Probiotics are now being considered for use in treating many digestive (and even non-digestive) health conditions and diseases. Two such diseases in which probiotics have been studied are the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions involve chronic inflammation of the intestines. Crohn’s disease primarily involves the lower small intestine, but may involve the entire digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis involves the rectum and large intestine, or colon (hence the name colitis—meaning inflammation of the colon).

A recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study found that in addition to standard treatment, a high-potency, multistrain probiotic improved symptoms. Equally important, it also improved appearance of the colonic mucosal lining in patients with relapsing mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis compared to those patients only receiving standard treatment.

This is the strongest study to date on probiotics for ulcerative colitis and joins a growing body of evidence for their beneficial effects. Because ulcerative colitis is a serious disease, effective treatment is important. If you have ulcerative colitis, talk to your doctor about using probiotics. Want to learn more before you do? Tune in for my PBS Special The Road To Perfect Health, now airing on your local PBS station.