Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Primer on Probiotics

Good article by by Katherine Fisher in the

A reader writes in to say that she had taken a course of antibiotics and now had diarrhea. Because antibiotics indiscriminately kill off intestinal bacteria, the good as well as the bad, the result is often symptoms of lactose intolerance even in people who usually don't show those symptoms.

The explanation and recommendations are good, so I'll excerpt extensively:

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines also known as gut flora.

The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system.

The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt and kefir is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements containing potentially beneficial bacteria or yeast, with lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as the most common microbes used.

LAB have been used in the food preparation and manufacturing for many years, because they are able to convert sugars (including lactose) and other carbohydrates into lactic acid and acts as a preservative by lowering the pH and creating fewer opportunities for spoilage organisms to grow. This organism is also responsible for the characteristic sour taste of fermented dairy foods such as yogurt.


Where do I find probiotics?

Fermented Dairy foods such as kefir and yoghurt are easy sources of ingesting probiotics.

However, look closely at the label to determine if that yogurt is effective. To offer benefit, the yogurt must contain active cultures. Most yogurt containers indicate whether active cultures are present

Taking probiotic supplements (as capsules, powder, or liquid extract) can quickly help reestablish the colonies of the lost beneficial bacteria and thus help prevent diarrhea, but in Hawaii, be sure and check that these sources have been refrigerated, as the cultures are considered "live" and will die if exposed to heat.


Managing Lactose Intolerance:

Because LAB convert lactose into lactic acid, their ingestion may help lactose intolerant individuals tolerate more lactose than what they would have otherwise.

There's much other good information in that article. You should take a look.

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