Probiotics and prebiotics in dietetics practice

J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Mar;108(3):510-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.12.009.


Probiotics and prebiotics share a unique role in human nutrition, largely centering on manipulation of populations or activities of the bacteria that colonize our bodies. Benefits of regular consumption of probiotics or prebiotics include enhanced immune function, improved colonic integrity, decreased incidence and duration of intestinal infections, down-regulated allergic response, and improved digestion and elimination. Research has shown that probiotics and prebiotics may be useful in achieving these and other positive effects, provided that proper strain, product selection, and dosing guidelines of commercial products are followed. There is a need to consolidate the basic and applied research on probiotics and prebiotics into useful tools for food and nutrition professionals. Information on probiotic species, applications for specific strains, dosages and forms, safety, and shelf life is not sufficiently summarized to allow practical and consistent recommendations to be made by most food and nutrition professionals. In addition, prebiotic fibers-although providing nutraceutical and nutritional value-are a group of diverse carbohydrate ingredients that are poorly understood in regard to their origin, fermentation profiles, and dosages required for health effects. The science and practice-based guidelines presented here will enhance clinician and client understanding of probiotics and prebiotics, with the aim of improving appropriate recommendation and informed use of these emerging dietary ingredients and the products containing them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietetics / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Food Labeling
  • Food, Organic
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Probiotics*