Recently, in a report presented at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, it was revealed that there is a new yogurt which appears to have the ability to fight the bacteria responsible for gastritis and stomach ulcers.
In the report, which was based upon the result of human clinical studies, Japanese researchers claimed that ingesting the yogurt is comparable to the effects of innoculation by a vaccine for both conditions.
Yogurt, a fermented milk product, has long been known to be a healthy source of calcium, protein and various other nutrients. Currently, many brands of yogurt contain probiotics (i.e., certain types of bacteria believed by many alternative and allopathic practitioners to have beneficial impacts on many digestive issues).
This new kind of yogurt may represent a unique approach to fighting stomach ulcers. It is perhaps the latest product in the ever growing, “functional food,” market, which now generates some $60 million in annual sales. Indeed, stomach ulcers affect some 25 million people annually in the United States alone.
The study’s coordinator, Hajime Hatta, a chemist at Kyoto Women’s University, in Japan, had this to say: “With this new yogurt, people can enjoy the taste of yogurt, while preventing or eliminating the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers.”
Researchers are hopeful that the new yogurt, which is already available in Japan (under the name “Dr. Piro”), Korea (under the name “Gut”,) and Taiwan will soon be on the shelves in the United States.
Most stomach ulcers are now known to be caused by a bacteria, known as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), or by overuse of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In the past H. pylori ulcers have been effectively treated and eliminated with antibiotics and acid suppressants; however, for millions of poverty-stricken people who suffer from H. pylori ulcers, such treatments may simply be unavailable.
Research has linked childhood H. pylori-induced ulcers to more serious health problems like malnutrition and impaired growth. Scientists have long been at a loss to find a more economical and accessible way of treating these bacteria.
In the study, Hatta and colleagues point out that H. pylori appears to depend upon a protein known as urease to attach itself to and infect the lining of the stomach. The researchers used classic vaccine-creation techniques in their efforts to thwart the effects of the urease protein, injecting chickens with urease, and allowing the chickens to produce antibodies to the protein. The researchers harvested the antibody, IgY-urease, from the eggs of the chickens, postulating that the consumption of yogurt containing IgY-urease might help to prevent the bacteria from adhering to the lining of the stomach.
The study consisted of a group of 42 people, all of whom suffered from H. pylori ulcers, who were segregated into 2 groups, one group was fed 2 cups daily of untreated yogurt and the other group was fed yogurt containing the antibody. At the end of the 4-week study, urease levels in the latter group had decreased significantly.
Yogurt and Ulcers
Ultimately, although the yogurt appears to be somewhat less effective than antibiotics in treating H. pylori ulcers, it is certainly more accessible and can be eaten every day. The antibody has no effect upon the taste of the yogurt.
Researchers cautioned, however, that since yogurt is a dairy product that also contains egg yolk, those with an allergy to dairy or eggs should not consume this new “anti-ulcer” yogurt. Furthermore, unlike antibiotics, which once taken, can permanently eliminate the problem, the yogurt must be eaten on a consistent basis. So, it would appear that unless an individual wishes to avoid use of an antibiotic, it might well be more beneficial to partake of the permanent solution than to commit to use of a product for the duration of one’s lifespan.