Definition of Probiotics

Probiotics have been defined as 'bacterial preparations that impart clinically verified beneficial effects on the health of the host when consumed orally.' According to this definition the safety and efficacy of probiotics must be scientifically demonstrated. However, as different probiotics may interact with the host in different manners, their properties and characteristics should be well defined. It is understood that probiotic strains, independent of genera and species, are unique and that the properties and human health effects of each strain must be assessed in a case-by-case manner. Most probiotics are currently either lactic acid bacteria or bifidobacteria, but new species and genera are being assessed for future use. The probiotic bacteria in current use have been isolated from the intestinal microflora of healthy human subjects of long-standing good health and thus most of them are also members of the healthy intestinal microflora.

It has been demonstrated that probiotics have specific properties and targets in the human intestinal tract and that they are able to modulate the intestinal microflora.

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