Saturday, 24 March 2012

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Sunday, 26 February 2012



Probiotics are defined as "live microbial food ingredients that have a beneficial effect on human health" (Salminen et al., 1998).
According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".

There are a large number of probiotics currently used and available in dairy fermented foods, especially in yogurts. Lactic acid bacteria constitute a diverse group of organisms providing considerable benefits to humankind, some as natural inhabitants of the intestinal tract and others as fermentative lactic acid bacteria used in food industry, imparting flavor, texture and possessing preservative properties. Beyond these, some species are administered to humans as live microbial supplements, which positively influence our health mainly by improving the composition of intestinal microbiota. For this reason, they are called probiotics. Some selected strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Lactococcus and Saccharomyces have been promoted in food products because of their reputed health benefits (Dimer & Gibson 1998; Sanders, 1998; Fuller, 1991; Ouwehand et al., 1999; Puupponen-Pimia et al., 2002).

Well-supported benefits of Probiotics

  • Promote recovery from diarrhea caused by rotavirus, travel and antibiotics
  • Produce lactase and can alleviate symptoms of lactose intolerance
  • Help the gut heal in inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Relieve constipation

Other possible health benefits of probiotics may include:

  • Reduce cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Treat Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of peptic ulcers
  • Ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Enhance immune health, including gastrointestinal
  • Reduce risk of pathogenic infections
  • Reduce risk of certain cancers
  • Treat for food allergies
  • Increase nutrient bioavailability
  • Reduce incidence of dental caries
  • Optimize effects of vaccines

(Guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Working Group, 2002. )

Foods Containing Probiotics
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Sour cream
  • Smoothies
  • Cereal
  • Fitness bars
  • Infant formulas
  • Asparagus
  • Soybeans
  • Infant formulas
  • Artichokes

Proven Probiotic Strains

  • Bacillus coagulans
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Escherichia coli
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Lactobacillus bifidus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus

(Sanders, ME (June 2007). "Probiotics, strains matter". . Functional foods & nutraceuticals magazine: 36–41)