June 3, 2010
Probiotic Found In Breast Milk Helps Alleviate Symptoms Of Digestive Disorders
New research published in the FASEB Journal suggests that Lactobacillus reuteri immediately affects nerves in the gut, explaining how probiotics work
Here's another reason to breast feed your baby: Canadian researchers have discovered how a probiotic found in breastmilk reduces or eliminates painful cramping in the gut. In a new research report published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org), these scientists use mice to show that a specific strain of Lactobacillus reuteri decreases the force of muscle contractions in the gut within minutes of exposure. This bacterium naturally occurs in the gut of many mammals and can be found in human breast milk. This discovery suggests that increasing the intake of this bacterium may help alleviate symptoms of a wide range of gut disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, functional bowel disorders, and constipation.
To make this discovery, Kunze and colleagues, introduced Lactobacillus reuteri into isolated pieces of small intestine taken from healthy and previously untreated mice. The bacterium was added to a warm salt solution flowing through the lumen, or hollow part, of the intestine and the pressure caused by natural contractions was measured before, during and after adding the bacterium. Relaxation of smooth muscle tissue was compared with the action of the bacterium. Researchers also tested the electrical activity of single intestinal sensory nerve cells.
"It might not be possible for most of us to get breast milk from the tap," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "but we can still benefit from some of the life-supporting substances it carries.This research shows that the relationship between humans and microbes can be beneficial for both. The Lactobacillus finds a new home, and we're no longer up tight."
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