Curd: a Sedative with a Bonus Bowl of Useful Side Effects
- Parle Milind, Malik Jyoti
Probiotics (bacteria or yeasts) were defined by the Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) joint report as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts (in food or as a dietary supplement) confer a health benefit on the host. The best-demonstrated potential clinical benefits of probiotic agents, specifically in the pediatric population, are in the prevention and management of acute diarrhea, antibiotic associated diarrhea, and evidence is mounting on their potential benefits in atopic disease, inflammatory bowel conditions, and necrotizing enterocolitis. Their beneficial effects seem to be strain specific, thus, pooling data from different strains may result in misleading conclusions. Because there was no international consensus on methodology to assess efficiency and safety of probiotics, in 2001 the FAO/WHO undertook work to compile and evaluate the scientific evidence on functional and safety aspects of probiotics. International criteria have been developed to formulate unequivocal criteria for probiotic bacterial strains and products that contain them. More recently, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) highlighted as critical factors for probiotic health claim submissions genetic typing, internationally recognised naming protocols and evidence of consistency in the final product.