How science will help shape future clinical applications of probiotics
Current Issues in Intestinal Microbiology
In a young evolving science, there are always more questions than answers. That is also the situation in the emerging field of Probiotics, and this was made very clear at the International Probiotics Workshop in Amsterdam. In the report of this workshop, we present a selection of the most urgent questions in the field of probiotics. In addition, we propose a few strategies for the future of probiotics research. During the workshop, 120 experts - from disciplines including Human Nutrition, Gastroenterology, Nutritional Therapy, Cell Biology, Microbiology and Immunology - discussed new views on microbe-host interactions and the role of probiotics in prevention and alleviation of gastro-intestinal, atopic and auto-immune diseases. There is a general consensus among the experts that administering defined strains can help in preventing and curing gut flora related diseases: the first clinical trials show a promising role for probiotics. But the system is very complex, and most underlying mechanisms are still unclear. Rapid progress in this field will depend largely on the collaboration between fundamental researchers from different disciplines and medical specialists. Besides, more clinical studies are required to convince authorities and the public of the value of microbial therapies. © Horizon Scientific Press.