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New Yogurt Fights Stomach Ulcers

Yogurt Developed in Japan Targets Bacteria That Cause Gastritis and Stomach Ulcers
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

March 22, 2009 -- A new yogurt, already on the shelves in some Asian countries, may offer a tasty new way to prevent and treat stomach ulcers.

Japanese researchers say the yogurt they developed fights bacteria that cause gastritis and stomach ulcers. Researchers presented the findings of a clinical trial at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City.

Yogurt, a fermented milk product containing live bacteria, is already known as a healthy food, with plenty of calcium, protein, and other nutrients.

"With this new yogurt, people can now enjoy the taste of yogurt while preventing or eliminating the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers," study coordinator Hajime Hatta, a chemist at Kyoto Women's University in Kyoto, Japan, says in a written statement.

Many ulcers are caused by a bacterium called H. pylori or by overuse of aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. H. pylori ulcers can be treated with antibiotics and acid suppressants. Researchers think their yogurt may be another option.

H. pylori uses an enzyme called urease to attach to and infect the inside of the stomach. This latest yogurt, designed to fight stomach ulcers, contains an antibody called IgY-urease. The yogurt is marketed as Dr. Piro in Japan and as Gut in Korea. Researchers are hopeful that their clinical trial will pave the way for approval in the United States.

The researchers tested whether ingesting an antibody to urease would help suppress infection from H. pylori.

For the trial, scientists recruited 42 people who tested positive for H. pylori. Some participants ate the yogurt with the antibody three times a day for four weeks. Some participants ate the same amount of regular yogurt that didn't contain the antibody. H. pylori activity was significantly reduced in the antibody yogurt group.

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