Health benefits and health claims of probiotics: bridging science and marketing

Br J Nutr. 2011 Nov;106(9):1291-6. doi: 10.1017/S000711451100287X. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Health claims for probiotics are evaluated by the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Authority. Despite a substantial amount of basic and clinical research on the beneficial effects of probiotics, all of the evaluated claim applications thus far have received a negative opinion. With the restrictions on the use of clinical endpoints, validated biomarkers for gut health and immune health in relation to reduction in disease risk are needed. Clear-cut criteria for design as well as evaluation of future studies are needed. An open dialogue between basic and clinical scientists, regulatory authorities, food and nutrition industry, and consumers could bridge the gap between science and marketing of probiotics.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Communication
  • Drug Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Drug Labeling* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Europe
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Government Agencies
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • Marketing* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Probiotics*
  • Research Design* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Science


  • Biomarkers