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Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health
Article first published online: 5 APR 2006
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Volume 100, Issue 6, pages 1171–1185, June 2006
How to Cite
Parvez, S., Malik, K.A., Ah Kang, S. and Kim, H.-Y. (2006), Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 100: 1171–1185. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.02963.x
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 5 APR 2006
- 2005/1024: received 9 September 2005, revised 22 December 2005 and accepted 24 January 2006
- Bifidobacterium SP;
- lactic acid bacteria;
- Lactobacillus acidophilus;
Probiotics are usually defined as microbial food supplements with beneficial effects on the consumers. Most probiotics fall into the group of organisms’ known as lactic acid-producing bacteria and are normally consumed in the form of yogurt, fermented milks or other fermented foods. Some of the beneficial effect of lactic acid bacteria consumption include: (i) improving intestinal tract health; (ii) enhancing the immune system, synthesizing and enhancing the bioavailability of nutrients; (iii) reducing symptoms of lactose intolerance, decreasing the prevalence of allergy in susceptible individuals; and (iv) reducing risk of certain cancers. The mechanisms by which probiotics exert their effects are largely unknown, but may involve modifying gut pH, antagonizing pathogens through production of antimicrobial compounds, competing for pathogen binding and receptor sites as well as for available nutrients and growth factors, stimulating immunomodulatory cells, and producing lactase. Selection criteria, efficacy, food and supplement sources and safety issues around probiotics are reviewed. Recent scientific investigation has supported the important role of probiotics as a part of a healthy diet for human as well as for animals and may be an avenue to provide a safe, cost effective, and ‘natural’ approach that adds a barrier against microbial infection. This paper presents a review of probiotics in health maintenance and disease prevention.