Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive health : Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care

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FUNCTIONAL FOODS AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS: Edited by Nathalie M. Delzenne and Gerard E. Mullin

Prebiotics, probiotics and digestive health

Balakrishnan, Maya; Floch, Martin H.

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Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care 15(6):p 580-585, November 2012. | DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328359684f


Purpose of review 

The human gastrointestinal lumen is inhabited by a wide variety of microbiota. Our understanding of the intestinal microbiota and its full consequences on gastrointestinal health is still evolving. However, it is well accepted that altered colonic flora drives the pathogenesis of many disorders and diseases as seen in antibiotic-associated diarrhea and Clostridium difficile infection. Recent works published in the area of probiotics are reviewed here.

Recent findings 

Alterations in colonic microbiota, or dysbiosis, are now implicated in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases. Probiotics and prebiotics are evolving treatment options that are targeted at restoring nonpathogenic digestive flora. There has been great interest in the role of these therapies in treatment of many diseases including childhood diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, Clostridium difficile infection, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.


Trials of probiotics have been shown to be helpful in some of these, not in others, and more work is needed in others. We review recent work done in these areas.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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