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live microorganism administered to a host with the intention of providing a health benefit, or a food, supplement, or treatment containing such microorganisms. Many of the microbes found in the human digestive system, primarily in the large intestine, benefit human health, as by breaking down foods and making them more digestible, producing certain vitamins, and crowding out or destroying harmful microorganisms. Probiotics are intended to replenish or supply such beneficial microorganisms, but in order to be useful to the host they must be able to survive the acidic conditions of the stomach after ingestion and then establish colonies. Microorganisms regarded as probiotics are typically bacteria of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, but other bacteria and some yeasts also are considered probiotics.

Most studies have found that consuming or taking probiotics provides no health benefits to healthy individuals, but a number of preliminary studies have indicated that probiotics may be beneficial to some individuals with certain intestinal disorders, such as those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or from the side effects of taking antibiotics. A report in 2017 indicated that a specific strain of Lactobacillus plantarum (one of more than 200 tested during a decade of investigation) appeared significant in preventing sepsis in babies in rural India; the bacterium had been isolated from a fecal sample from a healthy baby. How probiotics may work is not well understood, and serious complications from taking probiotics have been reported in some patients with weakened immune systems or other significant health problems.

Yogurt and other fermented dairy products; sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetable preparations; and other foods produced by the action of live bacteria are typically regarded as, and marketed as, probiotic. Some foods are sold fortified with probiotic microorganisms, and capsules and pills containing freeze-dried probiotic microorganisms are sold as probiotic supplements. These foods and supplements, however, contain usually several varying strains and amounts of microorganisms, are not subject to regulatory controls, and have not been approved by U.S. or European Union agencies for treatment of any health problem. The freshness of yogurt and other probiotic foods also is a factor in their value as a potential source of live probiotic microorganisms.


1. a harmless bacterium that helps to protect the body from harmful bacteria
2. a substance that encourages the growth of natural healthy bacteria in the gut
References in periodicals archive ?
There are patients who really benefit from probiotics," says Laura Jeffers, RD, LD, with Cleveland Clinic's Department of Nutrition Therapy.
Sustaining the high growth rates of probiotics has been increased consumer awareness as well as more chronic use of them as consumers reap the benefits of taking a supplement to boost immunity instead of just taking a supplement to treat isolated cases of digestive ailments.
When using probiotics to treat health problems, look for specific strains proven to be effective with particular conditions.
While most probiotic supplements consist of a single strain, each of LoveBug's probiotics contains a specialized blend of strains designed to provide the optimal benefit, with each daily dose delivering up to 10 billion good bugs into the digestive system, the company asserted.
Similarly, when you are using probiotics you want to make sure you have the right strain, not just the genus and species.
The presence of these probiotics while a mother is pregnant or breastfeeding is also beneficial to the infant.
Every three ounces of the drink contains one billion units of probiotic, which just happens to be the same daily amount recommended by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics.
It is advisable to incorporate foods and drinks that are rich in probiotics, like yogurt, miso soup, sauerkraut and Kombucha (fermented tea).
HOWARUPremium Probiotics are a blend of clinically studied probiotic strains that have been scientifically formulated to contain two of the most beneficial probiotic strains that have proven digestive and immune health benefits, making them Futurelife sprobiotic blend of choice.
Systematic reviews support the use of probiotics for preventing Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), but guidelines do not reflect these findings.
Ohhira's Probiotic Kampuku Beauty Bar(tm) was honored for the sixth time with Better Nutrition Magazine's 2017 'Best of Natural Beauty' Award.
Universite Laval Professor Angelo Tremblay and his team tried to determine if the consumption of probiotics could help reset the balance of the intestinal microbiota in favor of bacteria that promote a healthy weight.