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'Friendly' Bacteria Can Benefit Health Throughout the Lifecycle
Date:10/6/2008

Experts Discuss Promising Research at The American College of Nutrition

Annual Meeting

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- New research on the benefits of probiotics in children and seniors was presented at The American College of Nutrition (ACN) Annual Meeting in a symposium, "Practical Applications of Probiotics in Health and Disease." Scientific experts in the fields of pediatrics, aging, and nutrition discussed the potential uses for probiotics in children as well as the elderly, and for health conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Probiotics are used worldwide and in the US they are one of the most rapidly growing categories of functional food. Probiotics are living "friendly" bacteria, like those in certain active-culture dairy drinks that can provide health benefits. Evidence is showing that specific strains of probiotics can improve digestive health and enhance immune function when consumed regularly.

Dr. Allan Walker, Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, led a world class panel of speakers in summarizing the role of probiotics in pediatrics. "Infants don't have all of their gut bacteria at birth as they acquire it up until about 2 years of age. Probiotics are 'good' bacteria, which can promote healthy colonization of bacteria in the gut during this time, leading to enhanced immunity," said Walker.

Dr. Mary Ellen Sanders, a consultant specializing in probiotics, provided an overview of the studies showing the benefits of probiotics and health. She said, "compelling new studies are showing how probiotics can help keep healthy people healthy. One study showed a decreased incidence of common infectious diseases among kids in day care." She stressed the fact that each individual strain of probiotic can act differently, so a probiotic that helps with digestion may be different from one that supports the immune system.

Dr. Stefano Guandalini, Professo
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