Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheesy Advice

We've heard about probiotics in yogurt possibly helping beneficial gut bacteria grow keeping bad gut bugs in check and helping our immune system stay strong.  From what I've read we still need more research before we can have confidence in retail food products having enough live active cultures to provide a health benefit, so don't be so convinced that every package out there that says "probiotics" on the label will be of any real benefit to you.

That aside should we get the right dose, probiotics do have positive affect on our health.

A recent study in Finland compared certain immune system responses to cheese with probiotics to cheese with no probiotics.

We should look at this study with a degree of cautious optimism as one of the co-investiagtors is Danisco Finland, a company that makes the probiotic culture used in the cheese for the study..  I would like to see independent verification myself, nonetheless.. here are the results..

Four weeks of probiotic cheese increased levels of Natural Killer Cells in the study group of elderly care home residence (21 female, 10 male, age 72 to 103).  I love that name. "Natural KILLER cells". Isn't it great to know we have cells in our bodies that naturally kill tumour cells and viruses? 

The caveat? 

Last line of the abstract:

"It remains to be determined whether this enhancement correlates with a beneficial effect on the health of the elderly population."

Why did I write this short article?

I read with interest an article on the same study that sounded great. Probiotics increase NK cells in the study group.  Is this the breakthrough we've been looking for? To find out I read the actual study.  Pssshhhhh..  that's the sound of air being let out of the preverbal tire.

No breakthrough yet. When we start showing actual measurable health benefits from commercial products with added probiotics that will be great. Until then, use caution when reading label claims about health benefits from probiotics added to foods.

The article that prompted me to read the study..

Cheese -- acting as 'carrier' for probiotic bacteria -- found to improve immune response of elderly

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2010 Feb 11. [Epub ahead of print]

Probiotics and immunosenescence: cheese as a carrier.

Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

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