New Probiotic Clinical Practice Guidelines Focused on Disease Treatment

Washington, D.C., June 10, 2020—In response to clinical practice guidelines released June 9, 2020 by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), published in Gastroenterology, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, issued the following statement:

Statement by Andrea Wong, Ph.D., senior vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN:

“Probiotics are essential to good health. These new clinical practice guidelines directed toward doctors in no way diminish the important role probiotic supplements play in maintaining digestive health, nor do they give reason to disregard this category’s history of safe use. The guidelines are for the management of specific gastrointestinal disorders and are not recommendations for the generally healthy population. It is critical to underscore the difference between using a probiotic to treat a specific disease and the general use of probiotics in foods or dietary supplements to support digestive health. 

CRN notes the guidelines identify areas where more high quality evidence is needed before the AGA would recommend probiotics for treating specific diseases; it does not offer evidence that probiotics should not be used in dietary supplements or foods. Therefore, we recommend that the guidelines be viewed as a call for increased research from industry and academia alike in the field of probiotics, and in no way as a dismissal of the category altogether. CRN agrees that probiotics continue to be a growing area with emerging science and we welcome more research into the benefits and safety of probiotics, both for healthy people and for those with specific diseases. The category continues to show overall growth every year both in use and in the market. According to the 2019 CRN Consumer Survey, 17 percent of supplement users take probiotics, as many consumers find benefits from the use of these products. CRN reminds consumers to consult their healthcare providers for guidance on the treatment of disease.” 

Note to Editor: The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 150+ dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements and food in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as to CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit Follow us on Twitter @CRN_Supplements and LinkedIn