The goal of the First Global Summit on the Health Effects of Yogurt, Boston, 2013, was to review and evaluate the strength of current scientific knowledge with regard to the health benefits of yogurt and to identify areas where further research is needed.
A new research line is open for scientists: to assess and exploit the strain-specific beneficial properties of traditional yogurt starter cultures. Bacteria used to ferment milk to obtain yogurt belong to thermophilic, bile-sensitive species of lactic acid bacteria, which are not ideally suited for survival into the human gut. However, assessing the viability of these bacteria through the digestive tract may be relevant to evaluate their potential to deliver some beneficial effects for the well-being of the consumer.
The well-known reduction in the symptoms caused by lactose maldigestion is not the only benefit provided by yogurt starter cultures. An additional example of a beneficial action exerted by yogurt cultures, which is not related to lactose digestion, is the improvement of the vitamin B profile in adults, with special attention paid to young healthy women.