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A study from Helsinki, Finland shows that giving children in a day care center a milk that is loaded with good bacteria, called lactobacillus GG, helps prevent respiratory and intestinal infections. In the last few years, several studies show that good bacteria prevent diarrhea in children (1). Other research shows that these same bacteria help reduce swelling and ulceration in the intestines called Crohn's disease, and can help control allergic relations such as a skin rash called eczema (2,3,4).

You aren't likely to be infected as often as you used to be. We wash our hands before we eat, we preserve food with refrigeration and drying so that far less bacteria are in the food that we eat, we receive immnizations against bad infections, and we take antibiotics when we are infected. Eating foods that contain these good bacteria may stimulate the immune system, so it won't have to look for things to do and cause autoimmune disease and allergies. They may also provide good bacteria to fill up the intestinal tract so that other bad bacteria can't multiply as freely.

1) BMJ 2001;322:1327 ( 2 June ). Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. Katja Hatakka,Erkki Savilahti, Antti Pöönkää, Jukka H Meurman, Tuija Poussa, Leena Nääse, Maija Saxelin, Riitta Korpela.

2) Probiotics in human disease. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001, Vol 73, Iss 6, pp 1142S-1146S. E Isolauri.

3) Clinical applications of probiotic agents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001, Vol 73, Iss 6, pp 1147S-1151S. JM Saavedra.

4) Probiotics: future directions. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001, Vol 73, Iss 6, pp 1152S-1155S. JA Vanderhoof.

Checked 5/3/07

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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