It has been hypothesised that the regular consumption of safe, live microbes confers health-promoting attributes, including the prevention of disease. To address this hypothesis, we propose a scoping review approach that will systematically assess the large corpus of relevant literature that is now available on this research topic. This article outlines a protocol for a scoping review of published studies on interventions with live microbes in non-patient populations across eight health categories. The scoping review aims to catalogue types of interventions, measured outcomes, dosages, effectiveness, as well as current research gaps.
The scoping review will follow the six-staged protocol as proposed by Arksey and O’Malley and will include the following stages: defining the research questions (stage 1); defining the eligibility criteria and finalising search strategy (stage 2); selection of studies based on the eligibility criteria (stage 3); development of a data extraction framework and charting of data (stage 4); aggregation of results and summarisation of findings (stage 5); and the optional consultation with stakeholders (stage 6), which will not be performed.
Since the scoping review synthesises information from existing literature, no separate ethical approval is required. The findings of the scoping review will be communicated for publication to an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal, presented at relevant conferences, and disseminated at future workshops with all relevant data and documents being available online through the Open Science Framework ( https://osf.io/kvhe7).