Probiotics are the good bacteria found in your body. They support optimal digestive health, healthy immune function, and a favorable environment for nutrient absorption.
Probiotics are defined as living microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a beneficial effect on the health of the host. The term probiotic, meaning "for life," was first coined in the 1960s by Lilly and Stillwell.
In recent years, there has been a surge in probiotic research, as well as growing commercial interest in the concept of probiotic foods. This increased research has resulted in significant advances in our understanding and ability to characterize specific probiotic organisms, as well as attempts to verify their health benefits.
The consumption of these microorganisms can be carried out in two main ways. The first and most recommended for being completely natural, is through the ingestion of probiotic foods: natural yogurt, kefir, fermented cabbage, dark chocolate, miso soup, olives, among other fermented products. The second is the use of probiotic supplements, which are offered in different presentations as probiotic pills, powder or capsules.
PROBIOTIC MICROORGANISES AND FOOD PRODUCTS
Two main genera of Gram-positive bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are widely used as probiotics. However, other genera, such as Escherichia, Enterococcus, and Saccharomyces, also trade, although there are still concerns about the safe use of these organisms for this purpose.
Current evidence indicates that the effects of probiotics are strain specific; therefore, it cannot be assumed that a beneficial effect attributed to one strain is provided by another strain, even if it belongs to the same species.
According to recent guidelines from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WHO, probiotic bacteria used in food must be able to survive passage through the intestine; that is, they must have the ability to resist gastric juices and exposure to bile. In addition, they must be able to proliferate and colonize the digestive tract. In addition, they must be safe and effective, and maintain their efficacy and potency throughout the life of the product.
PROBIOTICS IN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS
Many probiotic products are used routinely by healthy people; in fact, the marketing of many probiotic food products is aimed at healthy people. Claims that regular ingestion will contribute to a healthy lifestyle, promote general well-being, and protect or reduce the risk of developing chronic long-term gastrointestinal, respiratory, or heart problems have led many to consume these regularly. products.
However, there is no precise measure of "health" and no studies have verified claims that long-term use helps maintain good health. Furthermore, there are no measurements of the impact of probiotics on the immune system of healthy individuals or their innate resistance to disease.
Ingestion of probiotic bacteria is known not to be associated with colonization and long-term survival in the host, as probiotic strains are only retained for days or weeks after discontinuation of ingestion.
Therefore, its effects appear to be transitory and long-term continuous intake is necessary. Gut commensal microorganisms are known to benefit the host and the impact of regular intake of probiotics on these microbes is unknown.
Although current evidence does not indicate loss or depletion of these beneficial organisms, questions about the long-term effects of ingestion in otherwise healthy individuals remain unanswered. Well-designed studies are still needed to investigate the perception that healthy people benefit from regular intake of probiotics.
There is scientific evidence that specific strains of probiotic microorganisms confer health benefits on the host and are safe for human use. However, these cannot be extrapolated to other strains as these effects are strain specific.
The use of probiotics has potential benefits for conditions such as gastrointestinal infections, genitourinary infections, allergies, and certain intestinal disorders, all of which affect a considerable proportion of the world's population.
However, considerable work is required to assert these benefits. Researchers should adopt a systematic approach based on the guidelines recommended by the Joint FAO / WHO Expert Consultation.