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Objective: This guide is designed to translate scientific evidence available for probiotic supplements into practical, clinically relevant information, enabling clinicians to easily select the appropriate product, dose, and format for a specific indication.
Design: Published data or studies with defined clinical outcomes for probiotic strain(s) were searched, using defined inclusion criteria. Commercially available products containing said strain(s) were identified, and the levels of evidence were used to rate the strength of the recommendation. This information was compiled into a chart form, it was assessed by independent expert reviewers. This guide is meant to be used as a clinical decision making tool to assist health care professionals in providing evidence based recommendations for their patients. In the case of probiotics, the clinical evidence supports only certain formulations/brand names of the probiotics (including the genus, species, alphanumeric designation or strain, number of live bacteria present, the blend of probiotic strains present and finally, the non-active ingredients present). Every attempt was made by the authors to include the published clinical data for the available probiotic formulations. No bias is intended toward any specific formulation.
Results: In the clinical guide, the available strains were organized based on probiotic strain(s), doses, and evaluated levels of evidence based on our pre-defined criteria. This is further illustrated in the table. The “Clinical Guide to Probiotics Supplements Available in Canada: 2017 edition” can be found at www.probioticchart.ca
Conclusion: There is evidence to support the use of oral and vaginal probiotic products for vaginal health, however applications and results are strain-specific. Lack of adverse effects supports the wide use of these products, and further investigation is recommended.