August 27, 2020

Probiotics: Scam or Superfood?

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

Probiotic-crammed foods and pills are marketed as charmers of the human microbiome — and the key to immune, gut and brain health. But how much does the microbiome actually matter, and do probiotics live up to the hype? To learn more we talked with biomedical engineering professor Ilana Brito, immunologist Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, psychiatry professor Ted Dinan, and microbiologist Dr. Namrata Iyer.

UPDATE 8/28/20: An earlier version of this episode said there was a little bit of evidence that specific microbes can help with irritable bowel disease. This should have been inflammatory bowel disease.

Here’s a link to our transcript:

This episode was produced by me, Wendy Zukerman, with help from Nicholas DelRose, Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, Michelle Dang, Sinduja Srinivasan, and Hannah Harris Green. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Professor Martin J Blaser, Dr Kirsten Berding Harold, Professor Andrew Holmes, Professor Eran Elinav, Professor Margaret J. Morris, Professor Tim Spector, Professor Dena Lyra, Professor Eric Alms, Dr Joel Babdor, Joana de Cruz Pereira, Josh Jones and all the others. And special thanks to Walter Rimler, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.