British Journal of Nutrition

Research Article

Probiotics and intestinal health effects: a clinical perspective

P. Marteaua1 c1, P. Seksika1 and R. Jiana1

a1 Gastroenterology Department, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, 20 rue Leblanc, 75908 Paris CEDEX 15, France


Probiotics are viable non-pathogenic micro-organisms which, when ingested, exert a positive influence on host health or physiology. We have critically analysed the evidence for the efficacy of specific probiotic strains in human gastrointestinal diseases. The best evidence can be obtained with randomised controlled trials which avoid bias. Good evidence has been obtained with several strains in the prevention or treatment of antibiotic-associated disorders, in the treatment (and to a lesser extent prevention) of gastroenteritis and acute diarrhoea and in the alleviation of lactose intolerance. We also analysed the recent randomised controlled trials performed in patients with Clostridium difficile or Helicobacter pylori, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia and colon cancer.


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr P. Marteau, fax +33 1 5609 3554, email