Have you ever eaten any dairy products fortified with live bacteria before? Probiotics are good bacteria and yeast that provide a variety of health benefits. These are often available in milk products and yoghurt as well as supplements.
Taking a probiotic drink supports the digestive system in such a way that healthy bacteria keep the bad ones at bay and therefore, prevents countless digestive illnesses. However, studies recently show that probiotic dairy products are more suitable compared to taking probiotic supplements.
Maria Marco, a microbiologist and an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology from UC Davis, has conducted animal studies on the effectiveness of dairy probiotics compared to supplement forms. She concluded that when taken together, the manner of how probiotics are delivered could influence its effects.
Why Yogurt and Dairy Probiotics?
The researchers have examined Lactobacillus casei performance in the intestine of mice, and it has been found that this healthy bacterium can prevent a variety of digestive problems such as diarrhea, lactose intolerance, and inflammatory bowel disease. And while yoghurt is the most common dairy food used as a vehicle, it is still unclear as to why it is being used. Marco mentioned that dairy products such as yogurt may have the carbohydrates that support the growth of probiotics and may be able to buffer the acidic environment of the stomach as well.
Ideal Storage Temperatures
Another study was done to identify if low storage temperatures may work best in preparing probiotics for consumption and survival in the intestine. The study compared the survival of a strain of L. casei in refrigerated milk compared to the similar strain in a non-refrigerated form. It was found out that when probiotic incubated in refrigerated milk, it allowed more proteins to be produced. Also, other studies have revealed that probiotics in milk reduced the symptoms of irritable bowel disease compared to probiotics in nonfood supplements.
“We are now beginning to understand the concise mechanisms by which probiotic bacteria benefit human health. These findings are pivotal to understanding the conditions in both the food product and the digestive tract that influence the effectiveness of the probiotic, and they really point to the need now for similar studies with humans.” – Maria Marco
Lead author of the studies was Bokyung Lee, a postdoctoral scholar at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Comparative Pathology Laboratory. UC Davis researchers in the Department of Food Science and Technology, the Genome Center, and the School of Veterinary Medicine also collaborated with Marco and Lee.
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