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Probiotics May Benefit Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients

Gastric bypass surgery is an increasingly common treatment for obesity. One of the complications of the surgery can be an alteration in gastrointestinal flora which can lead to bacterial overgrowth.

People suffering from bacterial overgrowth suffer from abdominal pain, bloating, increased flatulence and diarrhea.

A new study published in the July, 2009 issue of the Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery has found that probiotic supplementation following gastric bypass surgery may prevent bacterial overgrowth.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine recruited 44 obese participants who underwent gastric bypass surgery at the same facility between 2006 and 2007. All participants were enrolled in the trial during their initial consultation at the clinic.

Participants received the same medical care following the surgery, but were assigned to either a probiotic or control group.

The probiotic group was given one probiotic supplement daily. Both groups were allowed to eat yogurt if they desired.

All participants were assessed at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months postoperatively.

The probiotic group had higher levels of bacterial overgrowth prior to surgery, but lower levels than the control group 6 months after surgery.

In addition, the probiotic group averaged a 47.6% weight loss, compared to a 38.5% weight loss for the control group.

The probiotic group also had a 50% higher level of vitamin B-12 levels than the control group. Vitamin B-12 levels tend to be deficient in patients following gastric bypass surgery.

The researchers plan more extensive studies to determine the mechanism behind probiotic supplementation and increased weight loss.
Probiotics help maintain a healthy, natural balance of organisms in the intestines, which aids in food digestion. They have also been shown to boost the immune system.

Consuming more yogurt and cultured milk can help boost bacteria levels in your body. A quality probiotic supplement can also be incorporated into your diet.

The best probiotic supplements contain several different bacterial strains (different strains have different benefits) and several billion bacteria cells. The product you choose should be packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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