Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the “good bacteria” in the intestines.

People with cystic fibrosis (CF) may have more gastrointestinal problems than healthy people because they are frequently on antibiotic therapy, which kills bad and good bacteria. Clinical trials have shown that particular strains of probiotics help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, but more needs to be learned.

Probiotics for Cystic Fibrosis

Probiotics may be ingested through supplements or foods, such as yogurt, kefir, soy or nut milks, fermented soft cheeses, kombucha tea, and sourdough bread.

Studies have evaluated probiotics in CF patients, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them to prevent or treat any health problems. People with CF should consult their healthcare provider before taking any type of probiotic, because the products can contain a variety of microorganisms and may affect everyone differently.

Prebiotics for Cystic Fibrosis

Prebiotics are foods that resist digestion and promote the growth of the “good” bacteria in the large intestine. Leeks, asparagus, chicory, kale, garlic, and bananas are examples of prebiotic foods.

Although all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber is prebiotic. For a food to be considered a prebiotic, experts say it must resist gastric acidity and absorption in the small intestine, be fermented intestinal microflora, and selectively stimulate the growth or activity of bacteria associated with health and well-being.

Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.