April 21, 2006

Probiotic Yogurt Aids in Eliminating Ulcer Bug

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The stomach bug Helicobacter pylori is the cause of most stomach ulcers, so doctors often try to eradicate the trouble-maker with antibiotic therapy. When this doesn't work, as is the case 10-23 percent of the time, a yogurt may help, according to a study conducted in Taiwan.

Specifically, eating yogurt containing the beneficial bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium (AB-yogurt) before trying a second round of combo antibiotic therapy can improve its efficacy in eradicating residual H. pylori, the researchers found.

"The pretreatment can decrease the bacterial loads of H. pylori," Dr. Bor-Shyang Sheu from National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan told Reuters Health. "Therefore, the pretreatment will be helpful to improve the clinical treatment during the application of the second-line therapy."

Sheu and colleagues randomly assigned 138 patients, in whom the ulcer bug persisted after triple-antibiotic therapy, to quadruple-antibiotic therapy with or without four preceding weeks of taking AB-yogurt daily.

The investigators report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that H. pylori decreased significantly more in the yogurt pretreatment group compared with the quadruple therapy-only group.

Ultimately, the eradication rate of H. pylori was 91 percent in the yogurt-plus-quadruple therapy group compared with 77 percent in the other.

"These findings," conclude the authors, "provide support for the ingestion of AB-yogurt for 4 weeks before the start of quadruple therapy ... thus obtaining improved rescue efficacy after failed triple therapy."

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2006.