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J Nutr. 2007 Mar;137(3 Suppl 2):819S-24S. doi: 10.1093/jn/137.3.819S.

Probiotic effects on inflammatory bowel disease.

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Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre and Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


Components of the commensal flora, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, have been associated with beneficial effects on the host. These beneficial effects include maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, competitive exclusion of pathogens, production of antimicrobial compounds, promotion of gut barrier function, and immune modulation. Probiotics currently can be administered in dairy yogurts and drinks and also in the form of sachets or capsules. Although preliminary studies are clearly promising, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical trials are required to clarify the role of probiotic bacteria in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. The choice of probiotic bacteria, the optimal dose, mode of administration, and duration of therapy still need to be established. Detailed strain characterization is also required for all potential probiotic strains. As evidence accumulates to suggest a breakdown in tolerance toward ubiquitous intestinal bacteria, it appears logical to intervene by modulating the enteric flora. Increasingly, research suggests that probiotics may offer an alternative or adjuvant approach to conventional therapy by altering the intestinal microflora and modulating the host immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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