Probiotics have a long history of human use and are traditionally consumed in several parts of the world. These are live microbes that can be formulated into many different types of products, including foods, drugs, and dietary supplements. Examples of foods containing probiotics are yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages. Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics; but certain yeasts and bacilli may also fit the bill. Probiotics are also called "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria". They are gaining importance because of the innumerable benefits, e.g. treating lactose intolerance, hypercholesterolemia and managing cardiac problems like atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis. With the current focus on disease prevention and the quest for optimal health at all ages, the probiotics potential could reign high. Health professionals and pharmaceutical companies need to objectively help and guide their clients and consumers toward appropriate prophylactic and therapeutic uses of probiotics that deliver the desired beneficial health effects, shunning type and instant benefits.
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