The Science behind Probiotics

…the basis for health claims on intestinal transit

A recent study with Bifidobacterium lactis HN019™ showed that the strain shortens long colonic transit times and relieves gastrointestinal symptoms associated with slow transit. This high quality research has led the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office to approve a health claim for HN019™ for maintaining normal digestion by shortening intestinal transit time.


It is estimated that up to a quarter of the otherwise healthy adult population suffers from constipation. Women are more likely to be affected than men, as are older subjects. Constipation is one of the main symptoms of slow colonic transit. Although it is a relatively benign condition, it affects quality of life and may have social and economic consequences. The most common remedies include increased intake of fluids, as well as of dietary fibre, and increased physical exercise. Furthermore, selected probiotics have been observed to shorten long colonic transit time and relieve the symptoms associated with it. This, and other health benefits, means that specific microbes indeed are probiotics.
Recently, the most generally accepted definition of probiotics was reconfirmed; “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. A major effort for probiotic manufacturers and manufacturers of consumer products with probiotics is to guarantee their viability until end of shelf life.

This article is available in full in the Summer 2014 issue of Nutraceuticals Now