Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
That is, verbatim, how FAO/WHO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization) defined the term “probiotic" during its joint working group meeting in 2002 to draft guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. Meaning “for life," the term probiotic covers a range of live organisms often collectively called beneficial bacteria.
The crux of probiotics’ popularity is due to their healthy actions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, where they can block bad bacteria from attaching to receptors lining the gut. Like musical chairs, if the bad bacteria can’t find a seat, they are essentially out of the game.
However, this simple view of probiotics does not cover all that science has discovered about these good bugs. While the list of researched probiotics is long, there are numerous other probiotics waiting to demonstrate their benefits scientifically. Also, their benefits may go beyond digestive health.
For companies looking to source probiotics, this expands the number of probiotic options available, but it also presents a challenge to finding the right one for a given formulation. INSIDER’s probiotics buyer’s guidebook is designed to provide information on the latest research behind probiotic health benefits, the popular probiotics on the market and the numerous probiotic characteristics important to both purchasing and processing.