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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Report From the LI Conference, part 22

First prebiotics and then, logically, probiotics. It's like scientists were methodical or something.

Strategies for Managing Individuals With Diagnosed Lactose Intolerance: Probiotics
Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D.
Consultant
Dairy and Food Culture Technologies
Executive Director
International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics
Centennial, Colorado

As I also reported yesterday, probiotics are bacteria or other organisms that produce beneficial effects. More specifically, getting bacteria that can digest lactose (by making their own lactase) into the large intestine means that they can reduced or eliminate symptoms by digesting the lactose that reaches them before it can ferment and give off gas.

The evidence, as usual, is small and mixed. You need to read the presentation summary carefully to realize that what it means to you isn't the same as what it means to scientists. Researchers may get excited by knowing that certain bacteria give better results in breath hydrogen tests, because that may point the way to better delivery mechanisms or knowledge of when and how to take them.

What's of far more importance to you here and now is that any of the probiotics will give symptom relief. Streptococcus thermophilus (ST) and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (LB) are the types found in yogurt, but you have to ensure that you get yogurt with the National Yogurt Association LAC seal that indicates that "live and active" cultures will be in the finished product. Other types are used in probiotic capsules, including Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Those should work, but the evidence is sketchier.

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