Study: New yogurt fights gastritis, stomach ulcers with vaccine-like effects
SALT LAKE CITY Results of the first human clinical studies confirm that a new yogurt fights the bacteria that cause gastritis and stomach ulcers with what researchers describe as almost vaccine-like effects, scientists in Japan reported last week at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Researchers have long known that yogurt, a fermented milk product containing live bacteria, is a healthy source of calcium, protein and other nutrients. Some brands of yogurt are now made with probiotics — certain types of bacteria intended to improve health. The new yogurt could represent a unique approach to fighting stomach ulcers, which affect 25 million people in the United States, and is part of a growing “functional food” market that now generates $60 billion in sales annually.
“With this new yogurt, people can now enjoy the taste of yogurt while preventing or eliminating the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers,” stated study coordinator Hajime Hatta, a chemist at Kyoto Women’s University in Kyoto, Japan.
The new yogurt is already on store shelves in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The study opens the door to possible arrival of the product in the U.S., the researchers suggested.
A type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or over-use of aspirin and or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, causes most stomach ulcers. H. pylori ulcers can be effectively treated and eliminated with antibiotics and acid suppressants. New research also links childhood H. pylori infection to malnutrition, growth impairment and other health problems.
In the new study, Hatta and colleagues pointed out that H. pylori relies on a protein called urease to attach to and infect the stomach lining. In an effort thwart that protein, or antigen, Hatta turned to classic vaccine-making technology. They injected chickens with urease and allowed the chickens’ immune systems to produce an antibody to the protein. The researchers then harvested the antibody, called IgY-urease, from chicken eggs. Hatta and colleagues theorized that yogurt containing the antibody may help prevent the bacteria from adhering to the stomach lining.
To test their theory, the scientists recruited 42 people who tested positive for H. pylori. The volunteers consumed two cups daily of either plain yogurt or yogurt containing the antibody for four weeks. Levels of urea, a byproduct of urease, decreased significantly in the antibody group when compared with the control group, indicating reduced bacterial activity, the researchers say.
“The results indicate that the suppression of H. pylori infection in humans could be achieved by drinking yogurt fortified with urease antibody,” Hatta stated. The antibody was eventually destroyed by stomach acid, but not before having its beneficial effect.
Although the yogurt appears less effective than antibiotics for reducing levels of H. pylori, it is a lot easier to take than medicine and can be eaten daily as part of regular dietary routine, Hatta said. The antibody does not affect the yogurt’s overall taste and does not cause any apparent adverse side effects, he notes.
AAFA, Alcon team up to spread allergy awareness
FORT WORTH, Texas An eye care company will work with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to educate patients about treating allergy symptoms quickly and efficiently.
The AAFA and Alcon announced Friday that they will begin spreading the word about seasonal allergies and treatment through media outlets.
“There are some new concepts and new treatments for the springtime problems people are already experiencing,” University of North Texas Health Science Center clinical professor Bobby Lanier said. “Doctors have just completed their annual conference on allergy and are eager to join our friends at AAFA and communicate about these advances.”
Seasonal allergies affect 40 to 50 million people in the United States and are one of the major reasons for work and school absenteeism, according to the AAFA.
ProActive Remedies develops drug for food-allergy sufferers
FORT COLLINS, Colo. ProActive Remedies on Thursday announced the launch of its homeopathic food allergy treatment called Allertherapy.
The methodology behind Allertherapy is similar in concept to allergy shots, the company noted, in that it helps build immunity to allergens and maintains that immunity over time. The oral spray uses a low, homeopathic allergen strength of one part per million to allow for safety of use in most allergy sufferers. The food mix contains many of the most common allergy-causing foods.
Because Allertherapy contains allergens, it is important to note that those with severe allergies must only use this treatment with doctor approval and under doctor supervision, the company stated.