Expert Views® is a white paper-like publication that is designed to provide a valuable, scientific tool to enhance understanding of the terminology, definitions, patient management practices, and overall health and wellness across multiple therapeutic areas. Each publication is developed by health care professionals for health care professionals.


Exploring the Health Benefits Different Types of Fiber

Thomas MS Wolever, MS, PhD

Fiber has long been heralded as an important component of a healthy diet. High-fiber diets have been associated with a number of health benefits, including cholesterol lowering, maintaining healthy glycemic control, maintaining a healthy weight, lowering the risk of heart disease, and helping maintain bowel regularity. Despite these benefits, however, fiber intake in the United States remains low, leading the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to consider it a “nutrient of concern.” Further, because not all fibers deliver the same health benefits, the availability of various types of dietary fibers and supplements can lead to confusion when trying to tailor a fiber regimen to address specific health needs. In order to achieve specific health benefits from fiber, healthcare professionals and patients should consider the types of fiber in their diets, as well as the role different fiber supplements can play in helping them achieve their health goals.


Answering Frequently Asked Questions About Probiotics

Leonard Fromer, MD

With the growing appreciation for the role of the human microbiota in health, a diverse range of health benefits have been increasingly recognized.1 The intestinal flora, in particular, may impact human health through various protective, structural, and metabolic functions. Although these mechanisms have not been fully characterized, probiotic bacteria are believed to confer health benefits by bolstering these effects. Research regarding probiotics has exploded over the past decade, with the volume of medical literature involving these agents increasing more than 10-fold in the past decade, compared to the previous decade. Probiotics are a growing trend in the marketplace, attributable to increasing consumer education and awareness as well as new product introductions.


Demystifying Probiotics

Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD

Human bodies are highly colonized, with the number of microbial cells outnumbering human cells by a factor of 10 to 1. Recognizing the profound impact of microbes to human health, global initiatives are currently underway to study native microbial communities and how they correlate with human health and disease. A key effort in this respect is the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Human Microbiome Project, which is utilizing metagenomics to characterize human microbial communities and make this information available as a comprehensive, publicly available data set for international research efforts to understand and improve health. It is likely that such research efforts will also contribute much to our understanding of probiotic bacteria, live microorganisms which have the potential of providing a diverse range of health benefits.


Facts and Fiction:
Dispelling the Myths and Misconceptions of Probiotics

Darren M. Brenner, MD

The complex microbial communities of the gastrointestinal tract—by far the most densely colonized human organ—are now appreciated to play an important role in human health. Although not fully characterized, probiotic bacteria are believed to confer health benefits by bolstering the myriad protective, structural, and metabolic functions of the normal intestinal microbiota. With the recognition of these potential benefits, there has been increasing interest in probiotic products within the scientific community, with consumers, and in the food industry. Despite expanding knowledge, however, many questions about probiotics remain unanswered, and misinformation and misconceptions are common.


Optimizing Self-Treatment of Occasional Sleep Disturbances/Sleeplessness

Thomas Roth, Ph.D.

Throughout recorded history, philosophers, poets and scientists around the world have mused over the origins of sleep and its importance to physical and mental health. Indeed, people have pursued remedies to manage sleep for as long as sleep has been recognized as a priority for humans. As far back as 2800 B.C., the Chinese used ginseng root for its sedative properties, while the ancient Greeks used remedies made from geese and snakes, as well as opiates from poppies for sleep therapy.


Optimizing the Over-the-Counter Management of Heartburn

Philip O. Katz, MD

Heartburn is an extremely prevalent condition, affecting 44% to 60% of all Americans at least once monthly, nearly 30% two or more days per week, and up to 7% daily. Indeed, more than 50 million Americans are believed to experience the condition of frequent heartburn, defined as occurring at least 2 days a week. For these millions of heartburn sufferers, the availability of over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn medications offers the potential for effective patient-directed management and substantial symptom improvement when used appropriately.


Optimizing the Treatment of Frequent Heartburn in
the Primary Care Setting

Philip O. Katz, MD
Leonard Fromer, MD
Catherine Cone, PharmD, BCPS, PhC

Heartburn is a very prevalent condition with approximately 44% of all Americans experiencing heartburn at least once a month,1 and nearly 70 million Americans are believed to experience frequent heartburn, which is defined as heartburn that occurs two or more days a week. For the millions of frequent heartburn sufferers, over-the-counter (OTC) proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may be appropriate therapies when antacids or histamine2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) are not providing the needed efficacy. PPIs offer the potential for effective patient-directed management and substantial symptom improvement when used appropriately.