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Vol. 8 - Num. 5

Child nutrition

Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. Definition, functions and clinical application in paediatrics

Alfonso Barrio Merinoa

aSección de Gastroenterología, Hepatología y Nutrición Pediátrica. Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre. Madrid. España.

Reference of this article: Barrio Merino A. Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. Definition, functions and clinical application in paediatrics. Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2006;8 Supl 1:S99-118.

Published in Internet: 31-03-2006 - Visits: 10262


A substantial change in the attitude against alimentation has emerged lately. Consumers are aware of the influence of diet on modulating the risk of disease development as well as of the relationship between diet and quality of life. Administration authorities know and approve the benefit derived from the consumption of certain foods, in terms of public health. Finally, these same authorities are currently evaluating the economic benefit derived from the support of such recommendations concerning the prevention of diseases. Scientific bases supporting the intake of some foods considered empirically as healthy being part since centuries of the usual diet of different populations are every day better known. The aim of this review is, firstly, to clarify the terminology related with those foods; thus, terms as ?probiotics? or ?functional food? are commonly used not only by some media specialized on nutrition, but also in newspapers and journals of the mass media, so these terms belong today to general vocabulary. Secondly, the physiological functions of those foods are exposed, as a necessary first step in order to better understand its theoretical contribution to illnesses prevention and treatment. Later, those scientific reports evaluating the clinical repercussion of using these foods are outstood, with special emphasis on the systematic reviews whose conclusions are more relevant than those from isolated reports. Finally, the conclusions and recommendations of the most influent scientific societies of Europe are presented, as a reference in order to make a decision or to recommend the employment of a product.


Feeding Functional food Nutrition Prebiotics Probiotics

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