Gupta, V.; Garg, R.
July 2009
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;Jul2009, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p202
Academic Journal
The term "probiotic" was first used in 1965, by Lilly and Stillwell, to describe substances secreted by one organism which stimulate the growth of another. The use of antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy and irradiation, amongst other means of treatment, may cause alterations in the composition and have an effect on the GIT flora. Therefore, the introduction of beneficial bacterial species to GI tract may be a very attractive option to re-establish the microbial equilibrium and prevent disease. Prebiotic is a non-digestible food ingredient that confers benefits on the host by selectively stimulating one bacterium or a group of bacteria in the colon with probiotic properties. Both probiotics and prebiotics are together called as Synbiotics. Various bacterial genera most commonly used in probiotic preparations are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Escherichia, Enterococcus, Bacillus and Streptococcus. Some fungal strains belonging to Saccharomyces have also been used. Probiotics have been shown to be effective in varied clinical conditions-ranging from infantile diarrhoea, necrotizing enterocolitis, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, relapsing Clostridium difficle colitis, Helicobacter pylori infections, inflammatory bowel disease to cancer, female uro-genital infection and surgical infections. Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG has proven beneficial affects on intestinal immunity. It increases the number of IgA and other immunoglobulins secreting cells in the intestinal mucosa. It also stimulates local release of interferons. It facilitates antigen transport to underlying lymphoid cells, which serves to increase antigen uptake in Peyer's patches. Probiotics are live microorganisms, so it is possible that they may result in infection in the host. The risk and morbidity of sepsis due to probiotic bacteria should be weighed against the potential for sepsis due to more pathological bacteria and the morbidity of diseases for which probiotic bacteria are being used as therapeutic agents. Also, future, well-designed placebo controlled studies with validated results are required for ascertaining the true health benefits of probiotics The important point in this regard is careful selection of the probiotic agent, its dose standardization and a thorough knowledge of its beneficial effects.


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