Viability plays an important role in the beneficial microbes (probiotics) to produce health benefits. However, this idea has been changed after the invention of the term "paraprobiotics," indicating that non-viable microbes could produce health benefits similar to those produced by live probiotics. Occasionally, it might be dangerous to administer live probiotics to people with weak immunity. In such cases, ingestion of paraprobiotics could be a potential alternative. The definition of paraprobiotics refers to the use of inactivated (non-viable) microbial cells or cell fractions to provide health benefits to the consumer. Paraprobiotics have attracted much attention because of their long shelf life, safety, and beneficial effects, such as modulation of immunity, modification of biological responses, reduction of cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative properties. These features indicate that paraprobiotics may play a vital role in improving the health of the consumer by enhancing particular physiological functions, even though the exact underlying mechanisms have not yet been completely elucidated. In this mini-review, we briefly discuss the historical backgrounds of paraprobiotics and evidence of their health-promoting effects, prophylactic, and therapeutic properties.
Keywords: Paraprobiotics; biological response modifier; health benefits; inactivated (non-viable); technological feasibilities.