Writing in the journal, the researchers state: "H. pylori is considered one of the major risk factors underlying the development of gastritis and gastric and duodenal ulcers. “Currently, antibiotic-based treatment for H. pylori infection is neither sufficient nor satisfactory, with the most successful treatments reaching 75 to 90% eradication rates. The use of probiotics is a potentially promising tool to prevent H. pylori."
The Spanish researchers tested a number of strains of bifidobacteria isolated from the feces of breast-fed infants for activity against H. pylori. One strain, Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366, under certain conditions, had an inhibition level of nearly 95% in vitro when its activity was tested against infection in mice.
After 21 days, mice treated with the probiotic strain developed significantly fewer ulcers than the control group. The researchers believe that the treatment partially relieved damage to gastric tissue caused by H. pylori infection. Ingestion of the bacteria did not cause any disease or mortality in both healthy and immuno-compromised mice.
The researchers conclude: "The results presented here confer to strain B. bifidum CECT 7366 the status of a probiotic bacterium with functional activity against H. pylori. Human clinical trials must be performed before commercialization of this strain can be approved."
About half the population carries H. pylori so when it is detected its eradication is strongly recommended, advised the researchers.
Although several studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the addition of certain probiotic bacteria and in vitro inhibition of H. pylori; the scientists highlighted that in vivo studies showing bifidobacterial activity against H. pylori are scarce.
Fermented dairy products
Bifidobacterium is often used in studies focused on the prevention of gastrointestinal infection. The bacterium is also commonly used in fermented dairy products or food supplements.
Meanwhile, a consultation conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) describe probiotics as "live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host."
The regular intake of probiotic microoganisms has been demonstrated to prevent several disorders including diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease, according to the consultation.
Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Title: Novel Probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum CECT 7366 Strain Active against the Pathogenic Bacterium Helicob acter pylori
Authors: E Chenoll, B Casinos, E Bataller, P Astals, J. Echevarría, J Iglesias, P Balbarie, D. Ramón, and S. Genovés.