Probiotics and human health: Synoptic review.

  • TK Maity
  • AK Maity
Keywords: eubiosis, diarrhoea, ecosystem, inflammation

Abstract

The development of probiotic, functional foods aims to “kill two birds with one stone,” which is accomplished by providing a microbial stimulus to the host immune system by means of beneficial live microorganism cultures that are characteristic of the healthy, human gut microflora. Several probiotic preparations seem to have promise in prevention or treatment of various conditions. Probiotic bacteria reinforce the different lines of gut defense, which are immune exclusion, immune elimination, and immune regulation. They stimulate non-specific host resistance to microbial pathogens, thereby aiding in pathogen eradication. Best documented clinical application of probiotics is in the treatment of acute diarrhea. In humans, documented effects were reported for the alleviation of intestinal inflammation, normalization of gut mucosal dysfunction, and down-regulation of hypersensitivity reactions. The efficacy of probiotics in acute enteric infections and post-antibiotic syndromes is now established and there is emerging evidence for a role in alleviation of necrotizing enterocolitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and some forms of inflammatory bowel disease. Probiotics are gaining importance because of their innumerable benefits, e.g. treating lactose intolerance, hypercholesterol problem, cardiac diseases and managing cardiac problems like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. However, adequate information by which the consumer and health professional can judge the efficacy and
safety of retailed probiotics is lacking. Probiotic products have not been subjected to large-scale trials of efficacy that are used in the pharmaceutical industry. Without these trials and subsequent approval by fastidious regulatory agencies such as the FDA (USA), probiotics continue to languish in the self-care health market. However, the future is bright; enhanced understanding of the molecular details of host’s microflora flora interactions within the gut promises to yield new therapeutic targets and the potential to move from “bugs to drugs”. With the current focus on disease prevention and the quest for optimal health at all ages, the probiotics market potential is enormous. Health professionals are in an ideal position to help and guide their clients toward appropriate prophylactic and therapeutic uses of probiotics that deliver the desired beneficial health effects.
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eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358