We have posted earlier about the merits and challenges of deliberately introducing probiotics, or beneficial bacteria in your diet. [1]. This area of nutrition is all the rage at this time, and the food industry has brought to market many products, particularly in the form of “Greek style” yogurts, and kefirs….Other forms of probiotic supporting food can be found in the supermarketsavvy newsletter [2]

Some Greek Style Yogurts On The Market.....(gagefit.blogspot.com)

 

To try to assess the health benefits, one has to turn to objective studies run in the nutrition research centers.Sure enough we can find articles from the Industry, in NutraIngredients [3] :A study shows that Lactobacillus LAFTI® L10 might have immune system boosting properties.  ; similarly, there are  academic studies such as the one from Centre for Plant and Food Science, in Australia [4], which found that, quoting :

“The results of this study indicate that L. acidophilus and L. paracasei are potential enhancers of systemic immunity and are nonpathogenic, as suggested by their bacterial translocation profiles in healthy mice..”

So how confident can the consumer be that there is only good in the bacteria involved in probiotics?

There are some questions as to a shotgun approach:  Take 10 better known bacteria,  wrap them in some food product and it will do some good to somebody…Particularly people with an over/under active immune system should discuss this carefully with an MD knowledgeable in the matter, as discussed in our previous post [5], about probiotics and people with an immune system condition.

Quoting our post and ScienceDirect:

“…Another piece of the puzzle sounds a caution alarm: a study has incriminated Gut-Residing Bacteria Trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis, another auto-immune disease, in Genetically Susceptible Individuals…”

The FDA is a bit weary of broad health claims, as discussed in another article from NewHope360 [6]

Also, is boosting your autoimmune system always a good thing. Quoting [7] the U. of Maryland’s warning about echinacea [an immune booster herb] :

“..People with tuberculosis, leukemia, diabetes, connective tissue disorders, multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS, any autoimmune diseases, or, possibly, liver disorders should not take echinacea. There is some concern that echinacea may reduce the effectiveness of medications that suppress the immune system. For this reason, people receiving organ transplants who must take immunosuppressant medications should avoid this herb..”

Caution.

As always, talk to your Doctor

 

Sources:

[1] MediNewsDigest ; “Understanding The Bacteria World In Our Bodies Is Critical To Our Health” ; April 25, 2011

[2] supermarketsavvy ; April 2007

[4] newhope360 ; “Probiotics: strains matter; Mary Ellen Sanders, Functional Ingredient “; June         2007

[3] NutraIngredients ; “”Beyond the Gut”, scientifically proven probiotics for immune support!” ; Sept 9, 2011

[4] Journal of Food Protection ; “Effect of probiotic strains Lactobacillus acidophilus LAFTI L10 and Lactobacillus paracasei LAFTI L26 on systemic immune functions and bacterial translocation in mice.” ; 2008

[5] MediNewsDigest ;  “Are Probiotics Gut Bacteria Good or Bad For Multiple Sclerosis Or Other Autoimmune Diseases? ” , Oct 30, 2011

[6] newhope360 ; “NDI guidance reveals FDA’s uneasy relationship with probiotics; Hank Schultz, Functional Ingredients”

[7] U. of Maryland Medical center ; Echinacea

 

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