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Table 1 Characteristics of the studies reviewed

From: Alterations in fecal microbiota composition by probiotic supplementation in healthy adults: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

Study Participant characteristics Intervention Design Microbiomics Sample size calculation Probiotic effects on fecal microbiota compared to placebo
Lahti et al. 2013 [22] 25/25 (72 %) 23–55 years Finland L. rhamnosus GG ATCC53103 (1.55 × 1010 CFU) in 250 mL milk-based fruit drink Double-blinded, parallel, two-armed, placebo (drink) controlled (21 days) 16S rRNA (regions V1 and V6); HITchip based characterization of >1000 microbial species-like phylotypes Post hoc ↔ Composition of the fecal microbiota ↔ Stability of the fecal microbiota quantified by inter-individual and intra-individual correlations within and between time points
Rampelli et al. 2013 [23] 32/32 (59 %) 71–88 years Italy B. longum Bar33 and L. helveticus Bar13 (109 CFU) in biscuit Double-blinded, parallel, two-armed, placebo (biscuit) controlled (30 days) 16S rRNA (region unknown); HTF-Microbi.Array based characterization of 31 phylogenetically related groups No ↔ Relative abundance of 31 phylogenetically related groups
Ferrario et al. 2014 [27] 22/34* (56 %) 23–55 years Italy L. paracasei DG (>2.4 × 1010 CFU) in capsules Double-blinded, cross-over, placebo (capsules) controlled (two 28-day intervention periods with a 28-day wash-out) 16S rRNA (region V3) sequencing on Ion Torrent platform No ↔ α-diversity Modified β diversity (with absolute distances higher for the probiotic than for the placebo treatments)
Bjerg et al. 2015 [19] 20/64* (50 %) 20–45 years Denmark L. casei W8® (1010 CFU) in capsules Double-blinded, parallel, two-armed, placebo (capsules) controlled (28 days) 16S rRNA (regions V3 and V4) sequencing on Roche 454 pyrosequencing platform No ↔ α- and β-diversity
Brahe et al. 2015 [20] 34/58* (100 %) 40–70 years Denmark L. paracasei F19 (9.4 × 1010 CFU) or flaxseed mucilage (10 g) in sachets Single-blinded, parallel, three-armed, placebo (sachets) controlled (42 days) Quantitative metagenomics on a SOLiD 5500×l platform Yes ↔ Bacterial gene count (richness) and abundance of specific bacterial genes compared to placebo
Hanifi et al. 2015 [21] 37/81* (52 %) 19–49 years United States Bacillus subtilis R0179 (0.1 × 109, 1.0 × 109, and 10 × 109 CFU, respectively) in capsules Double-blinded, parallel, four-armed, placebo (capsules) controlled (28 days) 16S rRNA (regions V1 to V3) pyrosequencing No ↔ β-diversity and OTU based richness
Simon et al. 2015 [24] 21/21 (52 %) 40–65 years Germany L. reuteri SD5865 (2 × 1010 viable cells) in capsules Double-blinded, parallel, two-armed, placebo (capsules) controlled (28 days) 16S rRNA (regions V5 and V6) sequencing on Illumina MiSeq platform Yes ↔ α- and β-diversity
  1. Participant characteristics are number of participants with microbiome data/number of participants included in the study. Participant characteristics (% women and age range of participants in years) are based upon number of participants included in the study. CFU, colony-forming units. OTU, operational taxonomic unit. ↔ indicates no difference between the probiotic group and placebo. ↑ indicates an increase in the probiotic group compared to placebo. ↓ indicates a decrease in the probiotic group compared to placebo. P values are unadjusted for multiple testing. *Performed next-generation sequencing on fecal samples from a subgroup of the included individuals. In the study by Ferrario et al., 22 participants (of 34) completed the study. Bjerg et al. selected 10 (of 32) placebo-treated and 10 (of 32) probiotic-treated participants with the highest triacylglycerol concentration in the blood at week 0. The study by Brahe et al. had a third intervention arm not relevant for the present study where the number of participants were approximately two-thirds of the total number of participants included in the study. Hanifi et al. selected 20 (all) placebo-treated and 17 (of 20) probiotic-treated participants from the group with the highest dose (10 × 109 CFU) of the probiotic treatment