Scientists and legal experts from the University of Maryland proposed that probiotics in foods, dietary supplements, and drugs should be regulated and tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in an article in the Oct. 17, 2013, issue of the journal Science.
The medical basis for the need for testing is that every human on the planet has a different set of gut bacteria. The variety of gut bacteria is well documented and dependent on every individual’s diet and health.
The researchers argue that simply allowing any product with probiotic microorganisms into the market is inherently unsafe due to the lack of defined knowledge of what each new product contains, the effect of a given bacteria on individuals with certain diseases and health concerns, and the complete lack of any FDA testing protocol for products containing probiotics. The FDA does not even have a definition of what constitutes a probiotic.
The researchers compared some of the claims of health benefits from probiotics to the reality that has been documented by research. The most widely asserted false claim by probiotics is that the product will prevent the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and manage acute infectious diarrhea. Only one known microorganism in probiotics has been proven to accomplish these effects but many products that do not contain the only microorganism that controls diarrhea still make the claim that the product can control diarrhea.
The researchers suggest a modified FDA analysis for yogurt and other foods known to be safe.
The scientists recommend a more rigid FDA format to test the validity of the claims of new probiotic products and to test the microorganism content of new products that could substantiate any claims made by the manufacturer