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Interest Surging in Probiotic Foods that Promote Health

SAN DIEGO, May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A growing body of research was presented at the symposium, "The Health Benefits of Probiotics" at the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) 37th Annual Conference. PAs from around the world who attended are an educational bridge to consumers and they desire to know more about these "friendly" bacteria and how to recommend them to their patients.

The symposium brought together scientific experts and medical doctors in the fields of gastroenterology, nutrition, microbiology and pediatrics to share cutting-edge research on the health effects of probiotics.

A world class panel of speakers, including Mary Ellen Sanders, PhD (International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics), W. Allan Walker, MD (Harvard Medical School), Yehuda Ringel, MD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Martin Floch, MD (Yale University School of Medicine) shared their extensive knowledge of the science of probiotics and their understanding of clinical applications for current preventive practices, treatments, and health promoting approaches.

Physician Assistants are increasingly asked to explain how probiotics like those in cultured dairy products and other foods or supplements can benefit the gastrointestinal tract, immunity, and health throughout the lifespan. This symposium provided the scientific evidence to help them do that.

Dr. W. Allan Walker, Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, presented data on some of the mechanisms by which probiotics are having their effect. "In infants, gut bacteria are acquired up until about 2 years of age. 'Good' bacteria consumed during this time can therefore promote the right type of bacterial colonization and can lead to enhanced immunity," said Walker.

Probiotics are a diverse group of live microorganisms. They are called "good" bacteria because they can provide health benefits when provided in the right amounts. Probiotics have been clinically shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of certain gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory infections, and allergic conditions. New research continues to emerge demonstrating their positive impact on health in all ages and in optimizing immune system function.

Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders described the vital role that bacteria play in our bodies. "Bacteria colonizing our bodies are numerous and vital. They outnumber our own cells 10-fold and are known to play critical roles in immune system development, maturation of intestinal cells and providing important metabolic functions that we can't do for ourselves. Probiotics can enhance these normal, beneficial activities of our colonizing microbes and have been shown to promote health in a variety of ways," she said.

There are numerous different probiotic foods and supplements available in the US market today. Probiotics are used worldwide and the US and European probiotic markets are expected to expand as more people become educated on their health benefits.

The program was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant provided by The Dannon Company, Inc. and Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.

For more information on probiotics, visit

A Web cast of the symposium will be made available at

Dannon and Yakult Continue to Advocate and Lead Probiotic Research and Education

In March 2004, Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. and Danone, the parent company of The Dannon Company, jointly established the Global Probiotics Council. The role of the GPC is to promote and advance probiotics in the world by raising public awareness through education, communicating the latest knowledge to relevant interest groups, and supporting collaborative research in the areas of probiotics and intestinal microbiota.

The Dannon Company is America's founding national yogurt company and continually leverages its expertise to develop and market innovative cultured fresh dairy products in the United States. Headquartered in White Plains, NY, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, and West Jordan, UT. The company produces and sells approximately 100 different types of flavors, styles and sizes of cultured fresh dairy products. Dannon is owned by Danone, one of the world's leading producers of packaged foods and beverages, and Dannon is the top-selling brand of yogurt products worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone. With a strong commitment to high-quality, wholesome, nutritious and innovative products, The Dannon Company is committed to encouraging healthy eating and living. This commitment is also illustrated through The Dannon Company's support of the Dannon Institute, an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting research, education, and communication about the links between nutrition, diet and health. For more information, please visit For more information on probiotics, visit

Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the world's pioneer in probiotics by introducing the first single shot probiotics drink, Yakult(R), in 1935. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, Yakult(R) contains high amounts of its signature strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult is committed to researching the endless applications for probiotics and the use of intestinal bacteria in human health around the world. The company has established two science institutes to support its efforts; one in Japan (Yakult Central Institute for Microbiological Research) and one in Europe (Yakult Honsha European Research Center for Microbiology ESV). Since developing its overseas network in 1964, Yakult has expanded its business to 32 countries and territories. In addition to producing the internationally recognized probiotic beverage, Yakult is also accredited in the pharmaceutical field for its development of Campto Injection (Camptosar), the first-line drug for colorectal cancer in the U.S. Yakult U.S.A. Inc., the subsidiary of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., is stationed in Torrance, CA. For more information, please visit,,

SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.; Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd.
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