Good Bacteria Never Take a Day Off

Intestinal germs offer health benefits even when they're inactive, study finds

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MONDAY, Feb. 2, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- So-called "good bacteria" in the intestines, which may help people with inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and some forms of cancer, work even when they're inactive, says a study in the February issue of Gastroenterology.

Called probiotics, they are bacterial organisms that contribute to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. Recent studies have proven the health benefit of these bacteria.

The effectiveness of probiotics has been attributed to their live, metabolic activity. But active probiotics are used in only a small number of food products, such as yogurt. Active probiotics are unsuitable for most food products because they induce fermentation, which changes the taste, texture and freshness of food on an hourly basis.

This new study, by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Shaare Zedak Medical Center in Jerusalem, found probiotics contain immune system-stimulating DNA that makes them just as effective when they're inactive.

The finding offers the potential to use inactivated probiotics in a variety of food products.

The study also outlines a method to determine and select which probiotic bacteria provide the most benefit for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about probiotics.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, Feb. 2, 2004

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