Ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterial strain may be more effectively treated by beneficial probiotics rather than by conventional antibiotics, according to a new study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers from Spain say that probiotic strains like Bifidobacterium have an incredible success rate in fighting inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcers.
The team conducted tests on the effectiveness of several unique strains of bifidobacteria in treating H. pylori and found that one particular strain, Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366, protected against infection roughly 95 percent of the time.
“H. pylori is considered one of the major risk factors underlying the development of gastritis and gastric and duodenal ulcers,” say the authors. “Currently, antibiotic-based treatment for H. pylori infection is neither sufficient nor satisfactory, with the most successful treatments reaching 70 to 90 percent eradication rates. The use of probiotics is a potentially promising tool to prevent H. pylori.”
Long-term administration of probiotics in test mice also proved beneficial in preventing the development of ulcers. It helped actually reverse the damage to gastric tissue caused by ulcers, suggesting that healthy individuals can help maintain intestinal health — even when no noticeable disease is present — through probiotic supplementation.
“The results presented here confer to strain B. bifidum CECT 7366 the status of a probiotic bacterium with functional activity against H. pylori,” added the researchers, noting that further trials are needed on humans to verify their findings.
A similar study out of the University of Alberta found that supplementation with a probiotic mix containing 3,600 billion bacteria for six weeks helped more than 50 percent of study participants heal their inflammatory bowel disease, and another 24 percent greatly improve their condition
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