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The Power of Probiotics - Page 2

post #21 of 567
post #22 of 567
The article below ran in today’s Baltimore Sun about the issue of protection from probiotics. It was likely sparked by the press release we shared with you yesterday. It also discusses a number of studies similar to what we’ve discussed, so I thought you may find it interesting.

Copyright 2004 The Baltimore Sun Company
All Rights Reserved
The Baltimore Sun

January 5, 2004 Monday FINAL Edition


LENGTH: 1066 words

HEADLINE: Good bugs getting more notice;
Probiotics: Researchers say friendly bacteria can improve intestinal functioning and may be a source of treatment for a range of diseases.;

BYLINE: David Kohn


As you read this, your intestinal tract is playing host to a multitude of guests -- several trillion bacteria, between 500 and 1,000 different strains.

But there's no need to rush off to the emergency room: This throng of tiny creatures, which together can weigh more than 4 pounds, exists in every human on the planet.

They perform a variety of useful tasks that our own bodies cannot. They keep harmful bacteria in check, help regulate the immune system and even make vitamin K, a key blood-clotting agent.

"We need bacteria. They do a lot for us," says gastroenterologist Jeffry Katz, a professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Until recently, few researchers studied this complex internal ecosystem. But over the past five years, scientists have taken a closer look, and they're finding that some of these bugs may be able to prevent or treat a variety of ailments, including intestinal disorders, allergies and perhaps even some cancers.

"It's an extremely exciting area. We can exploit the bacteria within the intestine for beneficial purposes," said Dr. Fergus Shanahan, a leading researcher on "probiotics," as these bacterial treatments are known.

Gulping bacteria to improve health is hardly new. People have been eating yogurt -- milk fermented with bacteria -- for centuries. But recent research could lead to a range of specific probiotic treatments.

Some say probiotics can help offset the overly sanitized nature of modern society. This "hygiene hypothesis" argues that our rush to eliminate deadly microbes has also eliminated too many useful bacteria, inadvertently increasing the incidence of ailments they once held in check.

Much of the research has focused on intestinal illnesses, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Many probiotics researchers suspect that a disturbance to the intestinal ecosystem results in an excess of harmful, damaging bacteria.

Some scientists believe that adding "good" bacteria to the intestine can counter the harmful bugs. In a small study, University of Chicago gastroenterologist Stefano Guandalini gave daily doses of Lactobacillus GG, a particularly friendly strain, to children with Crohn's disease, an IBD that afflicts 500,000 Americans. Their symptoms improved markedly.

"The good bacteria seem to have a protective role," said Guandalini, who is now doing a larger follow-up study.

Other scientists are examining whether probiotics can treat allergies and other immune system ailments. Finnish researcher Erika Isolauri gave Lactobacillus GG to pregnant mothers and then to their newborn infants. Compared with a control group, these babies had half the rate of atopic dermatitis, a common skin rash.

Perhaps most intriguing, researchers are accumulating evidence that probiotics can help prevent colon cancer, which kills around 50,000 Americans a year. Irish researcher Ian Rowland has found that several microbes prevent precancerous cells from forming in mice.

No one knows how beneficial strains like Lactobacillus GG actually work. They may produce natural antibiotics that kill destructive bacteria, strengthen the intestinal lining or occupy key intestinal receptor sites, crowding out other microbes.

"The intestinal milieu is remarkably complex and difficult to study," said Katz, who suspects that most gut bacteria have not even been discovered yet.

Advances in genetics are making the job easier. In the past, many of these bacteria couldn't survive outside the intestine, and so couldn't be cultured in the lab. But researchers can now use DNA from dead organisms to identify new species.

Some researchers have moved beyond identifying helpful bacteria, and are trying to genetically engineer these microbes to make drugs or perform other useful tasks.

Bacteria are relatively simple creatures, so adjusting their genetic makeup presents fewer difficulties. And because bacteria are already adapted to the human body, they are unlikely to be destroyed before completing their assigned task.

This approach has already shown promise. Stanford researchers have engineered a lactobacillus to latch onto and kill the HIV virus. The bacteria live naturally in the human vaginal tract; if the modifications turn out to be safe for humans, the modified version could be the basis of an affordable HIV vaccine.

Even without definitive evidence that probiotics work, some doctors have begun recommending bacterial remedies. For the past five years, Dr. James George, a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, has advised many patients to take probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome, a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain and diarrhea. Bacteria help a "substantial portion" of those who take them, he says.

Although proponents like George are an exception in the United States, probiotics are well-known and commonly used in Europe and Japan. In fact, they are a billion-dollar industry, available in mainstream stores and supermarkets.

In the United States, by contrast, such products are generally available only in health food stores or via the Internet.

"The concept that microbes could be good for you is foreign to people in this country," said microbiologist Mary Ellen Sanders, president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. The nonprofit group was formed in 2002 to bring scientific rigor to a field that even bacterial believers admit sometimes veers into snake oil territory.

Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies probiotics as foods and supplements rather than drugs, the industry receives little oversight. Some manufacturers take advantage of this: One company, for example, sells a "probiotic" after-shave. Katz recently analyzed 17 probiotic products and found that more than half contained far less bacteria than advertised.

"There are a lot of outrageous claims that have not been subjected to testing," added Shanahan, who is director of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at the University of Cork in Ireland. He worries that shoddy or overhyped products could taint the entire field.

Shanahan, who began studying probiotics 20 years ago, came to the field as a skeptic, expecting to find that probiotics had little or no benefit. Instead, he has been convinced of the opposite. "There are too many observations here that are real," he said. "We need to explore this."

GRAPHIC: Photo(s), Some bacteria, such as this Bifidobacterium longum R0175 (shown under an electron microscope), may be able to treat or prevent a range of ailments, including allergies and some cancers.; ALEXANDRA SMITH : UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH
post #23 of 567
"We can exploit the bacteria within the intestine for beneficial purposes," said Dr. Fergus Shanahan
post #24 of 567
This approach has already shown promise. Stanford researchers have engineered a lactobacillus to latch onto and kill the HIV virus. The bacteria live naturally in the human vaginal tract; if the modifications turn out to be safe for humans, the modified version could be the basis of an affordable HIV vaccine.
post #25 of 567
The links in this thread have been so helpful to me. I wanted to bump it up for others to check out.
post #26 of 567
Update, and some questions...

I've been giving dd and ds Baby JarroDophilus (1/4 tsp) once a day for 4 days now. We've "upped" the amount of yogurt (Stonyfield Farms whole milk plain) they eat daily to ~6 oz. (up from 3-4 oz.), and added Kefir (~2-3 oz. every other day). Is this a good amount, variety? They are tolerating well, no ill effects at all - should I increase or leave as is?

Quick question re: poop (sorry, gross)... oddly, their poops have firmed up a bit. (They both had a mild tummy bug a week or so ago for a few days, and were having frequent (3-5/day), loose-ish green-ish stools. Sorry, gross I know.) Now they're firmer, still soft, maybe 2-3/day... but certainly not the "frothy" I've read Goodpapa describe. Is this normal? I would have thought they'd be practically runny at first.

Slightly OT... I have a general question about cultured milk. If someone has a milk sensitivity or allergy, can you still give them cultuered milk products (cheese, yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese..)? I've read you can, but why? I have some slight concerns that ds may be sensitive to too much milk, but am not sure about whether to include cultured milk products in the amounts.
post #27 of 567
Thread Starter 

It's all good....

....from my perspective.

Why runny poops? The good flora are knocking out the bad but they breed so prolificly that they constitute a healthy portion of the final product.

Four days seems like a remarkably short time to be seeing the benefits.

Maybe it's time to toss the store-bought and start culturing?

Honestly, the beauty of poops is that if the majority of parents were paying attention to their appearance they'd know early on of the health problems in their children that later manifest themselves.

Diarrhea is NOT a normal state of things for anyone, let alone a child. In fact, there is a strong link between GI problems (first) and autism (later) in vaxed children.

No more PharmaDestruction!


PS. The "why" of cultured milk is that the bacteria actually digest the proteins (primarily casein) that cause allergic reactions in children who have leaky guts. When undigested casein slips through the unprotected, flora absent, GI epithelial walls there is an IgE response from the immune system reacting to the foreign substance in the bloodstream.
post #28 of 567
Thread Starter 

Just a brief look....

...at the front page told me it was time to kick this up.

Hope everyone is getting cultured in the new year,

post #29 of 567

I have been reading all the great news here on the use of Probotics. I am still a bit confused because I have never tried this before and would really like to start using this.

1. My ds is 4.5 years should I use the Baby Jarro powder on him or another one (please let me know) and how much to use.

2. My dd is 9 mths and has a eczema on her cheeks, I have been trying everything possible to get rid of it. I have even limited my dairy intake. I haven't started her on any yogurt as yet.

The yogurt that I use is Stonyfield 4 oz cups for ds.

All suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

I really need to know how to get started, what I need to get started.

Thanks so much
post #30 of 567
Hi r+smom2. I am fairly new to probiotics myself. However, I asked a lot of questions on this thread and a couple of other probiotics threads in this forum too, most of which answered. I also read a lot - many great links provided here by Goodpapa and Amnesiac. Also, I highly recommend getting Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. Goodpapa recommended it, and I found it to be tremendously informative on all manner of health topics, but especially the cultured foods part.

For your 4.5 year old, you should not use Baby Jarrow. Use the regular adult powder, "Jarro-Dophilus+FOS". You can buy it online at several places, and Whole Foods may sell it. I do not think there is any reason not to [I}ultimately[/I] be giving him an adult dose (which is 1/4 tsp.). However, since he's new to it, I'd ease into it. Over the course of a week or two, start with 1/8 tsp. 1x/day, then if well tolerated (e.g., no diarrhea), work up to 1/8 tsp. 2x/day (once in the morning, and once in the evening - so this is the full amount, but split into 2 doses). As long as he is tolerating that well, you can give him just the regular dose (i.e., 1/4 tsp 1x/day). I have been using yogurt to give it to dd and ds - I just mix in the dose of powder to a SMALL amount of yogurt (small, so you know they'll take it all), mix it around, and in a spoon or two, it's all gone.

As for store-bought yogurt, I have not yet started culturing either. I use 2 kinds of store-bought cultured milk products:

* Stonyfield Farms whole milk PLAIN yogurt. I mix mashed bananas or applesauce into it, and dd and ds LOVE it.
* Organic Kefir (sold at Whole Foods). I use plain, and mix it with some juice. I figure a little juice is probably better than a lot of plain sucrose (table sugar). I guess I use about 2 oz. Kefir to 1 oz. grape juice, and dd and ds drink it down like a smoothie. You could also use mashed banana, which would be delicious.

I would advise against using anything with table sugar in it on a regular basis for children. I think it's just plain bad for you for a variety of reasons and encourages the growth of BAD "flora" such as yeast. That includes things like Stonyfield Farms Yo-Baby yogurt, Dannon Actimel, flavored Kefir, store-bought yogurt smoothies, and so on. It is very possible to make plain yogurt products very yummy with a little fruit.

HTH! Good luck!!
post #31 of 567
Thread Starter 

90% of the health issues....

...I see in this forum would be solved with a simple homemade probiotic yogurt.

It is truly manna from heaven.

Get Cultured!

post #32 of 567
Can I make my own cultured soy using soy milk? Any opinions on this product?
post #33 of 567
I agree with goodpapa about culturing your own. It is so easy it isn't even funny and my kids, who would never eat (plain) store yogurt gobble down plain fresh homemade yogurt. It's so much better tasting.

I am making some right now- I put a corningware pan in my Girmi yogurt maker since I had the jars full of my latest experiment- cultured almond milk!
post #34 of 567
I was wondering about buying probiotics, Since they need to be refrigerated is it a bad idea to buy them over the internet? How can you know that they havent been been compromised? I looked at WFs the other day and didnt see any for infants.
post #35 of 567

homemade yogurt

How does one go about making yogurt? can you recommend a book or website? or machine?
post #36 of 567
Thread Starter 

Actually looloo (great moniker!)

you've got all the sources of info right here on this thread.

You want low tech or high tech?

I use a Donvier yogurt maker, it looks like monni has a girmi one.

If you want to just go for it, you can use your oven. Just get a thermometer and some clean glass jars.

Of course you need starter. I use Jarrodophilus for one of mine and Ethical Nutrients Acidophilus and Bifidorum for the other.

Two different tastes, different organisms, and YES, the flavor is so good you really don't want any sweetner.

My wife can attest to that. (LOL)

Mommycat, how old is your child? Less than 2?


I get this at my local WF:


BTW, my son's been taking the adult one from about 6 months.

I like the assortment of bacteria in it better. I also based my assessment of what he needed on his size and weight rather than age as he is now at 2 bigger than 3 year olds and very close to some 4 year olds. 40" and 36 lbs. His 5 year old cousin is 41".

Anyone who is going to culture really doesn't need to worry about maximum viability of the bacteria (especially in the winter when delivery trucks in most of the US will be colder than a fridge)
you're going to be breeding your own.

My soy experiment didn't work ,but maybe monnie's almond milk did?

My goat milk DID work (it has less casein than cow's milk)

Remember, the bacteria digest the casein when culturing and change it into an easily digested form.

Good luck,


PS My son now goes into the fridge himself for his yogurt---makes a goodpapa proud.
post #37 of 567
Wow, this is one great thread. I have learned so much from this thread and started on the probiotic treatment with great results. Thanks to all who posted here with questions and those who answered those questions for helping us all.

A great heartfelt 'THANKS" here from me and my new family.

God Bless

My next attempt to try homemade yogurt, hee, hee, hee.
post #38 of 567
goodpapa, did you go a "second generation" with your soy milk culture?

I found that my first generation (made with powdered starter) almond yogurt was very thin- more of a cultured drink, but when I used 6 oz of that to start a quart of almond milk I got fairly thick almond yogurt. The problem was it tasted sharp and needed sweetener.
post #39 of 567
wow - I have used the Jarro probiotics after our maybe 3 times use of antibiotics, but as we already eat yogurt and actually have a yogurt maker (from the 70's !!) I'd love to make my own - but my question is: how much of what organisms to you use per quart of milk? (organic, whole, of course) One cap per type? More info, please!

Thanks so very much

post #40 of 567

Re: Actually looloo (great moniker!)

Originally posted by goodpapa
Remember, the bacteria digest the casein when culturing and change it into an easily digested form.
My DD is highly allergic to cow's milk and I've been reluctant to try...it's just not worth the weeks of eczema that result. Has anyone else tried cow's milk yogurt w/a very allergic two-year-old?

What about cultured rice milk? I'll try goat... (she is also allergic to almonds).
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