Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements and beauty products. The first probiotic discovered was a strain of bacillus in Bulgarian yoghurt, called Lactobacillus bulgaricus. The discovery was made in 1905 by the Bulgarian doctor and microbiologist Stamen Grigorov.
Modern theory is usually attributed to the Russian Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff, who postulated around 1907 that Bulgarian yogurt-consuming peasants lived longer. Get information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines, and updates for Mayo Clinic patients and visitors. Mayo Clinic offers consultations in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, and Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microorganisms intended to maintain or improve good bacteria (normal microflora) in the body.
Prebiotics are foods (usually foods high in fiber) that act as food for the human microflora. Prebiotics are used with the intention of improving the balance of these microorganisms. Probiotics are found in foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut. Prebiotics are found in foods such as whole grains, bananas, vegetables, onions, garlic, soy, and artichokes.
In addition, probiotics and prebiotics are added to some foods and are available as dietary supplements. Research is being conducted on the relationship of intestinal microflora with the disease. The health benefits of currently available probiotics and prebiotics have not been conclusively demonstrated. However, side effects are rare and most healthy adults can safely add foods containing prebiotics and probiotics to their diets.
Future Research May Lead to Advanced Probiotics with Greater Potential for Improved Health. If you're thinking about taking supplements, check with your doctor to make sure they're right for you. ErrorInclude a valid email address: Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising Revenue Supports Our Nonprofit Mission.
Probiotic supplements also contain living organisms. A single dose may include a particular strain of microbe or mixture of microbes. As with prebiotic supplements, probiotic supplement companies market products for specific conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. While some probiotic strains come from plants or dairy products, the most common bacteria in many supplements are “human strain” probiotics.
Always read the labels of any probiotic product you purchase to ensure it is properly stored and used within the expiration date. If you're interested in adding probiotics to your diet, it's worth talking to your healthcare provider. Refrigeration of certain probiotic strains ensures that they remain viable when you plan to use them and will continue to provide all the benefits of probiotics. There are two ways to maintain this balance: helping microbes that are already there grow, by giving them the foods they like (prebiotics), and by adding live microbes directly to their system (probiotics).
In laboratory tests, scientists have found that a specific form of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus paracasei can protect the gut from infection with Listeria, a more harmful type of bacteria. Findings suggest that probiotics may one day support the treatment of mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and possibly also some neurological conditions. As food products or dietary supplements, probiotics are under preliminary investigation to assess whether they have any health effects. Other bacteria-fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi, are also good sources of probiotics.
Such a commercial wave should not deter you from navigating the ocean of probiotics, as long as you consider some key elements of your formulation. If you want to take a probiotic dietary supplement, there are many commercial products to choose from. But as more and more people discover the health benefits that these good bacteria provide for you, many are beginning to wonder about where the bacteria came from in your probiotic supplement. While many research studies have yielded positive results on the impact of probiotic supplements, more research is still needed.
Some foods undergo steps that eliminate probiotics, such as beer or wine, or make them inactive, such as baking and canning. Only products containing living organisms that, according to reproducible studies in humans, confer a health benefit can claim to be probiotics. There is currently a lot of research around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Yogurt is considered the most valuable ingredient in probiotic foods because it has a taste and texture that is generally appealing to Western palates.