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Site of digestion, absorption, immune function, and elimination.


Microscopic living organisms.


Single cell microscopic living organisms with 500–1000 different species in the intestine alone.


Bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit an area, (e.g., the intestinal tract).


A term used by researchers to replace microflora.


Live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.


Nondigestible food ingredients that selectively stimulate the growth and/or the activity of beneficial bacteria in the colon and improve health.

Pathogenic bacteria

Disease causing bacteria which can cause both damage to the gut tissue and infections.


Nondigestible fermentable carbohydrate.

Fructooligosaccharide (FOS)

A naturally occurring fructan sugar which acts like a fiber, passing undigested to the large intestine where it is extensively fermented by colonic bacteria.

Galactooligosaccharide (GOS)

Non-digestible oligosaccharides produced by lactose fermentation.


A natural prebiotic fiber used in commercial foods. It is a food source extracted primarily from chicory root rather than a manufactured ingredient.

Functional food

Foods that have health benefits in addition to their nutritive value.

Synbiotic food

Both prebiotic and probiotic ingredients are used in the same food.

Bowel transit time

The amount of time it takes for ingested food to travel through your GI tract and pass out as stool.

Lactose intolerance

The inability to digest lactose, the natural sugar of milk. Symptoms may include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and discomfort.

Milk allergy

Hypersensitivity to milk protein.


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