Influence of Probiotics on Dietary Protein Digestion and Utilization in the Gastrointestinal Tract

Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2019;20(2):125-131. doi: 10.2174/1389203719666180517100339.


Protein is essential to growth and metabolism. Many factors influence dietary protein digestion and utilization in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics have attracted increasing attention in recent years owing to their broad health benefits, which may include a positive influence on the digestion and utilization of proteins. Several observations support their potential role in protein digestion. For example, probiotics can regulate the intestinal microflora and thereby influence intestinal bacteria related to proteolysis. Probiotics can also induce host digestive protease and peptidase activity, and some can release exoenzymes involved in the digestion of proteins. In addition, probiotics can improve the absorption of small peptides and amino acids by improving the absorption ability of the epithelium and enhancing transport. Furthermore, probiotics can reduce harmful protein fermentation and thus decrease the toxicity of metabolites. In this review, the roles of probiotics in intestinal protein digestion and utilization and the potential mechanisms underlying these effects are discussed.

Keywords: Probiotic; absorption; digestion; fermentation; microflora; protein..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Probiotics / metabolism*
  • Proteolysis


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases