Dairy products supplemented with probiotic strains are the forerunners of functional foods. Currently, the efficacy and safety of products based on multiple strains and/or multispecies is the subject of growing interest. Such combinations are considered to have either a wide range of effects or a more specifically targeted function in the human alimentary tract. The importance of adequate research on the individual strains and a final combination cannot be over-emphasized. This review describes the development of a multispecies probiotic combination which is formed by two Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains, GG and LC705, one Propionibacterium freudenreichii spp. shermanii, strain JS, and the Bb12 strain of Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis. In vitro adhesion, immunological characteristics and mycotoxin binding by the four strains, individually and in combination, are described, as well as the intestinal survival of the strains. In clinical trials, the multispecies combination reduced symptoms and improved the quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome patients. The multispecies probiotic combination also showed beneficial effects when used as an adjunct to antimicrobial Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy. The multispecies combination forms a promising probiotic preparation with potential to alleviate complex non-infectious disorders that have large societal and economic impacts.
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