The origin of fermentations involving the production of lactic acid are lost in the ancient times, but it is not difficult to imagine how nomadic communities gradually acquired the art of preserving their meager supplies of milk by storing them in animal skins or crude earthenware pots. Initially, the intention could well have been simply to keep the milk cool through the evaporation of whey from the porous surface, but the chance transformation of the raw milk into a refreshing, slightly viscous foodstuff would soon have been recognized as a desirable innovation resulting in yogurt-like products.

At the beginning of last century, Eli Metchnikoff proposed the, now classic, theory that the apparent longevity of Bulgarian tribesmen was a direct result of their lifelong consumption of yogurt-like fermented milk products, probably mostly fermented by lactobacilli (1). This inspired an interest in the nutritional and therapeutic characteristics of these products. The validity of these hypotheses was debated for many years but one undeniable effect of his work was a marked increase in the popularity of yogurt throughout Europe. At about the same time, Henri Tissier suggested that bifidobacteria could be administered to children with diarrhea to help restore their gut microbiota balance (2).

Fermented milk products like yogurt and other products containing beneficial or "probiotic" cultures, such as lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, lactococci, and propionibacteria are currently among the best-known examples of functional foods in many countries around the world. These products are associated with a range of health claims, some more documented then others, including alleviation of symptoms of lactose intolerance (3), treatment of diarrhea (4), cancer risk reduction (5) and restoration of gastrointestinal (6) and urogenital microbiota (7), and constipation (8). Milk is an ideal food system to act as a carrier of these versatile bacteria to the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and support their viability. From these beginnings, the probiotic concept has progressed considerably and is now the focus of much research attention worldwide. Significant advances have been made in the selection and characterization of specific cultures and substantiation of health claims relating to their consumption. Subsequently, the area of probiotics has advanced from anecdotal reports, with scientific evidence now accumulating to back up health claim properties of specific strains. Nowadays the majority of scientific and commercial attention is concentrated on probiotic microorganisms like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, with the result that an expanding range of probiotic dairy products containing these species are now available to the consumer.

This paper will critically examine the health claims and evidence for beneficial effects of probiotic organisms in relation to modifying the gastrointestinal microflora and its functioning.

Constipation Prescription

Constipation Prescription

Did you ever think feeling angry and irritable could be a symptom of constipation? A horrible fullness and pressing sharp pains against the bladders can’t help but affect your mood. Sometimes you just want everyone to leave you alone and sleep to escape the pain. It is virtually impossible to be constipated and keep a sunny disposition. Follow the steps in this guide to alleviate constipation and lead a happier healthy life.

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