Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mmm, mmm, good!

...for the bacteriophilic, at least! The latest on probiotics from AP (WSJ, A23):

CHICAGO -- Bugs in baby food? Microbes in your milkshake? This isn't the latest tainted-food scare -- it is a growing trend in foods designed to boost health, not make you sick.

These products contain probiotics, or "friendly" bacteria similar to those found in the human digestive system. There are supplement pills, yogurts, smoothies, snack bars and cereals, even baby formula and chocolate.

The foods are spreading on grocery-store shelves and dairy cases. They come with vague claims of "regulating your digestive health" or "strengthening your body's defenses."

Experts say probiotics, popular in Europe, Asia and South America, are generally safe, and in some cases might be helpful. It is a hot new area, reflecting a growing interest in how naturally occurring intestinal bacteria affect health. Scientists will discuss advances this week at a U.S. National Institutes of Health conference.

This year, more than 150 probiotic and prebiotic foods were introduced in the U.S.

Given that only about 3% of ALL bacteria/viruses/miscellaneous other microbiota discovered in the past century or two are dangerous to humans, this should not surprise anyone. Each of us is living in a sea of bacteria etc. There are more bugs in your mouth than there are people in the world! (this will be even more true if the enviro-Nazis have their way: see here and here and here and here)


Aurora said...

Hannah, you won't believe this but I've got friends (scientific researchers) who are into the whole intestinal bug stuff and have been for about 10 years. He's been talking about it back when everyone thought he was kind of nuts. It's his field. He said that if you got the feces of a very healthy person and put it in the bowel (clean) of another person that the second person would receive the benefits. He also formulated an acidophilus (sp?) which can bypass the acids of the stomach and do some real good rather than the yogurt type which doesn't make it all the way intact.
Thanks for the link by the way.

Hannah said...

Absolutely, Aurora! I published this mainly as a microbiology awareness post, since so many people (excluding yourself and your friends, of course) know absolutely nothing about the billions of good bacteria we encounter every day.

If you can, send some permalinks to some of his research! It sounds very interesting.

Yes, it's acidophilus. For now, I'm just eating my yogurt...