Regular Intake of Yogurt Can Suppress H. pylori Infection

Yael Waknine

September 02, 2004

Sept. 2, 2004 -- Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus (La5) and Bifidobacterium lactis (Bb12) significantly decreases urease activity of Helicobacter pylori after six weeks, according to the results of a placebo-controlled intervention study published in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Despite the effective antibiotic based therapies [for H. pylori infection], we were concerned about their possible induction of resistance to antibacterial drugs," writes Kuan-Yuan Wang, MD, from Kaohsiung Municipal United Hospital in Taiwan, Republic of China, and colleagues. "Furthermore, the side effects of these kinds of therapies are a common cause of treatment discontinuation."

To explore the efficacy of yogurt as a probiotic, the investigators first inoculated plates containing H. pylori isolated from eight patients with La5 or Bb12 in an in-vitro study. Results showed that Bb12 had an inhibitory effect on H. pylori in all eight samples, whereas La5 had no effect.

To confirm these results in vivo, 70 subjects testing positive for H. pylori infection were given AB-yogurt containing 10 7 colony-forming units per mL of La5 and Bb12 (n = 59) or unfermented milk placebo (n = 11) twice daily after meals for six weeks. The 13C-urea breath test ( 13C-UBT) was performed at baseline, four weeks, and eight weeks to determine bacterial load.

Administration of AB-yogurt resulted in significantly decreased 13C-UBT values compared with baseline at week 4 (30.1 ± 19.6 vs. 36.2 ± 19.4; P < .05) and week 8 (28.2 ± 15.8 vs. 36.2 ± 19.4; P < .05). Antral biopsy showed reduced H. pylori density ( P = .006) and gastritis activity ( P = .015) in 14 subjects.

"When the ingestion of AB-yogurt was stopped, the UBT values returned to pretreatment levels at week 16 in some patients," the authors write. "Therefore, the necessity for continuous ingestion is apparent. However, we need more research to standardize the dosages and timing of taking probiotics to reduce H. pylori infection in humans."

This study was supported by a grant from the National Science Council of the Executive Yuan of the Republic of China. The probiotic product was donated by its manufacturer, President Enterprise Corporation, Taiwan.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80:737-741

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

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