Proposed Health Benefits Of Probiotics

The health benefits of probiotics can be direct or indirect through modulation of the composition and/or activity of the endogenous microbiota or of the immune system. Many health claims have been made concerning probiotics, especially concerning their potential to prevent or help cure gastrointestinal and related ailments. These include improved lactose digestion and other direct enzymatic effects, prevention, and curative treatment of gastroenteritis, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, traveler's diarrhea, constipation, intestinal

Table 2 Desirable Properties of Probiotics

Probiotic characteristics

Technological/Functional properties

Stability: bile salts and gastric acidity Adherence: ability to adhere to the intestinal mucosa Transient colonization Safety

Antagonism: against pathogenic and putrefactive organisms Proven health effects

Stability: stability/viability during processing and storage Technological suitability

Survival in human gastrointestinal tract

Immune cell modulation and competitive inhibition of the pathogenic organisms

Growth and multiplication in the human gastrointestinal tract Well-documented clinical safety, organism must be accurately identified to strain level before recommending its use. It should be non-toxic, non-pathogenic, non-allergenic, non-mutagenic, non-carcinogenic and have no transferable antibiotic resistance Prevention of pathogen colonization through competition for nutrients and binding sites and through production of antimicrobial substances Clinically documented and validated therapeutic effects. Dose-response data for minimum effective dosage of the probiotic organism in different formulations All of the aforementioned desirable characteristics should be maintained during processing and storage of these products organism should be genetically stable, no plasmid transfer Culture should be suitable for production of acceptable quality finished products with desirable viable counts infections and to suppress colonization of the gut by pathogenic organisms colonized in gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and various conditions of diarrhea, hypocholesterolaemea, urogenital tract infection, atopic diseases, skin diseases, gastrointestinal well-being, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colon cancer (16,31,34,35).

Table 3 Experiments Demonstrating Resistance Tests for Survival of an Organism in the Upper Digestive Tract for Selected Probiotic Strains

Resistance test method

Organisms tested


Gastric digestion in vivo (mixture

Lb. acidophilus (survival)


of HCl + pepsin + rennet)

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