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Élie Metchnikoff first suggested the possibility of colonizing the gut with beneficial flora in the early 20th century.

Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed.<ref name=bridging/> The term probiotic is currently used to name ingested microorganisms associated with beneficial effects to humans and animals.<ref name="who.int">Magdalena Araya, Catherine Stanton, Lorenzo Morelli, Gregor Reid, Maya Pineiro, et al., 2006, "Probiotics in food: health and nutritional properties and guidelines for evaluation," Combined Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria, Cordoba, Arentina, 1–4 October 2001, and Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Working Group on Drafting Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food, London, Ontario, Canada, 30 April–1 May 2002 [FAO Food and Nutrition paper 85], pp. 1–50, Rome, Italy:World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) [of the United Nations], ISBN 9251055130, see [1], accessed 11 June 2015.</ref> The term came into more common use after 1980. The introduction of the concept is generally attributed to recipient Élie Metchnikoff, who in 1907 suggested that "the dependence of the intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and to replace the harmful microbes by useful microbes".<ref name=Metchnikoff>Élie [Ilya Ilyich] Metchnikoff, 2004 [1907], The prolongation of life: Optimistic studies, Springer Classics in Longevity and Aging, New York, NY:Springer, ISBN 0826118771, reprint of 1908 English edition by É.M., same title (P. Chalmers Mitchell, Ed.), New York, NY:Putnam, ISBN 0826118763, itself a translation of 1907 French edition by I.I.M., Essais optimistes, Paris:Heinemann,{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Verify source |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[verification needed] }} see [2], accessed 11 June 2015.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }}</ref>{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Page needed |date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[page needed] }} A significant expansion of the potential market for probiotics has led to higher requirements for scientific substantiation of putative beneficial effects conferred by the microorganisms.<ref name=bridging/> Studies on the medical benefits of probiotics have yet to reveal a cause-effect relationship, and their medical effectiveness has yet to be conclusively proven for most of the studies conducted thus far.

Commonly claimed benefits of probiotics include the decrease of potentially pathogenic gastrointestinal microorganisms, the reduction of gastrointestinal discomfort, the strengthening of the immune system, the improvement of the skin's function, the improvement of bowel regularity, the strengthening of the resistance to cedar pollen allergens, the decrease in body pathogens, the reduction of flatulence and bloating, the protection of DNA, the protection of proteins and lipids from oxidative damage, and the maintaining of individual intestinal microbiota in subjects receiving antibiotic treatment.

Scientific evidence to date has been insufficient to substantiate any antidisease claims or health benefits from consuming probiotics.<ref name=bridging/><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref><ref name=snake>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>


Probiotic sections
Intro  Etymology  Definition  History  Research  Side effects  Strains  Commercial probiotics  EFSA scientific review of probiotics   Multiple probiotics   See also  References  Further reading  

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