Yakult Hosts Scientific Symposium on Probiotics and Infectious Diseases


Oct 01, 2010, 14:00 ET from Yakult U.S.A. Inc.

TORRANCE, Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Yakult U.S.A. Inc. supported a high-level symposium at the American Academy of Family Physicians' annual conference to provide physicians with the latest information on probiotics and the positive implications for the immune system. The scientific assembly called "Infections and Health: How Can Probiotics Help?" was held in Denver yesterday and brought together world-class researchers to discuss this very timely and promising area of research. This symposium was moderated by Brian Wegner, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado's School of Medicine, and offered family practitioners a deeper understanding on how probiotics may help improve intestinal health and provide protection against infectious diseases. The conference was made possible by an unrestricted educational grant provided by Yakult U.S.A. Inc.

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Mary Ellen Sanders, Ph.D., Executive Director of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) and Consultant for Dairy and Food Culture Technologies, began the symposium by explaining the central role probiotics play in metabolism, immune development, and pathogen defense, and how by complementing the native microbes, probiotics enhance their beneficial effects. Also discussed were some notable effects of probiotics and their gradual entry into modern markets. Dr. Sanders also emphasized that the effects of probiotics depend on the dose, the specific strain used and product format. Currently, there are no probiotics which can be considered drugs and strong scientific evidence in humans is necessary to document their potential health benefits.

W. Allan Walker, M.D., Conrad Taff Professor of Nutrition and Pediatrics, Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Mucosal Immunology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, continued the session by highlighting the importance of colonizing microbes at birth in establishing an innate immune system. He discussed how probiotics are useful in pediatric populations for improving an unfavorable composition of bacteria in the gut. Probiotics have been shown in scientific studies to help reduce incidence of respiratory and intestinal infection, colic, atopic dermatitis, and have even reduced the duration and severity of symptoms in patients with rotaviral gastroenteritis.

Martin Floch, MD, MACG, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine and Editor of the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, shared that the two main functions of probiotics are to react across the mucus layer of the small intestine with the host immune system and to help ferment the contents of the large intestine, making products such as short chain fatty acids. It was stressed that in disease states, probiotic effects vary depending on the strain used. In general, however, Grade A recommendations have been established for using probiotics for reducing the symptoms of acute and chronic diarrhea, antibiotic associated diarrhea, pouchitis, allergy to cow's milk, atopic dermatitis, and positively affecting the immune system.

For more information about probiotics, visit www.yakultusaprobiotics.com

Yakult U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd., is headquartered in Torrance, CA and currently distributes Yakult, one of the world's leading probiotic beverages, in the U.S. and Canadian markets. Founded by microbiologist Dr. Minoru Shirota, each bottle of Yakult contains around 8 billion of the company's proprietary strain, Lactobacillus casei Shirota. In its commitment to researching the endless applications for probiotics in human health around the world, The Yakult Company has established two science institutes: 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 regions. 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.  For more information about the company, visit www.yakultusa.com

SOURCE Yakult U.S.A. Inc.