Scientists come closer to defining benefits of probiotics

The digestive health benefits offered by probiotics are now better understood following the publication of new research from University College Cork.

A study conducted by the Irish institution, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, discovered the genes that are responsible for allowing probiotic bacteria to colonise the intestine.
By sequencing the DNA of Bifidobacterium breve UCC2003, scientists were able to show that the organisms produce finger-like appendages called TAD pili that help them to live in the gut.

Professor Fergus Shanahan, director of the university’s Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, said the research is a “significant step towards understanding the interaction between bifidobacteria and their host and how the microbiota influences gastrointestinal health”.
Knowledge such as this is essential in order to scientifically explain the digestive health benefits associated with probiotics.
Also known as friendly bacteria, probiotics are often used by people to help with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and even tooth decay.