Probiotics a Proactive Way to Battle Bad Bugs
A balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract may protect us against H. pylori
Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, for short, is a bacterium found in the digestive tracts of at least half the world's population. If it's so common, why worry about it? It turns out H. pylori can cause serious health issues in some people, including heartburn, stomach ulcers, and increased risk of stomach cancer. What's the best way to battle such a common scourge? Preliminary test tube research suggests fighting fire with fire might be a good first step.
Beating bad bugs
Multiple human studies have shown that probiotics, healthy microbes found in the human digestive tract, support a healthy digestive system. This foundation has given rise to related research, including studies conducted in an artificial environment outside of living organism, such as a test tube or Petri dish (in vitro). Several of these studies have suggested probiotics may keep H. pylori in check. To test whether probiotic bacteria can effectively reduce H. pylori-related stomach damage in the body, researchers conducted a mouse study on certain probiotic microbes (Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366 and B. bifidum CECT 7366).
The latter strain was shown to:
Boosting stomach health
This was not a clinical study, so plenty more research needs to be done, including with humans, to know how much weight to give these initial findings. But it does suggest that a balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract may protect us against the downsides of H. pylori. Follow our tips to help your body gets what it needs and keep H. pylori under control.
(Appl Environ Microbiol 2011; 77:1335-43)
Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.