Sunday, July 8, 2007

Wham: Probiotics for Faster Ulcer Healing

An animal study from Hong Kong seems to show strong evidence that people with stomach ulcers may benefit from probiotics to speed up recovery.

This research, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, looked at the effects of Lactobacillus, one of the most extensively studied strains of probiotics, on gastric ulcers. Here is more detail from the report:
"In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that a probiotic strain L. rhamnosus GG is capable of accelerating gastric ulcer healing," wrote lead author Emily Lama from the University of Hong Kong.

Stomach or peptic ulcers are a small hole or erosion in the gastrointestinal tract. Most stomach cancers are caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria, with some studies already showing that probiotics may have benefits against these types of bacteria. According to statistics from the US National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, peptic ulcers affect 14.5 million Americans.

Lama and co-workers used acetic acid to induce ulcers in rats and the animals were then given L. rhamnosus GG intragastrically for three days. It was observed that the probiotics successfully colonised in the stomach lining, especially around the ulcer.

A mechanistic study suggested that the probiotics influenced protein expression in the stomach wall cells, which led to increases in the formation of new blood cells and increased healing of the ulcer.
The new research, if it can be reproduced in humans, suggests that probiotics may also offer benefits for people already suffering from stomach ulcers.


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