Department of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, University of Turku, Finland.
Probiotic bacteria are used to treat disturbed intestinal microflora and increased gut permeability which are characteristic to many intestinal disorders. Examples include children with acute rotavirus diarrhoea, subjects with food allergy, subjects with colonic disorders and patients undergoing pelvic radiotherapy and sometimes changes associated with colon cancer development. In all such disease states altered intestinal microflora, impaired gut barrier and different types of intestinal inflammation are present. Successful probiotic bacteria are able to survive gastric conditions and colonize the intestine, at least temporarily, by adhering to the intestinal epithelium. Such probiotic microorganisms appear to be promising candidates for the treatment of clinical conditions with abnormal gut microflora and altered gut mucosal barrier functions. They are also promising ingredients to future functional foods and clinical foods for specific disease states provided that basic requirements for strains and clinical studies are carefully followed.