Probiotic and prebiotic influence beyond the intestinal tract

Nutr Rev. 2007 Nov;65(11):469-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00272.x.


Probiotics and prebiotics have long been appreciated for their positive influences on gut health. Research on the mechanisms and effects of these agents shows that their impact reaches beyond the intestine. Effects on the microecology and pathology of the oral cavity, stomach, and vaginal tract have been observed. Likely mediated through immune influences, systemic effects such as reduced severity of colds or other respiratory conditions, impact on allergy incidence and symptoms, and reduced absences from work or daycare have also been noted. These observations, among others, suggest a broader spectrum of influence than commonly considered for these unique substances.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Dietary Supplements / microbiology
  • Digestive System / immunology
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immune System / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Probiotics*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rats
  • Respiratory System / immunology
  • Respiratory System / microbiology*
  • Urogenital System / immunology
  • Urogenital System / microbiology*