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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2002 Feb;15(1):1-9.

Probiotics: potential pharmaceutical applications.

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University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.


Realisation of the importance of human gut microbiota in health restoration and maintenance has kindled an interest in probiotics. Probiotics are defined as the microbial food supplements, which beneficially affect the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance. Probiotics are the health enhancing functional food ingredients used therapeutically to prevent diarrhea, improve lactose tolerance and modulate immunity. They may also have potential to prevent cancer and lower serum cholesterol levels. Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and several other microbial species are perceived to exert such effects by changing the composition of the gut microbiota. However, it is important that exogenously administered bacteria reach and establish themselves in the large intestine in an intact form. The use of non-digestible oligosaccharides ('prebiotics') can fortify intestinal microflora and stimulate their growth. The present review encompasses information regarding the probiotics and their proposed uses. It addresses the concepts of prebiotics and synbiotics, the application of genetic engineering to produce newer probiotics. Finally, the list of commercially available products are reviewed with discussion of questions regarding the reliability, utility and the safety of these products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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