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Reid, Gregor Lawson Health Research Institute, Ontario, Canada.
- Mechanisms of probiotic action
- Evaluating probiotics for human use
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Probiotics are defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” The premise of probiotics is that healthy humans (and animals) harbor a large and diverse array of microorganisms, and at times the commensal microbial population needs replenishment, perhaps due to food sterilization or the use of antimicrobials in medications or as preservatives and livestock feed. Such propagation of selected species of the body's microbial content (typically, bacteria of the genera Lactobacillus and Bifidiobacterium) is often directed at preventing or even treating disease or illness. The belief is that by administering bacteria that are naturally found in a niche (such as the mouth, throat, gastrointestinal tract, vagina, urethra, and skin), the host will be better able to restore and maintain good health.
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