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Probiotics: Helping Out the Normal Flora

Stone, Sarah BS; Edmonds, Robin BS; Rosenthal, Ken S. PhD

Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: September 2013 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 305–311
doi: 10.1097/IPC.0b013e318297d780
Immunology/Microbiology in ID

Probiotics consist of bacteria that can be ingested and act by improving the microbiome and its function, enhancing digestion of food and by modulating the individual’s innate and immune response. To be effective, a probiotic microbe must be able to reach, proliferate, and colonize, even temporarily, the digestive tract. In addition to facilitating normal bowel function, probiotics have also been used as prophylactics and therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea. There are many different formulations of probiotics and they differ in activity and potency. Probiotic therapies seem to be a benign adjunct to better-understood treatments that are used for infectious and inflammatory diseases.

From the Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH.

Correspondence to: Ken S. Rosenthal, PhD, Northeast Ohio Medical University, 4209 State Route 44, Rootstown, OH 44272. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.