Probiotics: What are their health benefits? Probiotics, foods or supplements containing live bacteria or yeast, are taken primarily to improve the beneficial microorganism balance in our gastrointestinal system (NCCAM, 2013). Some advertisements claim that probiotic dietary supplements or probiotic-enhanced foods or drinks have a health benefit such as helping digestion and boosting immunity. There are claims that some probiotic supplements are good for infants, others for specific digestion problems, and some even for pets. In this week’s activity you will do some research to learn about a science-based study that supports or doesn’t support the benefits of probiotics. See week 3 course content topic” The Human Microbiome” for background information about probiotics and the human microbiome. Part 1 (due November 8): Select an interesting scholarly article or from a science related news magazine (e.g., Science News, ScienceDaily, Scientific American, Discover, Science, or Nature) about research on probiotics (e.g., a specific bacterium or illness, health benefits, side effects). In your own words describe the purpose or hypothesis of the research and briefly summarize the principal outcomes of the research (2 or 3 sentences) and a sentence about what you found interesting about the article. Articles must be from 2010-2015 and not from Wikipedia or a Blog. Include a complete citation for your article and other sources of information. You might find “An Introduction to Probiotics” by NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine helpful for background information and the section on What the Science Says for some possible topics to search. Sources of definitions for scientific terms include the glossary in the online version of Boundless Microbiology and Medline Plus (http://medlineplus.gov/). Part 2 (due November 15): Ask one of your classmates a question about his or her article, and answer a question from a classmate or the instructor about your article.