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June 2009 Mayo Clinic Health Letter Highlights Probiotics, Carotid Artery and Breast Cancer Treatments
Date:7/7/2009

in taking probiotics.

Probiotic supplements come in capsules, tablets and powders. While exact doses haven't been determined, the general consensus is that a daily dose of about 10 billion colony-forming units is needed to provide benefits. Some foods contain probiotics, such as Dannon's Activia, Yoplait's YoPlus, fermented milk products such as Dannon's DanActive, miso, tempeh, some juices, soy products and those containing kefir. While some foods naturally contain probiotics, the amounts probably don't reach therapeutic levels.

Consulting a physician before starting probiotics is always a good idea. The care provider can offer recommendations on appropriate probiotic strains for specific health conditions as well as recommendations on reputable suppliers.

Multiple Treatments Available When Carotid Arteries Are Blocked

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The brain needs blood to function, and any blockage in the carotid arteries -- blood's primary pathway to the brain -- requires medical treatment.

Carotid artery blockages are serious. More than half of the strokes in the United States are attributed to carotid artery disease. But, according to an overview of carotid artery stenosis in the June issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, not all people with carotid artery disease need surgery or stents to open blocked arteries. The best treatment option depends on the extent of the blockage and whether patients have experienced symptoms as a result.

The carotid arteries run up both sides of the neck. With age, they become more prone to damage and less elastic. Damage that occurs on the inner layers of the arteries allows plaque to build up in a process call atherosclerosis. The changes result in narrowing of the arteries, restricting blood to the brain. Symptoms of a blockage -- and warning signs of stroke -- can include:

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