Strain-specificity of probiotic effects has been a cornerstone principle of probiotic science for decades. Certainly, some important mechanisms are present in only a few probiotic strains. But scientific advances now reveal commonalities among members of certain taxonomic groups of probiotic microbes. Some clinical benefits likely derive from these shared mechanisms, suggesting that sub-species-specific, species-specific or genus-specific probiotic effects exist. Human trials are necessary to confirm specific health benefits. However, a strain that has not been tested in human efficacy trials may meet the minimum definition of the term 'probiotic' if it is a member of a well-studied probiotic species expressing underlying core mechanisms and it is delivered at an effective dose.
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