Another health breakthrough has just come in the area of probiotics. The now-famous “friendly” bacteria so often promoted on the cartons of yogurt have been found potentially useful in treating stomach ulcers caused by “Helicobacter pylori” (H. pylori). Of all the highly promoted alternative therapies, probiotics are right up there among the most effective.
The news comes in a study published this past February in “Applied and Environmental Microbiology.”
H. pylori are considered one of the major risk factors underlying the development of gastritis and ulcers in the gastrointestinal system and duodenum. As it stands now, antibiotic-based treatment is not sufficiently effective or satisfactory. The most successful treatments are 75% to 90% effective in killing off the ulcer completely.
Probiotics are a potentially promising tool for the prevention of H. pylori. Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, give the human body health benefits. Taking them regularly has been found to prevent several disorders, including diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease, and has also been linked to a wide array of other health issues.
The “Bifidobacterium” strain is one of the favorites used by studies to prevent gastrointestinal infection. It is also the kind often found in dairy products and supplements. Some studies have been done in test tubes that have shown bifidobacteria acting against H. pylori.
The next step after the test tube is mice. And more good news came. Here, researchers tested numerous strains of bifidobacteria for activity against H. pylori. They identified one strain (“Bifidobacterium bifidum” CECT 7366) that, under certain conditions was 95% effective in stopping ulcers in test tubes.
After 21 days, mice with the probiotic strain developed significantly fewer ulcers than the control group. More tests show that the treatment partially relieved damage to gastric tissue caused by H. pylori infection. And it proved very safe for both healthy mice and those with compromised immune systems.
Human studies are, of course, needed to confirm these results. But nevertheless it’s a dose of solid health news from the world of probiotics, which seem to have limitless powers in making your intestinal system optimally healthy.