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Probiotics May Protect Pregnant Women from Mercury and Arsenic

Study provides the first positive evidence for the use of probiotics to combat toxic heavy metal exposure in vulnerable human populations.

Mercury and arsenic stand as two of the world’s largest dietary threats. Pregnant women especially, who must care for two bodies simultaneously, may fall ill as a result of tainted fish and contaminated water. Researchers from London, Ontario’s Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University, now have evidence that suggests healthy gut bacteria found in ordinary probiotic yogurt could help cut heavy metal levels in women’s bodies.

Medical Daily.com original article here: http://www.medicaldaily.com/probiotic-yogurt-may-protect-pregnant-women-mercury-and-arsenic-306467

Two populations suspected to have high toxic metal exposures were studied. A group of 44 school-aged children was followed over 25 days, and 60 pregnant women were followed over their last two trimesters until birth. A yogurt containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus was administered, while control groups received either whole milk or no intervention. Changes in blood metal levels were assessed, and the gut microbiomes of the children were profiled. The children and pregnant women in the study were found to have elevated blood levels of lead and mercury compared to age- and sex-matched Canadians. Consumption of probiotic yogurt had a protective effect against further increases in mercury and arsenic blood levels in the pregnant women, but this trend was not statistically significant in the children.

Probiotic food produced locally represents a nutritious and affordable means for people in some developing countries to counter exposures to toxic metals. Species of lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain, used here in probiotic yogurt, are known to have an affinity for many toxic metals, including lead and cadmium, and we have also found activities of such bacteria against mercury, arsenic, and various organic pesticides. The study aimed to determine blood metal levels and to measure if consumption of probiotic yogurt had an effect on blood metal levels. It is also the first study to assess the impact of administration of a probiotic food on toxic metal levels in people living in the developing world. The studies provided the first positive evidence for the use of probiotics to combat toxic heavy metal exposure in vulnerable human populations. With the added dose of helpful bacteria, women were able to resist new mercury uptake by 36 percent and arsenic uptake by 78 percent.

You may read the entire study at mBio published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Pedagogy Education has just released a new online continuing education course entitled Probiotics.

Holistic nurse and author Brooke Lounsbury reviews what probiotic and prebiotics are, how they affect the body, along with ways to achieve better health through the best sources of probiotic supplementation. To learn more about this course click on the title. You may register and start your online course today.
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