Health Benefits Mediated by Probiotics
Various probiotic as well as prebiotic and synbiotic products have already been and continue to be developed with the rationale of shaping the gut microbiota towards a more beneficial composition. Probiotics have been defined as “Live organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host”.
However, without having a clear understanding of what the actual benefits of such microbiota directed products are it is nearly impossible to even start exploiting their expected positive impact on public health. Current regulatory concerns appropriately limit the health claims that can be made regarding benefits associated with any commercially available probiotic supplement.
Clearly, customers need to have the means for protecting themselves from unsubstantiated health benefit claims. The US FDA broadly categorizes health benefit claims on food labels as either: 1) Health claims, 2) Structure/function claims, or 3) Nutrient content claims. FDA also considers qualified health claims that contain a disclaimer summarizing current research support for the claim. FDA defines dietary supplements as “a product intended for ingestion that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.
A ‘dietary ingredient’ may be one, or any combination, of the following substances: a vitamin, a mineral, an herb or other botanical, an amino acid, a dietary substance for use by people to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake, a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, or extract.
Journal of Probiotics & Health
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