It is quite difficult to find the correct information about probiotics in Internet: the available information is usually from unreliable sources and is not based on scientific data, Frontiers in Medicine reported referring to the British-Belgian study.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are pretty fashionable for medical use today. It is believed that probiotics are useful in a number of diseases. However, far from all types of probiotics, there is a sufficient amount of qualitative evidence of efficacy and safety, experts emphasize.
Specialists analyzed the information on the first 150 web pages that appeared in Google search results for 'probiotics' in combination with their origin and various diseases.
To evaluate the correctness of the data found on the Internet, the researchers used the Cochrane Library (a database of clinical trials and meta-analyzes). They also analyzed how Google rates these sites, because people usually don’t look beyond the first ten results.
"Most webpages with information on probiotics are from commercial sources or news outlets but these provide the least complete information, in terms of not discussing potential side effects or regulatory issues," said author Professor Pietro Ghezzi, from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, UK.