Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Using yeast to prevent outbreaks of C. difficile infections

C diff

Image of C. diff from BBC News

As the name implies, Clostrodium difficile (C. diff.) bacterial infections are difficult to treat because of antibiotic resistance. The problem with C. diff is that these bacteria release toxins that cause inflammation and diarrhea. In fact, C. diff is the number one cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitals as well as long-term care facilities. Studies have shown that probiotic yeast may help prevent C. diff infections. While these studies are exciting, much of this prior research has not looked at strains of C. diff that are commonly involved in outbreaks.

A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver examined whether a probiotic yeast (Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745) could be used to prevent common outbreak-associated C. diff infections or their complications. The research team found that administering live yeast 5 days prior to a C. diff infection reduced the toxic effects of the bacteria in the gut of hamsters. The authors concluded that probiotic yeast may therefore help prevent outbreaks of C. diff.

I don’t know about you, but in my opinion this sure beats taking a poop pill to treat C. diff.


Koon HW, Su B, Xu C, Mussatto CC, Tran DH-N, Lee EC, Ortiz C, Wang J, Lee JE, Ho S, Chen X, Kelly CP, Pothoulakis C. Probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745 prevents outbreak-associated Clostridium difficile-associated cecal inflammation in hamsters. American Journal of Physiology – Gastrointestinal and Liver. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00150.2016

Categories: Illnesses and Injuries

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