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Probiotics as Flourishing Benefactors for the Human Body

Broekaert, Ilse J. MD; Walker, W. Allan


This article provides a comprehensive review of the beneficial effects of various strains of probiotics in preventing and treating certain diseases.

Currently, changed lifestyles as well as the increased use of antibiotics are significant factors challenging the preservation of a healthy intestinal microflora. The concept of probiotics is to restore and uphold a microflora advantageous for the human body. Probiotics are found in a number of fermented dairy products, infant formula, and dietary supplements. In the presence of prebiotics, which are nondigestible food ingredients favorable for probiotic growth, their survival in the intestine is ameliorated.

Ilse J. Broekaert, MD, is at the Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts; and the Children's Hospital, University of Munich, Germany.

W. Allan Walker, MD, is at the Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children; the Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health; and Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence to: W. Allan Walker, MD, Mucosal Immunology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital-East, 114 16th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129 (e-mail:

This article is being reprinted with permission from Nutrition Today, 41(1), 6–14.

© The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses & Associates 2006. All Rights Reserved.