Probiotics and prebiotics: Prospects for public health and nutritional recommendations

Mary Ellen Sanders, Irene Lenoir-Wijnkoop, Seppo Salminen, Daniel J. Merenstein, Glenn R. Gibson, Bryon W. Petschow, Max Nieuwdorp, Daniel J Tancredi, Christopher J. Cifelli, Paul Jacques, Bruno Pot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Probiotics and prebiotics are useful interventions for improving human health through direct or indirect effects on the colonizing microbiota. However, translation of these research findings into nutritional recommendations and public health policy endorsements has not been achieved in a manner consistent with the strength of the evidence. More progress has been made with clinical recommendations. Conclusions include that beneficial cultures, including probiotics and live cultures in fermented foods, can contribute towards the health of the general population; prebiotics, in part due to their function as a special type of soluble fiber, can contribute to the health of the general population; and a number of challenges must be addressed in order to fully realize probiotic and prebiotic benefits, including the need for greater awareness of the accumulated evidence on probiotics and prebiotics among policy makers, strategies to cope with regulatory roadblocks to research, and high-quality human trials that address outstanding research questions in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-29
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Dietary guidelines
  • Healthy diet
  • Prebiotics
  • Probiotics
  • Public health policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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