An increasing variety of probiotic products is available worldwide

Almost everyone has heard of probiotics: a simple Google search for “probiotics” produces over 56.8 million hits. Despite regulatory constraint in place since 2012, the term probiotic has far from left the minds of consumers. According to Google Trends, interest in the term “probiotic” has been on the rise in a number of European countries. It clearly  highlights the fact that an increasing number of people are aware of probiotics and are searching for related knowledge.

Over the last 20 years, there have been more than 20,000 studies published on probiotics, according to PubMed

Thousands of articles have appeared in peer review scientific journals of the highest quality such as The Lancet, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Gastroenterology and the British Medical Journal.

IPA Europe experts collaborate with scientific organisations on common goals, alliences with globally recognised scientists, with the goal of communicating positive messages that are scientifically based.

IPA Europe Q&A in response to the “2020 AGA Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Role of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders”
June 2020

The recently published Clinical Practice Guidelines on the role of probiotics in the management of gastrointestinal disorders by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) contains some interesting points on the role of probiotics, but also requires some clarifications. Probiotics should not be seen as the magic solution, just as drugs are not solving all the medical problems in the world.

IPA Europe welcomes the approach of analysing probiotic interventions individually, and not grouping different probiotic strains and combinations of strains into one meta-analysis. All studies indicate that the probiotic family is not a single uniform block: if several different probiotics have shown similar effects in different studies, their action depends on the strain, or the combination of strains used.

Much evidence for probiotics substantiates their use to support health and in preventing and mitigating disease and in a wider scope of conditions.

A large majority of trials are conducted in Europe (420 in Europe compared to 270 in North America in 2018). Excluding studies solely because they were not conducted in North America, as AGA states, could therefore reduce the relevance of AGA’s recommendations.

To find out more download the “IPA Europe Q&A on the publication of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) – 2020 Clinical Practice Guidelines of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders”.


How trillions of microbes affect every stage of our life – from birth to old age

On December 17th 2019, National Geographic Magazine published an interesting article on the beneficial effects of microbes on the human body. IPA Europe has welcomed this very interesting article, hoping for more scientists investigating about the surprising impact of the “friendly bacteria”.

Link to the Article

Link to the Tweet

Health benefits of probiotics – ISAPP educational video

On September 30th 2019, ISAPP, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, published  a simple and effective video that explains what are probiotics and their main functions.

Watch the video here

Link to the Tweet

Resilience as a valid measure of health and the implications for health benefits of specific foods and food ingredients

In a recent ISAPP blog post, scientists explored the concept of ‘resilience’ in the context of human physiology, i.e. the ability to remain healthy even when exposed to stress, or to recover from stress faster, and concluded that the recent recognition by EFSA that maintenance of homeostasis is a valid measure of health, provides an opportunity to apply this concept to specific foods and food ingredients.

Download the Press Release

Download the full text of the ISAPP blog

A scientific paper published in European Journal of Public Health reports that those who take probiotics as a preventive measure are less likely to receive antibiotic prescriptions

The systematic review, which was authored by an international group of ten scientists, reviewed studies that administered Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium to healthy people, to determine the impact of probiotics on the incidence or duration of common infectious diseases. In all studies that also tracked antibiotic use, the study found that healthy infants and children who consumed probiotics, rather than a placebo, were at least 29% less likely to receive or consume antibiotics. No studies in adults were included because these studies did not track antibiotic prescriptions.

Link to the pdf paper

IPA Europe comments on the EFSA draft scientific and technical guidance

IPA Europe appreciates the opportunity provided by EFSA to comment on the revised draft guidelines for the preparation and presentation of a health claim application. IPA Europe continues to request the possibility of having a dialogue between the applicant and EFSA prior to the submission of a dossier.

IPA Europe comments on the revised EFSA guidance documents

On 18 January, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the revised guidance for health claims related to the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and defence against pathogenic microorganisms, and also the general scientific guidance on health claim applications. IPA Europe is happy to see that these documents clarify some questions, and that the consultation procedure has therefore been productive. However, there are also still a number of points that IPA Europe believes have not been adequately considered.

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The Clinical and Economic Impact of Probiotics Consumption on Respiratory Tract Infections: Projections for Canada

The aim of this study was to assess the impact of probiotic use in terms of number of RTI episodes and days averted, and the number of antibiotic prescriptions and missed workdays averted, in the general population of Canada. In addition, the corresponding economic impact from both a healthcare payer and a productivity perspective was estimated.

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The science of ferments, fermentation, the microbiota & the health of yogurt

This paper, published by Danone, describes the vision of two extraordinary men: Elias Metchnikoff, the first person to observe the health benefits of microorganisms and Isaac Carasso, who was later inspired by the work of Elias Metchnikoff and subsequently founded Danone in order to produce a delicious food with health benefits.

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Probiotic consumption makes economic sense

A recently published study has calculated the economic impact of probiotic consumption (Lenoir-Wijnkoop et al., 2015). This study was sponsored by the Global Alliance for Probiotics (GAP) that have recently joined forces with the Yogurt and Live fermented milks Association (YLFA) and the International Probiotic Organization (IPA) to form IPA Europe.

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Probiotics, prebiotics and the gut microbiota

The purpose of the monograph is to discuss in understandable terms the current abundant scientific knowledge on prebiotics, probiotics and the intestinal microbiota, including the resulting effects on the host. The monograph does not address the detailed regulatory aspects of the topic. The challenge in nutritional sciences is not to tackle disease with a pharmaceutical approach, but rather to maintain and support health and thereby reduce the risk of disease.

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Potential economic impact of probiotics in respiratory tract infections

Click here to download a summary of this study

Public health and budget impact of probiotics on common respiratory tract

Two recent meta-analyses by the York Health Economics Consortium (YHEC) and Cochrane demonstrated probiotic efficacy in reducing the duration and number of common respiratory tract infections (CRTI) and associated antibiotic prescriptions. A health-economic analysis was undertaken to estimate the public health and budget consequences of a generalized probiotic consumption in France.

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Gut microbiota, probiotics and their impact throughout the lifespan

A major symposium hosted in Boston at the Harvard Medical School looked at “Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Their Impact Throughout the Lifespan”. Leading researchers from around the world convened to discuss current and emerging science in four areas of the age spectrum (Pregnancy, Neonatal Period, Adult Period, Older Adults). The Executive Proceedings provides a brief view of the topics covered in each of these areas.

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The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic

An expert panel convened in October 2013 by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) to discuss the field of probiotics. This document represents the conclusions of the ISAPP consensus meeting on the appropriate use and scope of the term probiotic.

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The potential for emerging therapeutic options for Clostridium difficile infection

The potential for emerging treatment options and efficacy of anti-C. difficile vaccines are discussed in this review.

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