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New Study Shows Anti-Diarrhea Potential of "Good" Bacteria

Probiotics are "good" bacteria found in your gut. Maintaining a healthy level of these good bacteria is essential for digestive health and immune system function.

According to a study published in the September 2010 issue of the journal Epidemiology and Infection, probiotic supplements may reduce the risk of diarrhea among children.

The study was conducted by scientists from the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in Kolkata. It included 3,758 children aged between one and five located in an urban slum community in Kolkata, India.

The children were randomly assigned to receive a drink containing 6.5 billion units of a probiotic called L. casei strain Shirota or a drink containing a mix of nutrients for 12 weeks. At the end of the 12 week period the children were followed for an additional 12 weeks.

By the end of the study, the researchers observed a 14% reduction in diarrhea among the probiotic group with 608 cases of diarrhea documented in the probiotic group compared to 674 in the nutrient drink group.

These findings add to previous research which has linked probiotics to diarrhea prevention, including a large meta analysis published in 2006 which found that probiotics may reduce the risk of diarrhea by 34%.

Probiotics may also help aid in weight loss, improve digestion, boost the immune system and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

You can get more probiotics by eating certain foods such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. For many people, taking a high quality supplement is an easier approach. If you choose this option, be sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture which can easily kill probiotics.

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