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The concept of probiotics, live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host, has evolved over the past decades. Today, it spans from probiotics with nutritive claims (nutribiotics) to therapeutic and live biotherapeutic products with proven health claims (pharmabiotics). Furthermore, inactivated, non-viable probiotics (postbiotics) that beneficially modulate host physiology is an emerging therapeutic concept.
Today the majority of the probiotics, included in conventional foods, infant formula, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, are lactic acid bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. However, with the development of better culturing methodologies, sequencing technologies, probiotic encapsulation technologies, and probiotic delivery systems, the next-generation probiotics are likely to include novel microorganisms that address specific consumer needs, cure disease or alleviate symptoms.
While the market and interest for these microbiome-centred products keep growing, the challenges remain to uncover the mechanisms of action of probiotics, synbiotics, and post-biotics and to prove their health effects. Here, high-quality multidisciplinary research elucidating the mechanisms and well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed.
The region is well-positioned to provide science-based evidence for microbiome-based solutions due to the presence of excellent clinical environments, strong academic expertise, and several industry players such as BioGaia, Chr. Hansen and Probi. This reflects in the number of regional clinical trials involving dietary supplements (which would include probiotics, among others), which is high compared to the global average.
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Examples of publications led by researchers affiliated to the region
Axling et al. (2020) The Effect of Lactobacillus plantarum 299v on Iron Status and Physical Performance in Female Iron-Deficient Athletes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients
Håkansson et al. (2019). Effects of Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus paracasei on the Peripheral Immune Response in Children With Celiac Disease Autoimmunity: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients
Mortensen et al. (2019). Bifidobacterium breve Bif195 Protects Against Small-Intestinal Damage Caused by Acetylsalicylic Acid in Healthy Volunteers. Gastroenterology
Schmidt et al. (2019). Probiotics in Late Infancy Reduce the Incidence of Eczema: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatr Allergy Immunol
Laursen et al. (2017). Administration of two probiotic strains during early childhood does not affect the endogenous gut microbiota composition despite probiotic proliferation. BMC Microbiology
Examples of projects within the segment
ADGut - Probiotics to delay the progression or possibly prevent Alzheimer's Disease.
Microbial cell therapies for modulating the gut-brain axis
ProbiComp - Effects of probiotics on allergy and infections during childhood