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Probiotics for Chronic Kidney Disease

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The positive health benefits that probiotics provide to digestive health and wellbeing are well known. With the renowned benefits of probiotics embedded in scientific literature, researchers are starting to look at novel uses for probiotics in humans. One of those is Dr Megan Rossi, a research dietitian at the University of Queensland who has been investigating the role of probiotics and prebiotics in chronic kidney disease. 

The trial uses a unique probiotic which contains a combination of nine different probiotic stains; L. rhamnosus, L.casei, L. acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. fermentum, B. lactis, B. breve, B. bifidum and S. thermophilus providing a total of 45 billion CFU per dose. This probiotic is combined with a prebiotic to investigate the effect of modulating the microbiota in the large bowel of patients with chronic kidney disease. Preliminary research has suggested that bacteria in the large bowel may encourage the production of toxins such as indoxyl sulphate (IS) and p-cresyl sulphate (PCS) which may have an impact on cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease.[1]

The trial, titled SYNERGY - SYNbiotics: Easing Renal failure by improving Gut MicrobiologY, aims to demonstrate that the combination of probiotics and prebiotics can alter the production of these toxins in patients with chronic kidney disease. The study hopes to show that by favourably altering the microbiota population in the gut, these harmful toxins will no longer be produced.  The ultimate aim is to show reduction in damage to blood cells and hence reduction in the progression of chronic kidney disease. 

Dr Rossi and her team recruited patients from 2013 to the end of 2014. Patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease were recruited. Patients were either randomised to the probiotic and prebiotic combination or placebo for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks of supplementation patients were washed out for 4 weeks and crossed over to the opposite treatment arm. All participants had blood analysed for indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate, patients quality of life scores and gastrointestinal symptoms.[2]

Preliminary results of the trial have shown that supplementation with the probiotic and prebiotic combination have shown a reduction in these two toxins. Results of the trial are currently undergoing peer review and are expected to be published in the near future.

[NOTE: This exciting Australian research was generously supported by BioCeuticals]


  1. Meyer T, Hostetter T. Uremic solutes from colon microbes. Kidney Int 2012;81(10):949-954. [Abstract]
  2. Rossi M, Johnson D, Morrison M, et al. SYNbiotics Easing Renal failure by improving Gut microbiology (*SYNERGY): a protocol of placebo-controlled randomised cross-over trail. BMC Nephrology. 2014;15:106-116. [Full text]


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