Probiotics for human use

M. E. Sanders, D. Merenstein, C. A. Merrifield, R. Hutkins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Probiotics have become a popular approach for managing digestive and immune health and are being recommended more frequently as effective therapeutic interventions by medical professionals. Introduced early in the 20th century, the science of probiotics has advanced considerably, especially in the past two decades. Researchers have adopted a consensus definition, begun to understand many of the mechanisms of action, defined characteristics important to probiotic function and have obtained clinical evidence supporting probiotic health benefits and product quality. Nonetheless, a need remains for clear, evidence-based communications to consumers on the role of probiotics in a healthy diet and to healthcare providers regarding clinical use. However, regulatory frameworks in many countries have restricted progress on this front. There is a need for additional research to further clarify the most effective probiotics for given health outcomes and to identify people most likely to respond to specific probiotic interventions. This review provides current perspective on the probiotic concept, discusses evidence-based probiotic interventions, considers fermented foods with regard to probiotics and addresses some regulatory challenges facing the probiotic field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-225
Number of pages14
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics
  • clinical benefit
  • fermented food
  • probiotic
  • regulatory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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