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Probiotic Lactobacillus Decreases Risk of Pneumonia in Hospitalized Patients.

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A number of previous studies have reported that consuming probiotic or “good bacteria” like Lactobacillusor Bifidobacterium can reduce the risk of many bacterial intestinal infections such as Closteridium difficule or Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci.  Such probiotic bacteria can also reduce risk of infections in places other than the digestive tract as well.

A study of 138 hospitalized patients on ventilator machines gave 68 patients Lactobacillus rhamnosusbacteria by mouth or feeding tube.  Seventy other patients were given placebo.  The patients given the probiotic bacteria had significantly less risk of developing pneumonia (19%) as compared to the patients given placebo (40%).  The probiotic patients also had 75% fewer days of diarrhea than the patients given placebo (results also statistically very significant).  No adverse health effects of the patients given the probiotic Lactobacillus were found.   This research by Morrow et al. is now in press at the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Eating probiotic bacteria is especially important for people who have had treatment with antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill off good intestinal bacteria like Lactobacillus.  Antibiotics also promote growth of bad fungi like Candida and bad bacteria like Closteridium difficile.  Patients who have received antibiotics should then replenish their good bacteria like Lactobacillus by consuming probiotics following antibiotic administration.      

Probiotic bacteria may be obtained through yogurt with active cultures of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria or by probiotic bacteria capsules/tablets obtainable in pharmacies or health food stores.   Much more research is needed on the health effects of probiotic bacteria.  Please “stay tuned”. 

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