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2021-01-21

Probiotics and Live Cultures Part II

We previously looked into what probiotics and their potential benefits are - but are they suitable for everyone? And is it safe to take them?

One of the conditions for categorising a microorganism as a probiotic is its absolute safety, and the majority of those strains classified as probiotics are in fact safe for human consumption. Only in immunocompromised patients, with specific health conditions, special caution must be taken and seeking professional advice is recommended. In healthy individuals (a term that covers most consumers) probiotics act as live microorganisms which, when, administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. These health benefits are the reason why the probiotics market have grown at a very high rate in the last years.

Today, an application as innovative as live cultures is studied and arouses special interest in sectors as diverse as Food and Medicine, however in the future it is highly probable that this distinction will be minimised. With research and advances in the genetic modification of probiotic strains, recombinant species will be obtained that are capable of producing specific active principles and nutrients in vivo, inside the patient's intestine, and will act as live biotherapeutics.

What is the current situation?

In recent years, the interest of the average consumer with respect to probiotics has grown considerably, in a trend stimulated by the desire for a healthy lifestyle and the concept of functional nutrition. This fact has led to a more pronounced commercial interest in foods enriched with probiotics, which comprise a substantial share of functional foods. This new market is growing exponentially, and thanks to numerous studies undertaken over the last few years, numerous products that come under the classification of probiotics have been developed.

 

Can I declare that my product contains probiotics?

In terms of food labelling to detail the presence of probiotic strains in foods and food supplements, as well as their potential health benefits, each country’s own legislation needs to be taken into account. The use of the word "probiotic" is currently allowed in Spain by AESAN in the labelling of food products and food supplements manufactured in the country, provided that these products comply with the requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002. With respect to statements regarding health benefits or health claims, these declarations are only allowed for those specific strains that appear on the EFSA list, to date, no health claim associated to probiotics consumption has been approved by EFSA for labelling, apart from yoghurt bacteria.

For more information on how consuming probiotics can improve your health, we recommend visiting the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) at https://isappscience.org/

If you are interested in acquiring probiotic microorganisms to enrich your food products, please feel free to consult our experts and obtain our probiotic microorganism catalogue.

More information?