Next, I quoted their studies, to give a sense of how meager their effects really are (though not strictly ‘lying).
Here I offer some interesting studies about probiotics that I think are real benefits. A great number of studies on L. reuteri are grouped on a nice page here.
In Mexico City, a place where diarrhea is just expected, they performed a randomized, placebo-controlled trial for 4 months of 250 infants and found that the ones drinking milk spiked with L. reuteri had significantly less episodes of community acquired diarrhea. (76% vs 64%).
Another tasty experiment involved giving women intravaginal and perineal L. casei strain GR 1 who had frequent UTI. Apparently, they had increased infection free periods, and they didn’t have to take antibiotics. Unfortunately, they couldn’t just drink it (if you know what I mean), but they didn’t suffer any yeast infections, which is a known side effect of antibiotics.
One of the more intriguing studies of probiotics is the possibility of reducing the incidence of atopic disease by exposing young children to the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG strain. They fed it to mothers prenatally and to the infants 6 months postnatally, and there was a significant risk reduction (almost 50%) in the incidence of atopic eczema.
So why doesn’t Dannon mention these studies? Because their strain (L. casei DN 114001) isn’t proven to do any of these things. And you can buy any of the known products at a health food store.
The take home message is that the immune boost advertised on their commercial is extremely misleading (so what else is new) and even more disturbing is their lack of supporting data on their website. Before you decide to start pouring this down your kids’ throats for YEARS to shorten their diarrheal episodes by one or two days, check out this page. Their list of strains is more reliable. It's only 2.29 for a four pack, but check out this page for a quote you wont believe, that just proves my point:
The drink contains the active culture L. Casei, which is supposed to provide balance in your digestive tract and strengthen your immune system. That caught my attention, because my younger son had been battling a mild flu-like virus for several days and I felt his symptoms starting. I drank DanActive for four successive days. After the second day all my viral symptoms went away. My poor son had suffered for a week. I’m not sure if DanActive was responsible for my quick recovery, but it sure didn’t hurt.