Supplements and probiotics do not make your gut healthier · Health and Science

Where does this news come from?

Danny De Luz is Professor of Gastroenterology at Ghent University Hospital. He was also a guest star in the Flemish TV series “Topdokters”. In an extended interview in De Morgen on October 14, 2023, he criticized the growing nonsense around all kinds of claims about the gut and how to improve overall physical and mental health with all kinds of nutritional supplements (1).

The interest in the microbiome or intestinal flora (i.e. all the bacteria that live in the intestines) is very recent and is the result of many studies looking for a link between the intestinal flora and all types of diseases. Not only intestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, but also Alzheimer’s disease, depression and obesity are linked to the composition of the intestinal flora. Based on these studies, nutritional supplements and diets are recommended. Just think “smart gut diet,” probiotics against depression, etc

According to De Luz, this research is still in its infancy and early knowledge has not yet yielded any demonstrable effects of probiotics or other nutritional supplements.


(1) De Morgen October 14, 2023 People are often proud when I say they have a beautiful gut. Intestines~bc201f22/

How should you interpret this news?

In recent years, the Journal of Health and Science has examined several studies on the purported effects of probiotics and nutritional supplements on intestinal flora, which have reached the media with headlines. No study found a clear effect. It usually ends with the conclusion that more research is needed.

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Some examples to clarify.

Supplements containing bacteria are said to relieve stomach pain, but they have no obvious effect

-Probiotics are said to help treat irritable bowel syndrome: it has no obvious effect

– Your risk of depression will be lower if you take good care of your intestinal bacteria: this is incredible

Parkinson’s disease may begin in the intestines: this has not been proven

– Having a healthy intestinal flora would protect against asthma: This has not been proven

– Detox treatments are said to remove toxins from the body: this is nonsense

Thousands of scientific articles have already been published about probiotics and nutritional supplements and their effect on intestinal bacteria and disease development: never before has a clear scientific effect on chronic complaints of these products been demonstrated. All of these studies conclude that more research is needed to confirm potential effects, and this finding has been repeated for years. Danny De Luz rightly classifies supplements, probiotics and detox treatments as junk for the gut.


Despite tremendous scientific interest and extensive research on the effects of nutritional supplements and probiotics on the intestinal flora (microbiome) in recent years, none of these products have yet provided convincing evidence of any therapeutic effect on health. These studies always conclude the same thing, that more and better research is needed to confirm potential effects, and they have been repeating this message for years. Bowel specialist Danny De Luz has a valid point: It’s bullshit.


Braga V, Rocha L, Bernardo D et al. What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about probiotics as preventive interventions? São Paulo Medical Journal, 2017, Volume 135(6), Pages 578-586

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Megan Vasquez

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