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Synbiotic Blend of 10 Beneficial Strains, Developed by Board-Certified Gastroenterologist

Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging depends on maintaining a healthy digestive system aided by probiotics.

Probiotics Provide Insurance Against Salmonella

What do peanut butter, pistachios, cantaloupes, and eggs have in common? They have all been recent sources of Salmonella food borne illnesses in humans.

Since we are in the middle of a nationwide outbreak of a Salmonella infection due to contaminated eggs, I thought it would be of interest to discuss the benefits of probiotics against Salmonella infections.

If you are feeling paranoid about what to eat, you may feel safer taking EndoMune after reading this newsletter.

There are a number of reasons why probiotics may prevent or shorten the duration of a bout of infectious diarrhea like Salmonella.

Probiotics(1,2,3):

  1. Secrete bacteriocins (proteins that can kill harmful invading bacteria)
  2. Produce products like lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide that inhibit infectious bacteria
  3. Stimulate the intestinal immune system to release antibodies and inflammatory cells to destroy the hostile bacteria
  4. Carpet the intestinal lining to prevent the harmful bacteria from attaching and invading the intestinal lining cells

With the knowledge that probiotics can have a beneficial effect against infectious bacteria, researchers have done several types of investigations.The following are studies where probiotics have been shown to be helpful:

Acute Infectious Diarrhea

A number of controlled trials(1) have compared probiotics versus placebo when treating children and adults with acute infectious diarrhea, including Salmonella. The general finding was that probiotic could reduce the duration and severity of the illness. The diarrheal illnesses were shortened, on average, 1-2 days in the individuals who were taking a probiotic.

Traveler’s Diarrhea

The cause of traveler’s diarrhea is exposure to food and water that has been contaminated with fecal matter due to poor sanitary and public health conditions. The organisms that cause the diarrhea are bacteria, viruses and parasites. Studies have found that bacteria like E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella and Campylobacter account for 80% of the episodes. There have been a number of published controlled trials giving travelers either probiotics or placebos. A review(5) of 12 well done clinical trials found that probiotics were safe and generally effective in preventing traveler’s diarrhea. Compared to the travelers receiving a placebo, the probiotic travelers had about 25-50% fewer bouts of diarrhea.

Experiemental Studies

Several recent research studies have investigated how probiotics inhibit Salmonella. One study(6)incubated either Salmonella alone or the combination of probiotics and Salmonella on cultures of human colon cells. The immune reactions in the intestinal cells that were exposed to the probiotic with the Salmonella were much greater than that seen in the cells in contact with only the Salmonella. The study showed that the probiotics could stimulate the release of protective immune reactions against the Salmonella bacteria.

In another study(7), one group of mice were fed probiotics for seven days before being challenged with Salmonella. The other group did not receive the probiotic. The survival rate was greater and the infection milder in the group receiving the probiotics. Studies of the intestinal fluid found much higher levels of antibodies against the Salmonella bacteria.  Again, this would indicate that the probiotics stimulate the intestinal immune system to fight harmful intestinal bacteria.

Take Home Message

Be careful about the eggs you consume and make sure you cook them thoroughly. Avoid the runny eggs like poached eggs or eggs that are served sunny-side up. Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce is probably not a good idea, at least for now. You may want to consider a bowl of oatmeal until all the bad eggs are recalled.

If you are still concerned about exposure to Salmonella, consider taking a high quality probiotic like EndoMune.

Eat healthy, exercise and live well!
Dr. Hoberman

(1) Guidance for substantiating the evidence for beneficial effects of probiotics: prevention and management of infections by probiotics.Wolvers D, Antoine JM, Myllyluoma E, Schrezenmeir J, Szajewska H, Rijkers GT.J Nutr. 2010 Mar;140(3):

(2) Probiotics have clinical, microbiologic, and immunologic efficacy in acute infectious diarrhea.Chen CC, Kong MS, Lai MW, Chao HC, Chang KW, Chen SY, Huang YC, Chiu CH, Li WC, Lin PY, Chen CJ, Li TY.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 Feb;29(2):135-8.

(3) Clinical evidence for immunomodulatory effects of probiotic bacteria.
Ruemmele FM, Bier D, Marteau P, Rechkemmer G, Bourdet-Sicard R, Walker WA, Goulet O.J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2009 Feb;48(2):126-41. Review

(4) Probiotics for treating infectious diarrhoea(Cochrane Review). Reviewers: Allen, Stephen J; Okoko, B; Martinez, Elizabeth G; Gregorio, Germana V; Dans, Leonila F. Review Group: Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Edited/Substantively amended: 11 November 2008; Edited (no change to conclusions) this issue

(5)McFarland LV: Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2007;2:97-105

(6) Microbial products from probiotic bacteria inhibit Salmonella enteritidis 857-induced IL-8 synthesis in Caco-2 cells.Malago JJ, Nemeth E, Koninkx JF, Tooten PC, Fajdiga S, van Dijk JE.Folia Microbiol (Praha). 2010 Jul;55(4):401-8. Epub 2010 Aug 3

(7) Anti-infective mechanisms induced by a probiotic Lactobacillus strain against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection.de LeBlanc Ade M, Castillo NA, Perdigon G.Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Apr 15;138(3):223-31. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Tips for Avoiding Foodborne Illness this Summer

School is out, summer is here, and it’s time to make plans for the 4th of July and perhaps a summer vacation.

There following are important reasons to take a good probiotic, like EndoMune during the summer:

  • To lessen the risk of food poisoning
  • To avoid traveler’s diarrhea

Foodborne illness is an ever-present threat that can be prevented with proper care and handling of food products. “It is estimated that between 24 and 81 million cases of foodborne diarrhea disease occur each year in the United States, costing between $5 billion and $17 billion in medical care and lost productivity”.(1)

In the last three years, there have been a number of outbreaks of foodborne illnesses due to Salmonella and E. coli found in contaminated peanut butter, cookie dough, chicken pot pies and beef products.

Friendly Fourth of July Food Reminders

With the 4th of July just around the corner, lots of Americans are planning a picnic or a BBQ.  In fact, the US census department says that one in four Americans will enjoy an outdoor picnic.  The big concern is to keep the cold dishes cold, and the hot foods well cooked(2). Bacteria are killed when the food is heated to 160 degrees or greater, and a temperature less than 40 degrees inhibits the growth of bacteria in refrigerated foods.

Every year we hear about outbreaks of food poisoning due to contaminated hamburger meat with bacteria like E. coli. The message is to check the temperature of the meat on the grill to insure it has reached at least 160 degrees. Cooked hamburgers with a pink inside could present a problem.

Outbreaks of food poisoning due to potato salad are common. One reported outbreak affected 125 people(3). It is important to avoid allowing any refrigerated salad to be at room temperature for any period of time before serving.

Risk of Traveler’s Diarrhea

Traveling exposes us to the risk of contaminated food and drinks. The risk of traveler’s diarrhea is related to the sanitary practices of storing, preparing and serving the food. Infectious gastroenteritis is a larger problem in less developed countries where running water and refrigeration is a problem.

International travel to exotic locations is becoming more popular. In 2008, one out of five Americans traveled abroad, and 38 million visits were to developing countries where there are significant health risks for travelers.

The rule for avoiding traveler’s diarrhea may be summarized by the CDC-coined phrase, “boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.”  The big concerns are salads, unpeeled fruits and vegetables.

EndoMune Can Lessen Risk of Foodborne Illness

So how does a probiotic like EndoMune help to lessen these foodborne illnesses?

There have not been any studies published on the benefits of taking a probiotic and avoiding gastroenteritis during the 4th of July!  But, there are several studies that have found probiotics lessen the risk of traveler’s diarrhea(4). It does make sense that a multispecies probiotic with at least 10 billion bacteria could lessen the risk of developing a foodborne infection. The probiotic bacteria carpet the intestines and produce proteins called bacterocins. The ingested harmful bacteria can’t penetrate the intestinal lining, and they are destroyed by the antibiotic proteins produced by the probiotic bacteria.

There is no guarantee that probiotics will prevent a bout of gastroenteritis, but there is a good chance it will lessen the risk.

Take Home Message

Don’t leave home without your EndoMune whether going to a BBQ or far away country. Have a great summer and remember…

Eat healthy, exercise and live well!
Dr. Hoberman

(1) Bacterial Food PoisoningAl B. Wagner, Jr.Extension Food Technologist Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

(2) Barbecue and food safety.” United States Department of Agriculture. Updated July 2, 2007.

(3) The Middleton outbreak: 125 cases of foodborne salmonellosis resulting from cross-contaminated food items served at a picnic and a smorgasbord.Levy BS, McIntire W, Damsky L, Lashbrook R, Hawk J, Jacobsen GS, Newton B.Am J Epidemiol. 1975 Jun;101(6):502-11

(4) McFarland LV: Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea.Travel Med Infect Dis. 2007;2:97-105.

Risk of C. Difficile due to Acid Suppression Therapy

Two medical articles(1,2) published last month received a considerable amount of attention; I think they are very pertinent to the discussion of whether to take a probiotic to counter the risks of taking medications for the suppression of gastric acid.

Every day we are bombarded with ads about the benefits of taking medications to lessen the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Additionally, the medical profession recommends taking acid suppressive medicines to avoid the development of stomach ulcers as a side effect of taking pain and arthritis drugs like Advil and Aleve.

For years the mainstay of treatment was medications like Tums and Maalox – both antacids. They buffer or neutralize the acid produced by the stomach and are commonly used to relieve heartburn symptoms. Unfortunately, they have been only partially successful.

The pharmaceutical industry has developed better drugs that can lower or prevent acid production by the stomach’s acid producing cells. The most popular and effective of these medications to inhibit gastric acid production are called proton pump inhibitors or PPIs.

Proton pump inhibitors are big business in the United States: “A staggering 113.4 million prescriptions for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are filled each year, making this class of drugs, at $13.9 billion in sales, the third highest seller in the United States” (3).

There are 5 medications in this class of drugs which we all know thanks to the television ads: Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex and the most famous – the purple capsule – Nexium.

What is the Concern with PPI Medications?

Since their introduction in 1998, there has been a progressive increase in intestinal infections with the bacterium called Clostridium difficile (C. difficile).

C. difficile causes a severe diarrhea and life threatening colitis. Roughly 3-5% of the healthy adult population has this bacterium in their intestines. These individuals do fine until they are given an antibiotic for an infection like pneumonia or sinusitis. The antibiotic wipes out the healthy intestinal bacteria which then allows the C. difficile to multiple and produce a toxin that causes a serious colitis. In addition, hospitalized patients are at risk of acquiring this bacterium from contaminated bed rails and other surfaces(4).

Risks of Acid Suppression Therapy

There has been an increasing rate and severity of C. difficile infections in hospitalized patients. Acid suppressive therapy has been suggested as a risk factor. The articles previously mentioned studied the risk of hospitalized patients taking PPI’s and developing C. difficile infections. The first study(1) found a 70% increased risk of a C. difficile infection in patients taking a PPI versus patients not receiving a PPI.

The second article(2) studied the risk of recurrent C. difficile infections in hospitalized patients taking PPIs. These patients had been successfully treated for a C. difficile infection.  There is a known recurrent rate of 20% after treatment. The concern was if PPIs could increase the risk of recurrent infections. The study found that recurrent C. difficile infection rate was 42% higher in those patients receiving PPIs vs. patients not receiving PPIs.

The exact reason why PPIs increase the risk for C. difficile infection is unknown. One potential mechanism has to do with the ability of gastric acid to destroy harmful bacteria. It is known that the stomach acid is the first defense against ingested harmful bacteria in contaminated drinks and foods. The harmful bacteria are destroyed by the stomach acid and never have an opportunity to invade the intestines.

Experimental studies in mice and hamsters have shown an increase in susceptibility to C. difficile infections when the stomach acid is suppressed(5). In addition, other studies have found that humans are more susceptible to other intestinal infections when the gastric acid is suppressed.

Based on a number of reports(6), there is reason to believe that probiotics may help to lessen the risk of C. difficile infections in patients taking PPIs. Probiotics have been shown to produce proteins that destroy harmful bacteria. In addition, they interact with the intestinal immune system to stimulate the immune reaction against harmful bacteria.

Take Home Message

Consider taking a high quality probiotic like EndoMune if you are going to be on long-term PPIs. If someone needs to be hospitalized, consider taking a probiotic to lessen the risk of acquiring a C. difficile infection, especially if PPIs and/or antibiotics are prescribed.

Thank you for your interest in EndoMune.

Eat healthy, exercise and live well!
Dr. Lawrence Hoberman

(1) Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):784-90.Iatrogenic gastric acid suppression and the risk of nosocomial Clostridium difficile infection.Howell MDNovack VGrgurich PSoulliard DNovack LPencina MTalmor D

(2) Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):772-8.Proton pump inhibitors and risk for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection.Linsky AGupta KLawler EVFonda JRHermos JA.

(3) Arch Intern Med. 2010 May 10;170(9):747-8.Failing the acid test: benefits of proton pump inhibitors may not justify the risks for many users.Katz MH.

(4) Am J Infect Control. 2010 Jan 31. [Epub ahead of print]Significant impact of terminal room cleaning with bleach on reducing nosocomial Clostridium difficile.Hacek DMOgle AMFisher A,Robicsek APeterson LR.

(5) Microbiol Immunol. 2007;51(12):1209-14.Comparative role of antibiotic and proton pump inhibitor in experimental Clostridium difficile infection in mice.Kaur SVaishnavi CPrasad KKRay P,Kochhar R.

(6) Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;101(4):812-22.Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease.McFarland LV.

Probiotics Benefits for IBS, Cancer and Chemotherapy

Generally, the monthly newsletter is on a specific topic related to probiotics. This month I thought I would present a potpourri of recent scientific articles on probiotic benefits.

1) Post Infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome

There have been a number of studies published on the relationship between acute infectious gastroenteritis (diarrhea) and the subsequent development of ongoing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBS is characterized by intermittent abdominal pain, altered bowel habits and other gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and flatulence in the absence of structural abnormalities in the intestine.

When healthy individuals develop gastroenteritis due to food and water contamination, studies have found up to 30% of the infected population will have chronic ongoing gastrointestinal symptoms of IBS.  The general opinion is that the infecting bacteria or parasite stimulated the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation(1,2,3).

Probiotics can suppress the inflammatory process and may alleviate symptoms. No study has been specifically done in post infectious IBS, but the safety and potential anti-inflammatory properties of probiotics make them an intriguing option for management of these patients (4,5,6).

Commentary
This can be a real concern for our military troops. A recent study reported that “infectious diarrhea is one of the most common medical problems associated with military deployments”  (7). Overall, diarrhea was reported in 76.8% of the troops in Iraq and 54.4% in Afghanistan (8). There have been no published reports on the use of probiotics in our troops, but it seems a reasonable to consider the use of probiotics to lessen the risk of gastroenteritis and post infectious IBS.

2) Anticancer Effect of Probiotics

Evidence that probiotics have anticancer activity has been emerging from laboratory studies. A recent study investigated the effect of a probiotic on the growth of colon cancer cells in a test tube and the development of colon cancer in mice (9). The probiotic suppressed the activity of a cell receptor called ErbB2 which has to do with cell division and growth. There is an anticancer drug called Herceptin that acts as an antibody to inhibit this receptor in breast cancer cells.

Commentary
There have been a number of studies on probiotics protective effect against colon cancer (10).  There are no direct experimental investigations for cancer suppression in human subjects using probiotics. However, there are a wealth of studies indicating indirect evidence for cancer suppression in human subjects. This study helps to identify one of the mechanisms how probiotics can prevent cancer development. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to take a probiotic.

3) Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a common side effect induced by anticancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. A recent case study reported on a patient receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer who developed severe diarrhea requiring discontinuation of the medication and hospitalization for 2 weeks(11). The patient was prescribed a probiotic to be taken twice daily. The probiotic controlled the intestinal symptoms and diarrhea, and no adverse effects were noticed. The patient reported that if she stopped taking the probiotics, the diarrhea returned immediately. The patient was discharged from the hospital and was able to continue the scheduled chemotherapy medications while taking the probiotic.

Commentary
Chemotherapy agents cause diarrhea by damaging the intestinal mucosa. In addition, the normal intestinal bacterial flora can be disrupted. A study published in 2007 on the frequency of severe diarrhea in patients receiving chemotherapy for colon cancer was reduced with the supplementation of a probiotic (12).  In addition, there was less abdominal discomfort, need for hospital care and fewer chemotherapy dose reductions due to bowel toxicity. No probiotic related toxicity was detected. Hopefully these reports will stimulate further clinical studies to determine whether probioitcs are an effective treatment for controlling diarrhea in patients receiving chemotherapy agents.

Take Home Message

Probiotics are entering a new era in clinical medicine. No longer are they just considered complimentary and alternative therapies.  Each month, there are new published reports on the therapeutic benefits of probiotics.

When you consider taking a probiotic, think EndoMune Advanced for adults and EndoMune Juniorfor children. These are high quality, potent probiotics!

Thank you for your interest in EndoMune.

Eat healthy, exercise and live well!
Dr. Lawrence Hoberman

(1) Travel and travelers’ diarrhea in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. DuPont HL, Galler G, Garcia-Torres F, Dupont AW, Greisinger A, Jiang ZD. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2010 Feb;82(2):301-5.

(2) Bugs and irritable bowel syndrome: The good, the bad and the ugly. Ghoshal UC, Park H, Gwee KA.J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Feb;25(2):244-51. Epub 2010 Jan 14.

(3) Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome.Thabane M, Marshall JK. World JGastroenterol. 2009 Aug 7;15(29):3591-6.Review

(4) Immunosuppressive effects via human intestinal dendritic cells of probiotic bacteria and steroids in the treatment of acute ulcerative colitis. Ng SC, Plamondon S, Kamm MA, Hart AL, Al-Hassi HO, Guenther T, Stagg AJ, Knight SC.Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2010 Feb 12.

(5) Probiotics have clinical, microbiologic, and immunologic efficacy in acute infectious diarrhea.Chen CC, Kong MS, Lai MW, Chao HC, Chang KW, Chen SY, Huang YC, Chiu CH, Li WC, Lin PY, Chen CJ, Li TY.Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010 Feb;29(2):135-8.

(6) Probiotics: their role in the treatment and prevention of disease. Doron S, Gorbach SL.Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Apr;4(2):261-75. Review.

(7) Military importance of diarrhea: lessons from the Middle East.Sanders JW, Putnam SD, Riddle MS, Tribble DR.Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan;21(1):9-14. Review.

(8) Outcomes of diarrhea management in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.Brown JA, Riddle MS, Putnam SD, Schlett CD, Armstrong AW, Jones JJ, Tribble DR, Sanders JW.Travel Med Infect Dis. 2009 Nov;7(6):337-43. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

(9) Int J Cancer. 2009 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print]The anticancer effect of probiotic Bacillus polyfermenticus on human colon cancer cells is mediated through ErbB2 and ErbB3 inhibition.Ma EL,Choi YJChoi JPothoulakis CRhee SHIm E.

(10) The effects of probiotics on colon cancer development. Rafter J.Nutr Res Rev. 2004 Dec;17(2):277-84.

(11) Use of probiotics in the management of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea: a case study.Abd El-Atti S, Wasicek K, Mark S, Hegazi R. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2009 Sep-Oct;33(5):569-70. Epub 2009 May 7.

(12) Lactobacillus supplementation for diarrhoea related to chemotherapy of colorectal cancer: a randomised study.Osterlund P, Ruotsalainen T, Korpela R, Saxelin M, Ollus A, Valta P, Kouri M, Elomaa I, Joensuu H.Br J Cancer. 2007 Oct 22;97(8):1028-34. Epub 2007 Sep 25.

Probiotics May Decrease Chemotherapy-Induced Diarrhea

Our March newsletter was just issued this week, and it addresses some interesting research findings with regard to the anti-cancer effect of probiotics and the ability of probiotics to assist with decreasing chemotherapy-induced diarrhea. Excerpts from the article are as follows:

There have been a number of studies on probiotics protective effect against colon cancer (10). There are no direct experimental investigations for cancer suppression in human subjects using probiotics. However, there are a wealth of studies indicating indirect evidence for cancer suppression in human subjects. This study helps to identify one of the mechanisms how probiotics can prevent cancer development. Bottom line, it doesn’t hurt to take a probiotic.

You may read the March newsletter in its entirety for more information about Probiotics’ Effects on Cancer and Chemotherapy.

Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Studies of how and which types of probiotics improve IBS symptoms have yielded contradictory results. Some studies have shown that probiotics improve IBS, while others have resulted in less promising findings. This variance reflects, in part, differences in the studies, such as trial design, the limited number of participants, and the type, dose and formulation of the probiotics used in a particular study.

The term “probiotics” refers to the beneficial bacteria that are ingested to improve intestinal health. Some probiotic supplements contain just one bacterial strain whereas others have up to 8 different strains. It is reasonable that different studies will reach different conclusions, directly dependant upon the type of strains used. Similarly, the quantity of bacteria in each probiotic supplement can vary from a low of about one million to more than 400 billon organisms per dosage – and this too will also influence results.

In order to determine whether there is a statistical benefit of probiotics in easing the symptoms of IBS, researchers will review hundreds of studies and select those that have been done following specific guidelines for creditability.

The selected studies are then evaluated using a statistical method called meta-analysis. This involves combining all the studies and measuring the outcome for a specific issue. For example, there may be 20 studies evaluating the effects of probiotics on IBS. Some studies may have positive results and others negative. Combining all the results can give an overall statistical evaluation of whether probiotics are beneficial.

Meta-Analysis Reports

Over the last 18 months there have been four major meta-analysis reports published in respected medical journals (1,2,3,4).

All four meta-analysis studies concluded that probiotics benefit individuals suffering with IBS. They all found that probiotics could ease the symptoms of:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence
  • Improve the passage of stools

Only a few minor adverse side effects were reported, the most common being a temporary increase in abdominal bloating and flatulence.  No serious health or safety issues were identified.

The Conclusion: Probiotics are Promising

The general conclusion from these reports is that probiotics offer promise in the treatment of IBS.  Further studies of longer duration and use of specific strains and dosages of probiotics are needed to determine which probiotics are statistically better in treating IBS.

Because the drug therapies currently available to IBS sufferers have shown limited success, a trial of probiotics certainly seems worthwhile.

Take Home Message

Probiotics are helpful in treating the symptoms of IBS. Look for one that has at least 5 billon bacteria in a serving size and contains multiple strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria…like EndoMune.

Eat healthy, exercise and stay well!
Dr. Hoberman

 

(1) A systematic review and meta-analysis: probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.Hoveyda N, Heneghan C, Mahtani KR, Perera R, Roberts N, Glasziou P. BMC Gastroenterol. 2009 Feb 16;9:15.

(2) Meta-analysis of probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. McFarland LV, Dublin S. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 7;14(17):2650-61.

(3) The efficacy of probiotics in the therapy of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review.Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, Cremonini F, Foxx-Orenstein A, Brandt L, Quigley E. Gut. 2008 Dec 17

(4) Effectiveness of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Wilhelm SM, Brubaker CM, Varcak EA, Kale-Pradhan PB. Pharmacotherapy. 2008 Apr;28(4):496-505.

Probiotics and Post-Gastric Bypass Surgery Weight Loss

The July issue of the Journal of Gastroenterology discusses the recent findings of a post-gastric bypass surgery weightloss study. The physicians and researchers administering the study were interested in whether gastrointestinal bacteria and gut health plays an impact in the weight loss of individuals.

Both a control and a probiotic group were on the same counseling and diet regimen, with the probiotic group receiving 2.4 billion colonies of Lactobacillus daily.

At both 6-weeks and 3-months, the probiotic group had a statistically significant increase in weight loss over their counterparts in the control group. However, at 6-months, the significance had decreased.

With more research studies in the future, researchers may be able to determine if probiotics do have an impact on post-gastric bypass weight loss.

View the article at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/706023

DNA Testing Provides Whole-Body Approach to Cancer Screening

The 2009 Digestive Disease Week in Chicago presented numerous findings with regard to the GI tract and associated diseases. Among those findings is the usefulness of DNA testing of stool samples for the presence of cancer.

Previously, stool DNA testing was used for the early detection of colorectal cancer; recently scientists and physicians have discovered this screening is also a useful source of detection for other cancers such as pancreas, stomach, bile ducts and esophagus. This is a tremendous shift from the single organ approach to screening of such cancers. DNA sampling provides a “whole-body” approach to screening for multiple cancers at one time, potentially paving the way for early detection of cancers previously not screened.

According to ABC News, “The test developed by Mayo Clinic researchers, which checked a patient’s stool for the DNA of cells regularly shed from the surface of several types of tumors, detected 65 percent of esophageal cancers, 62 percent of pancreatic cancers, 75 percent of bile duct and gallbladder cancers and 100 percent of stomach and colorectal cancers. The test was equally successful at detecting early-stage and late-stage cancers.”

The report goes on to note, “One in four cancer deaths are the result of gastrointestinal cancers, the news release notes. These cancers are quite curable if detected at an early stage, but the only one widely tested for is colorectal cancer, generally through colonoscopy.”

Research and news with regard to GI disease continues to move in a positive direction.

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