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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2014 Aug;39(8):980-6. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2013-0490. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

Practical approaches to probiotics use.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S3E2, Canada.


Probiotics are microorganisms exerting beneficial effects on the host. They can be ingested through foods or supplements and their inclusion in these products is regulated in Canada by the Health Canada Health Products and Food Branch. The aim of this article is to summarize current evidence from randomized controlled trials and guidelines from Health Canada, the World Health Organization, and internationally recognized expert committees in the hope that it will help practitioners and professionals recommending probiotics to healthy and diseased patients, with a focus on the Canadian setting. From a general perspective, probiotics can be recommended for prevention of diseases that are associated to altered intestinal ecology. Specifically, they can be recommended for prevention of upper respiratory tract infections and pouchitis, for prevention and management of necrotizing enterocolitis, bacterial vaginosis and antibiotic associated diarrhea, including Clostridium difficile infection, and for treatment of atopic eczema in cow's milk allergy and of infectious diarrhea. Additional substantiated probiotic benefits include prevention of hypercholesterolemia, management of constipation, reduction of recurrent urinary tract infections, improvement of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, and reduction of antibiotics side effects in Helicobacter pylori eradication. Because probiotics are generally recognized as safe and can be removed with antimicrobial agents, their use should be considered in patients of all ages.


Canada; aliments fonctionnels; directives; disease prevention; functional foods; guidelines; probiotics; probiotiques; prévention de maladies; recommendations

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