USProbiotics Home

Probiotics, probiotic research and probiotic foods are fast growing topics as consumer awareness continues to increase. The site is a collaborative effort between the CDRF and Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., a leading expert on probiotics in the United States. The objective of this site is to provide a science-based reference to professionals and consumers on probiotic research and the health benefits of probiotics in the United States.

This site will give consumers, healthcare professionals and industry professionals a good background on the world of probiotics – what they are, what we know about them, and what to consider for commercial and personal use.

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are “live microorganisms, that when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host” (FAO 2001, as revised by Hill et al. 2014).

Through the years, many other definitions have been suggested, but this definition is most broadly accepted in the scientific community.

Why Probiotics?

Scientists are learning more each day about the role of microbes in keeping people healthy and the multitude of health benefits associated with consuming the right type and levels of probiotic microbes.

Research has suggested that probiotic bacteria can:

  • Improve digestive function
  • Reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotic therapy
  • Help reduce the risk of certain acute common infectious diseases
  • Improve tolerance to lactose
  • Enhance immune function
  • Reduce crying time in colicky babies

Some studies also report that certain probiotics can play a role in reducing the development of allergy in children, decrease Helicobacter pylori colonization of the stomach and manage relapse of some inflammatory bowel conditions.

See Probiotics Basics for this and more.

Probiotic Documentaries

Probiotic documentary, sponsored in part by CDRF, is now available on DVD.“Microwarriors. The Power of Probiotics” is the most comprehensive and up-to-date film ever produced on probiotics and their contribution to overall health and well-being. See

Video from Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) examining probiotics launched today. Sponsored in part by CDRF, “Germs with a Positive Attitude” features Drs. Todd Klaenhammer and Mary Ellen Sanders. Press release. See video below. CAST.


Rob Knight: How Our Microbes Make Us Who We Are. TED Talk

Jonathan Eisen: Meet Your Microbes
Presented at the TEDMed 2012.


Sanders, M.E. 2010. New York Academy of Sciences, “Science & The City” podcast about probiotics. Free podcast (“More Than A Yogurt Cup”) available at NYAS website and on iTunes (search “Science & The City”).

Open Access Probiotic Review Articles

World Gastroenterology Organisation Handbook on Gut Microbes (2014)

Probiotics: From Bench to Market. (2010)

The science and regulations of probiotic food and supplement product labeling. (2010)

Food formats for effective delivery of probiotics. (2010)

How Do We Know When Something Called “Probiotic” Is Really a Probiotic? A Guideline for Consumers and Health Care Professionals (2009)