Special yogurt fights ulcer-causing bacteria

March 23rd, 2009 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 23 (IANS) Human clinical studies have shown how a new yogurt fights bacteria-causing gastritis and stomach ulcers, with almost vaccine-like effects.
Researchers have long known that yogurt, a fermented milk product containing live bacteria, is a healthy source of calcium, protein, and other nutrients.

Some brands of the item now include ‘probiotics’, certain types of bacteria that promote health. Stomach ulcers affect 25 million people in the US alone, and is part of a growing “functional food” market that now generates $60 billion in annual sales.

“With this new yogurt, people can now enjoy the taste of yogurt while preventing or eliminating the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers,” said Hajime Hatta, chemist at Kyoto Women’s University in Kyoto, Japan, who coordinated the study.

The new yogurt is already on store shelves in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. The study opens the door to possible arrival of the product in the US, the researchers suggest.

A type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or over-use of aspirin and or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, causes most stomach ulcers.

H. pylori ulcers can be effectively treated and eliminated with antibiotics and acid suppressants. However, that simple regimen is unavailable to millions of poverty-stricken people in developing countries infected with H. pylori.

Scientists recruited 42 people who tested positive for H. pylori. The volunteers consumed two cups daily of either plain yogurt or yogurt containing the antibody for four weeks.

Levels of urea, a byproduct of urease, decreased significantly in the antibody group when compared with the control group, indicating reduced bacterial activity, the researchers say, according to a university.

“The results indicate that the suppression of H. pylori infection in humans could be achieved by drinking yogurt fortified with urease antibody,” Hatta states. The antibody was eventually destroyed by stomach acid, but not before having its beneficial effect.

These findings were presented at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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