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What are probiotics?

Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. The term probiotic is currently used to name ingested microorganisms associated with benefits for humans and animals

The term came into more common use after 1980. The introduction of the concept (but not the term) is generally attributed to Nobel laureate Élie Metchnikoff, who postulated that yogurt-consuming Bulgarian peasants lived longer lives because of this custom. He suggested in 1907 that “the dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes”. A significant expansion of the potential market for probiotics has led to higher requirements for scientific substantiation of putative benefits conferred by the microorganisms.

Although there are numerous claimed benefits of using commercial probiotics, such as reducing gastrointestinal discomfort, improving immune health, relieving constipation, or avoiding the common cold, such claims are not backed by scientific evidence