects (p = 0.007). VSL#3 probiotics in patients with UC had significant effect (p < 0.01). Combination of Lactobacillus probiotic, prebiotics had significant effect (p = 0.03) only in patients with UC. Combination of Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus, and VSL#3 probiotics in CD had also a trend for efficiency (p = 0.057). In children with IBD, the combination of Lactobacillus with VSL#3 probiotics had significant effect (p < 0.01). Probiotics are beneficial in IBD, especially the combination ones in UC.

Keywords: Crohn's disease; IBD; probiotics; ulcerative colitis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / microbiology
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / therapy*
  • Crohn Disease / microbiology
  • Crohn Disease / therapy*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lactobacillus
  • Middle Aged
  • Prebiotics / microbiology
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use*
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Prebiotics