Many definitions have been proposed for the term “probiotic”. The most recent one is “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. In this definition it is implicite that a health effect must be demonstrated for the probiotics. The beneficial modes of action include: regulation of intestinal microbial homeostasis, stabilization of the gastrointestinal barrier function, expression of bacteriocins, enzymatic activity inducing absorption and nutrition, immunomodulatory effects, inhibition of procarcinogenic enzymes and interference with the ability of pathogens to colonize and infect the mucosa. By enhancing the beneficial components of the gut microbiota it is possible to operate a therapeutic strategy to treat various intestinal disorders and maintain host well being. Results obtained in human and animal application will be presented.
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