Probiotics are live bacteria which have frequently been reported to be beneficial in preventing a wide range of diseases as well as playing a major role in treating the existing ailments. Thus far, a variety of probiotic products have been developed which can be categorized into two groups: probiotic foods and supplements. Both foods and supplements have been able to confer the health benefits claimed for them. However, it is not known which one can be clinically more efficient, and to the best of our knowledge, until now no research has been conducted to investigate this issue. The present review aims to discuss this matter, based on the evidence available in the literature. To do so, articles indexed in PubMed and ScienceDirect between 2000 and 2011 were reviewed. The articles included the clinical trials in which either foods or supplements were used to administer the probiotics to either patients suffering from different diseases or healthy subjects. Although both foods and supplements seem to have been efficient carriers for the beneficial bacteria, to generally promote public health in communities, probiotic foods appear to be preferred to probiotic supplements.
Keywords: Probiotic products; efficacy; health benefits.