Sunday, October 30, 2011

Probiotic yoghurts help your gut to break down carbs?

No change in the bacterial population but they produce different enzymes? Hard to believe. And the sample of only SEVEN twin pairs is ludicrously small

After wolfing down a pizza you may want to finish with a probiotic yoghurt, after researchers found they help the body to break down carbohydrates.

Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine wanted to look at what impact, if any, live bacteria in popular yoghurts have on digestion.

They performed studies on mice as well as identical female twins using a yoghurt that had five strains of live bacteria.

The team found eating the yoghurt twice a day for seven weeks did not alter the mix of microbes in the intestines of the women or the mice.

However, when they took a closer look at the mice they found there were significant changes in some of the bacterial enzymes involved in metabolising carbohydrates.

Many of the key changes noted in the highly controlled laboratory environment were also found in the seven pairs of twins.

Study author Dr Jeffrey Gordon, said: 'Carbohydrates are an important part of our diet, and the way they are broken down by gut microbes is an important part of digestive health.

'A number of carbohydrates are quite complex and can only be digested by enzymes made by gut microbes. 'We found that when the mice were given the bacterial strains found in the yogurt, at doses comparable to those consumed by humans, they could more efficiently break down certain classes of carbohydrates.'

Our guts contain millions of bacteria known collectively as the microbiota.

This complex system works to break down certain nutrients that our bodies could not otherwise digest, prevents the growth of harmful bacteria, produces nutrients such as vitamin K and biotin as well as hormones to tell our bodies when to store fat.

The research, which was published in Science Translational Medicine, could help scientists analyse the many health claims made by makers of probiotic yoghurts.

'This is a proof of principle. We have developed an approach to test the health effects of probiotics that focuses on how those microbes influence the dynamic operations of our gut microbial communities,' Dr Gordon said.

He added that their long-term goal was to develop ways to improve the nutritional value of the foods we eat.


Kellogg's adds vitamin D to cereal to fight rickets

It is a tremendous condemnation of British public health precautions that this is happening. During WWII they started adding vitamin D to butter and margarine. What happened to that?

Kellogg's is to add vitamin D to all its children's cereals in a bid to fight the rise of rickets among young people. The breakfast cereal producer will add the ingredient to cereals including Coco Pops and Rice Krispies, as part of a healthy eating drive to "help avoid" the bone-softening condition among younsters.

A survey by Kellogg's found that 82 per cent of paediatric dietitians have seen a rise in rickets among young people in the past five years, with nearly half of them treating cases in the past year.

The number of children under 10 admitted to hospital with rickets jumped by 140 per cent over the eight years between 2001 and 2008, it found.

The food giant will add vitamin D to most of its cereals, particularly those targeted at children, by the end of 2012. Corn Flakes and Ricicles already contain the vitamin, but it will be added to Rice Krispies by March next year and will be in Frosties by September.

Scientists have linked the causes of rickets, which can cause weak bones and bowed legs, to a lack of vitamin D.

The chemical is normally absorbed into the body through sunlight, but it can also be ingested through eggs, oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals. As more children spend time indoors watching television and playing computer games, their exposure to the sun is vastly reduced, meaning that they need an alternative source of the vitamin.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to illnesses including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and multiple sclerosis.

Rickets was thought to have died out in the 1930s, but 20 per cent of young children still show symptoms of the condition, a study by researchers at Southampton University found.

Professor Nicholas Clarke, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the university, said Kellogg's move to include vitamin D in its children's cereals was "a good idea".

Alyson Greenhalgh-Ball, European nutrition director at Kellogg's, added: "Healthcare professionals would like to see the introduction of a recommended daily intake [of vitamin D], so we are clear on how much vitamin D children need to avoid these health issues."

The cereal producer's decision has also been praised by health experts, who said the move was "fantastic." "We used to get enough vitamin D from sunlight but we are not getting as much," Jacqui Lowdon, of the British Dietetic Association, told the Daily Mirror. "Children are not playing outdoors as much as they used to and also people are slapping on suncream a lot more. "So if we can get vitamin D into food children like to eat, that’s fantastic."


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