Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a common and unintended adverse effect of antibiotic treatment. It is characterized by the disruption of the gut microbiota, decreased intestinal short chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations, accumulation of luminal carbohydrates and colonic bile acids, altered water absorption, and ultimately diarrhea. Probiotics were shown to prevent AAD in numerous clinical trials. This review examines what is currently known about how probiotics reduce the risk for AAD via modulating the gut microbiota, altering nutrient and bile acid metabolism, inducing epithelial solute transporter activity, supporting intestinal barrier function, and influencing the immune system. Although probiotics are frequently prescribed with antibiotic use, mechanistic evidence verifying how they confer protection against AAD is extremely limited. This information is urgently needed for improving recommendations for sustaining probiotic development and for implementing probiotics in clinical settings.
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