| || Probiotics: Microbial Therapy for Health Modulation
Author : Goel, Ajay Kumar ;Dilbaghi, N.;Singh, Lokendra ;Kamboj, Dev Vrat
Source : Defence Science Journal ; Vol:56(4) ; 2006 ; pp 513-529
Subject : 57.089 Biomedical Sciences
Keywords : Prebiotics;Probiotics;Gut microflora;Microbial therapy;Health modulation;Microbial ecosystem;Human health;Gut health
Abstract : The human gastrointestinal tract is a complex ecosystem that harbours a rich and diverse microflora. These microbes live in harmony with the host and exert various beneficial effects on human health by their metabolic activities. However, in our modern life style, frequent and indiscriminate use of antibiotics has disturbed this microbial ecosystem, resulting in occurrence of various bowel diseases. Some live microbial food supplements can re-establish this microbial ecosystem. Such a group of microorganisms, which positively influences the intestinal microbiota by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria and suppressing the harmful ones, is collectively known as probiotics. These have been consumed in the form of fermented milk products for centuries. However, scientific interest in their use for health maintenance and disease prevention has emerged over the past few years only. Various scientific evidences show that probiotics help to reduce several disorders including diarrhea, inflammatory bowel diseases, urinary tract infections, hypertension, allergies, and cancer. Besides, probiotics exert several other benefits also to human beings and animals. Important issues in the probiotic therapy include selection of appropriate strain, its viability during storage, gut persistence potential and functional properties. Another category involved in gut health is prebiotics. These are non-digestible food ingredients, which beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth or activity of one or a limited number of beneficial bacteria in the colon. This review paper highlights the major health benefits of probiotic organisms, mechanisms of their action, criteria of selection, enumeration, and safety of their use for human health.