Introduction to Probiotics and Their Potential Health Benefits

  • Marwa M. El-DalatonyEmail author
  • Xiangkai Li


The use of probiotics in industrialized era has potential health benefits other than the nutritional effects. These probiotics form synbiotic relationship with prebiotics during simultaneous intake and enhance the health benefits. The application of probiotic bacterial formulations in dairy yields is the most public functional food that beneficially affects the host by positively influencing the microflora. The main goal of the chapter is to discuss the origin of probiotics, the historical description of the identification of potential probiotic strains and their various beneficial effects. Another goal is to find the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the population of gut microbiota after the consumption of probiotics and their immunomodulatory effects in disease conditions. The main aim of this chapter is to deliberate the history and origin of probiotics with their effect on the gut microbiota. The principal genera for probiotics formulations are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium, also reported as the dominating genera of normal gut microflora. The probiotics strains have several limitations in context to tolerance to gastrointestinal environment thus more tolerant strains are required to improve their beneficial effects. Bacillus coagulans has also been reported as a potential probiotic due to its spore formation that can resist the gastrointestinal environment and other health benefits. Probiotics help in the restoration of normal gut flora population under different disease conditions as well as during exposure of heavy metals. Immunomodulatory effects of different bacteria as a probiotic have been studied, that showed a significant increase and maintenance of both innate and adaptive immune response. The introduction of next generation probiotics to target specific disease has been studied that showed the potential of various new species with their specific strains to use as probiotics. The action mechanism of the strains is still not clear thus, there is a need to conduct more standardized clinical trials.


Probiotics Gut Microbiota Immune health Heavy metals 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou UniversityLanzhouPR China

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