Probiotics in general

The term Probiotics is derived from the Greek pro (for) and bios (life) with the resulting meaning “for life” or “life-promoting. The most common and frequently used definition of Probiotics is:

“Live microoganisms that when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”1)

1) Source: FAO/WHO (2001)

The concept of probiotics evolved at the turn of the 20th century from a hypothesis fist proposed by Nobel Prize winning Russian scientist Eli Metchnikoff who suggested that the long, healthy live of Bulgarian peasants resulted from their consumption of fermented milk products. He believed that when consumed, the fermenting lactobacillus positively influenced the microflora of the colon, decreasing toxic microbial activities.

The term Probiotics is derived from the Greek pro (for) and bios (life) meaning “for life”

How do they work?

The beneficial effects of probiotics likely result from several complex, interacting mechanisms that will differ for different strains and sites of activity. These mechanisms may include:

  • Competition for binding sites to the intestinal wall
  • Competition for essential nutrients
  • Production of antimicrobial substances
  • Stimulation of mucin production
  • Stabilization of the intestinal barrier
  • Improvement of gut transit
  • Metabolism of nutrients to volatile fatty acids
  • Immune modulation

Source: CAST Issue Paper, Number 36, October 2007.

The potential benefit of probiotics are numerous

Probiotics have emerged as one of the fastest growing product categories with a significant number of new products being launched into the market. The success have created a need for the industry to agree on well defined standards for probiotic product quality, labelling and scientific documentation.

In this context, ISAPP (International Scientific Association For Probiotics and Prebiotics) has emerged as the leading independent and no-profit scientific association with participation of many of the world’s leading academic and industrial scientists with expert knowledge on probiotics.

ISAPP has issued numerous publications, positioning statements and other papers with pertinent information about probiotics.

The International Probiotics Association (IPA) is an international organization with the goal to provide a unique forum for the exchange of research and the latest breakthroughs in probiotic technology and new product development. IPA will work with government bodies and industry to assist in establishing scientific standards for probiotic supplements, probiotic pharmaceutical products and functional foods

One of the challenges facing the probiotic industry is that commercial products frequently are incorrectly labelled and fail to meet label claim for product potency. The latter is of course a concern as product viability is a perquisite for product efficacy.

With the initiatives of ISAPP, IPA and other associations and a general tougher regulatory environment for probiotics; demand on the manufacturers and marketers of probiotics will intensify. This development is critical to maintain the integrity of probiotics and secure a sustainable growth for the industry.

Bifodan is a long standing member of IPA and supports the initiatives of ISAPP to enhance probiotic sustainability necessary to maintain industry growth.

To learn more about the important work of ISAPP and IPA, we encourage you to visit their website:


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