What is Probiotics???
The internationally endorsed definition of probiotics is live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.Other definitions advanced through the years have been restrictive by specification of mechanisms, site of action, delivery format, method, or host. Probiotics have been shown to exert a wide range of effects. The mechanism of action of probiotics (e.g., having an impact on the intestinal microbiota or enhancing immune function) was dropped from the definition to encompass health effects due to novel mechanisms and to allow application of the term before the mechanism is confirmed.
CRITERIA FOR AN IDEAL PROBIOTIC
An ideal probiotic should contain sufficient number of viable microorganisms which can withstand the hostile gut environment like pH variations. It should be stable in large numbers, and be non-pathogenic, non-toxic and preferably host-specific strain(s) of beneficial microbes. Probiotics include Gram-positive organisms, acid and bile resistant, and must be having a short generation time. These should adhere to intestinal epithelium, have the ability to rapidly and efficiently colonize the intestine and edge out the pathogenic microbes, and be persistently present among gut micro flora. They should have the ability to produce antimicrobial compounds and modulate immune responses in a healthier way. Probiotics need to be free of diffusible antibiotic resistant genes, be sufficiently stable while manufacturing, processing and storage, should not undergo recombination with pathogenic strains and should not produce any side effects. These should preferably overcome pelleting temperatures and be compatible with most additives. Also these should have good sensory properties.