“Rich in probiotics, yogurt may reduce the uptake of food-based heavy metals and toxins.

Yogurt – image from Shutterstock
In many developing nations, environmental toxin exposure can occur via dietary sources.  JR Mwanga, from the National Institute for Medical Research (Tanzania), and colleagues report that probiotic-rich yogurt may reduce the uptake of food-based heavy metals and toxins.  The researchers enrolled 60 pregnant women and 44 school-aged children, residing in a region of Tanzania known for high environmental pollution, in a study in which the participants consumed a yogurt rich in Lactobacillus rhamnosus, for 19 days.   Among the pregnant women, the probiotic-rich yogurt protected from mercury uptake by up to 26% and arsenic by up to 78%.  The children showed positive, but not statistically significant results.  The study authors urge that: “Probiotic food … represents a nutritious and affordable means for people in some developing countries to counter exposures to toxic metals.”

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Bisanz JE, Enos MK, Mwanga JR, Changalucha J, Burton JP, Gloor GB, Reid G.  “Randomized open-label pilot study of the influence of probiotics and the gut microbiome on toxic metal levels in tanzanian pregnant women and school children.”  MBio. 2014 Oct 7;5(5). pii: e01580-14.”

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