In a widely-shared news story published on 6 September, a group of Israeli scientists found no long-term benefit to probiotic consumption.

Researchers had studied samples surgically extracted from multiple sites in volunteers’ stomach and intestines. These samples were taken after the volunteers consumed a probiotic cocktail containing 11 strains of ‘good bacteria’.

There are two key points worth making. Number one: the response to the story has been overblown, and many outlets have failed to conceal their glee in dishonestly reporting that probiotics are – to incompletely quote the study’s lead author – ‘quite useless.’

Number two: the news itself is unsurprising and probably quite correct.

Although the results have stunned many, we were not unduly surprised given the nature of probiotic bacteria commonly found on the market. Most probiotics are wholly ineffective as far as meaningful, long-term intestinal colonisation is concerned, and we’ll explain why.