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: 6294
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
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.
Keywords● Feeding ● Functional food ● Nutrition ● Prebiotics ● Probiotics