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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1999 Jan;39(1):13-126.

Probiotic spectra of lactic acid bacteria (LAB).

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  • 1Center for Antimicrobial Research, College of Agriculture, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 91768, USA.


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and their probio-active cellular substances exert many beneficial effects in the gastrointestinal tract. LAB prevent adherence, establishment, and replication of several enteric mucosal pathogens through several antimicrobial mechanisms. LAB also release various enzymes into the intestinal lumen and exert potential synergistic effects on digestion and alleviate symptoms of intestinal malabsoption. Consumption of LAB fermented dairy products with LAB may elicit antitumor effects. These effects are attributed to the inhibition of mutagenic activity; decrease in several enzymes implicated in the generation of carcinogens, mutagens, or tumor-promoting agents; suppression of tumors; and the epidemiology correlating dietary regimes and cancer. Specific cellular components in LAB strains seem to induce strong adjuvant effects including modulation of cell-mediated immune responses, activation of reticuloendothelial system, augmentation of cytokine pathways and regulation of interleukins, and tumor necrosis factors. Oral administration of LAB is well tolerated and proven to be safe in 143 human clinical trials and no adverse effects were reported in any of the total 7,526 subjects studied during 1961-1998. In an effort to decrease the reliance on synthetic antimicrobials and control the emerging immunocompromised host population, the time has come to carefully explore the prophylactic and therapeutic applications of probiotic LAB.

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