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Probiotics May Improve Everyday Digestive Health

Daily consumption of a probiotic fermented milk product can improve gastrointestinal wellbeing for people who suffer from common digestive issues, according to researchers from Danone Research and the Paris Public Hospitals.

For their study, published in the July 22, 2009 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers wanted to investigate the effect of probiotics on people who suffer from regular digestive problems, as opposed to gastrointestinal diseases.

They recruited 197 women between the ages of 18 and 60 who reported having minor digestive disorders.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive two 125 gram doses of a yogurt supplemented with probiotics, or a non-fermented dairy product for four weeks. They were followed for a month following the supplementation period.

The researchers report that the improvements in the gastrointestinal well-being of the women receiving the probiotic yogurt were significantly higher than for those in the placebo group.

Additionally, digestive symptoms and scores measuring digestive comfort also improved following supplementation.

An interesting finding of the study was that the benefits that resulted from probiotic supplementation disappeared by the end of the follow-up month.

The researchers plan to investigate if longer supplementation periods will prolong the beneficial effects.

Many studies have shown that probiotics can help people suffering from a range of gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Probiotics can also help delay the development of allergies in children, treat vaginal infections and boost immune system function.

While probiotic enhanced food products are becoming more widely available, you can also take a probiotic supplement. Make sure it contains several probiotic strains and is packaged to block light, air, and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.

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