For centuries, people have consumed live bacteria in many foods, such as yogurt, cheese, kimchi, and sauerkraut. The mass-marketing of isolated live bacteria for their purported beneficial or “probiotic” properties, however, is a relatively recent phenomenon. The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Yet to be sold as a probiotic supplement in the United States, a live microorganism does not require evidence of efficacy or even safety.
Cohen PA. Probiotic Safety—No Guarantees. JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(12):1577–1578. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.5403
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