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History of Probiotics

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*Retrieved from on December 2, 2022.

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Probiotics have a long and rich history, dating back to ancient times. The concept of using beneficial microorganisms to improve health has been used in various cultures throughout history. Here are some highlights from the history of probiotics:

  • In ancient Egypt, the physician Imhotep recommended using fermented foods to treat digestive issues.

  • In ancient Greece, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used fermented milk to treat patients with digestive issues and recommended wine for health.

  • In the early 20th century, Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff observed that Bulgarian peasants who consumed large amounts of fermented milk had a longer lifespan. 

  • In the 1900s, Dr. Henry Tissier of France discovered the first strain of Bifidobacteria, a group of probiotic bacteria commonly found in the human gut.

  • In the 1950s, Vergin proposed the definition of probiotics as active substances that are essential for a healthy development of life. 

  • In the early 2000s there were around 1000 articles about probiotics on PubMed, in 2020s.the number is over 41,250.

  • In the late 20th century, probiotics began to gain popularity in the Western world as well, and today they are widely available in various forms, including supplements, fermented foods, and probiotic-infused products.

To read more about the probiotics history, please see the below resources:

- Wikipedia - Probiotic


- Probiotics History
Gasbarrini, G., Bonvicini, F., & Gramenzi, A. (2016). Probiotics History. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 50(Suppl. 1), S116-S119. doi:10.1097/MCG.0000000000000697.


- The history of probiotics: the untold story

Ozen, M., & Dinleyici, E. C. (2015). The history of probiotics: the untold story. Beneficial Microbes, 6(2), 159-165. doi:10.3920/BM2014.0103. PMID: 25576593.

- Recycling Metchnikoff: Probiotics, the Intestinal Microbiome and the Quest for Long Life

Mackowiak, P. A. (2013). Recycling metchnikoff: probiotics, the intestinal microbiome, and the quest for long life. Frontiers in Public Health, 1, 52. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2013.00052. PMID: 24350221; PMCID: PMC3859987.

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