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.

Joise Angelina
Journal of Probiotics & Health
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