Ilya Metchnikoff has been named the father of the probiotic concept which refers to the use of specific dairy bacteria to confer health benefit to the host.

Ilya Metchnikoff
In 1900 Metchnikoff worked at the Pasteur Institute, which is an institute that is famous for its research of bacteria, diseases and vaccines. Metchnikoff developed a revolutionary theory that aging is caused by toxic bacteria in the gut and that lactic acid could prolong life. He developed this theory when he studied Bulgarian and Russian tribes.

As the nomads moved around frequently, the milk transported on the back of the horses fermented. As the nomads consumed large amounts of the sour milk and reached a remarkable high age, Metchnikoff believed there was a link between healthy high age of the nomads and their frequent intake of sour milk. He published his theory, Longevity without ageing, in 1907 in his book The Prolongation of Life: Optimistic Studies. In this book he espoused the potential life-lengthening properties of lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus.

This later inspired others to begin investigating a causal relationship between bacteria and good intestinal health, which eventually led to the worldwide marketing of other fermented milk drinks and products.


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