subject: probiotics

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Milk is Alive with Mom’s Cells

Surprises upturn accepted routines and demonstrate how little we really know. A new class of immune cell type, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), was recently and unexpectedly discovered in fresh breast milk, and it promises to radically alter scientists’ understanding of how milk protects babies from infections, and possibly much more. The ground-breaking scientific paper [1] describing this discovery was recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association - Paediatrics by Babak Baban and three colleagues from Augusta University. The paper has the modest but revealing title “Presence and Profile of Innate Lymphoid Cells in Human Breast Milk.” Read More...

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotic Milk Reduces Rate of Pre-eclampsia and Pre-term Birth

Probiotics are living microorganisms that improve health when they are administered in sufficient numbers. Often, administration means eating—in yogurt form or perhaps as a food supplement. Orally consumed probiotics can shift the composition of vaginal bacteria, making it harder for potentially pathogenic bacterial and yeast species to grow there. Probiotics have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. And it is these reports that encouraged a team of Scandinavian scientists to investigate whether consuming probiotic milk products during pregnancy cuts the probability of developing pre-eclampsia or having a spontaneous, pre-term birth. The results of their study are promising, not least because probiotic milk products are cheap and widely available. The next step will be to further investigate the mechanistic details of the effects. Read More...

Eating High-Fat Yogurt is Associated with a Lower Risk of Depression in Women

Eating High-Fat Yogurt is Associated with a Lower Risk of Depression in Women

Over the past few years, researchers have found several intriguing links between diet and mental health. For example, unhealthy diets have been associated with a higher risk of developing depression, while healthy diets may instead have a protective effect. These effects are thought to be at least partly mediated by the gut microbiome and may be influenced by both prebiotics and probiotics. Read More...

Eating Whole-fat Yogurt Is Associated with Lower Obesity in an Elderly Population

Eating Whole-fat Yogurt Is Associated with Lower Obesity in an Elderly Population

For those on a diet, it might be natural to reach for low-fat rather than whole-fat yogurt. But the results of a new study might make that decision a little more complicated, at least in some populations. In the study, Carmen Sayón-Orea and her colleagues at the University of Navarra found that eating whole-fat yogurt was associated with a decrease in waist circumference and a greater probability of reducing abdominal obesity in an elderly population at high cardiovascular risk. The researchers didn’t find a similar association with low-fat or total yogurt consumption. Read More...

De-stressing with Dairy

De-stressing with Dairy

When, a few years ago, researchers analyzed fecal samples from volunteer undergraduates at Swinburne University of Technology, in Victoria, Australia, they didn’t necessarily expect to find evidence of the students’ examination stress. Yet the fecal lactic acid levels—reflecting the amount of “good bacteria” of the genus Lactobacillus in the students’ guts—took a dive during the exam period. In other words, exam stress had caused the volunteers’ intestines to become more favorable environments to pathogenic organisms. As the exams went on, things only got worse: the researchers observed day-by-day reductions in the undergraduates’ fecal lactic acid levels. This couldn’t have been because exam-period diets were messing with the students’ health—the only significant dietary change was an increase in coffee consumption. Read More...

Creating Therapeutic Yogurt for Treatment of Arthritis

Creating Therapeutic Yogurt for Treatment of Arthritis

Consuming dairy products, such as milk or yogurt, is known to be good for general health. New research may make dairy products even more beneficial by enabling them to treat certain autoimmune diseases such as arthritis. Read More...

How Probiotic Bacteria Protect Against Allergy to Cow’s Milk

How Probiotic Bacteria Protect Against Allergy to Cow’s Milk

Whether it’s to nuts, cow’s milk, eggs, or some other food, food allergies have become increasingly common in recent decades. Allergy to cow’s milk is especially common, affecting up to 3% of children worldwide. There have been many recent efforts to treat cow’s milk allergy, and probiotics have looked particularly promising. Recent studies have shown that feeding infants formula supplemented with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) results in higher rates of tolerance to cow’s milk compared to infants fed unsupplemented formula. Read More...

Probiotics May Work Better with Milk

Probiotics May Work Better with Milk

We respond differently to different environments; we might put on a thick coat when it’s cold, or open an umbrella when it’s raining. It turns out that probiotic bacteria also react differently depending on their environment, and this could have important implications for how we consume probiotics. Two new studies led by Maria Marco from the University of California, Davis, found that probiotic bacteria showed improved survival and efficacy when delivered through milk rather than in another medium. Read More...

Kefir Consumption—a Growing Culture

Kefir Consumption—a Growing Culture

Kefir, an ancient cultured dairy drink touted as a health-promoting probiotic, is coming back into fashion in Europe and gaining popularity in the US. With its fizzy freshness and mildly acidic flavor, kefir (pronounced “keh-FEAR”) likely owes its name to a similar Turkish word meaning "good feeling." Fermented by yeast and bacteria in a unique way, kefir has been shown to promote gut health and boost the immune system, among other beneficial effects. Kefir has even been credited with beginning "a new dawn of food," while commercial producers and home brewers are experimenting with modern recipes and flavored variants. Read More...

Mother’s DNA Alters Baby’s Gut Microbes

Mother's DNA Alters Baby's Gut Microbes

A mother’s genes determine a lot of things about her newborn, and it turns out that their effects extend even to the bacteria that colonize the baby’s gut. The establishment of a baby’s gut microbial community is an important event in a newborn’s life. A new study, conducted by microbial ecologist Zachary Lewis, finds that the gut microbiome of breastfed infants is influenced by the types of sugars present in breast milk [1, 2]. Specifically, a particular gene in mothers that modifies sugars in breast milk influences infants’ gut microbiome. Read More...