What Makes a Probiotic
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1. Correct identification of the microorganism
The classification of a microorganism is a fundamental requirement to ensure its safety and efficacy. The actions of probiotics are strain-specific, so it is important to know the “name and surname” (Latin binomial) of the strain we are taking and its ability to interact with our organism.
2. Contains adequate amounts of live cells
Probiotic microorganisms must be present in adequate quantities to colonise the intestinal environment. Based on the scientific evidence available, and as reported in the Guidelines on Probiotics and Prebiotics of the Italian Ministry of Health (revision May 2018), the minimum quantity to obtain a temporary colonisation of the intestine is generally at least 1 billion live cells per day.
3. Ability to cross the gastrointestinal tract alive and colonise the intestine
One of the fundamental requirements for a microorganism to be defined as a “probiotic” is its ability to journey through the gastrointestinal tract alive and arrive alive and vital in the intestine.
The probiotic bacteria must have the ability to resist stomach acids and bile salts.
Once in the intestine, the probiotic must then be able to adhere to the intestinal mucosa and reproduce.
To demonstrate that a probiotic is able to survive the gastrointestinal transit to multiply and colonise the human intestine, recovery studies can be conducted in which probiotic cells are sought in the faeces.
4. Ability to benefit the host
Probiotics can bring numerous benefits to the host by acting at various levels. As numerous clinical studies have shown,favouring the balance of intestinal bacteria, probiotics can be useful in many situations, such as:
– diarrhoea caused by antibiotic therapy
– diarrhoea from pathogenic or virus
– infections – helicobacter pylori infections
– Inflammatory bowel diseases
– disorders and infections of the urogenital tract