Probiotics are derived from traditional fermented foods, from beneficial commensals or from the environment.
They act through diverse mechanisms affecting the composition or function of the commensal microbiota and by altering host epithelial and immunological responses.
Dr Emeran Mayer and colleagues from California, USA investigated probiotic interventions and noted that some have shown promise in selected clinical conditions where aberrant microbiota have been reported, such as atopic dermatitis, necrotizing enterocolitis, pouchitis and possibly irritable bowel syndrome.
However, the team observed that no studies have been conducted that can causally link clinical improvements to probiotic-induced microbiota changes.
|Progress in this area will be facilitated by optimizing product formulations|
Whether a disease-prone microbiota pattern can be remodelled to a more robust, resilient and disease-free state by probiotic administration remains a key unanswered question.
Dr Mayer and commented, "Progress in this area will be facilitated by optimizing strain, dose and product formulations, including protective commensal species, matching these formulations with selectively responsive subpopulations."
"Furthermore, ways will need to be identified to manipulate diet to modify bacterial profiles and metabolism."