Friendly Bacteria Like the Liver; Hate Nanoparticles

Montana Marlborough Sauvignon blanc in Iittala Glass
Probiotics with your wine may help stop alcohol-induced liver problems.
Probiotics are positive for your liver; bacteria say, “no” to nanoparticle waste and hospitals find new ways to prevent C. difficile infection. 

Nanoparticles Harmful to Beneficial Bacteria

New technologies leading to the production of useful nanoparticles have also led to the accumulation of nanoparticle waste that gets leaked to the environment. If these particles could be harmful to good soil bacteria was a question posed by researchers from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India. Using nanoparticles commonly produced from zinc oxide, they tried to alter the growth and enzyme profiles of two soil bacteria: Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. While the nanoparticles only appeared to affect the growth of B. subtilis, the enzyme profiles were seriously changed for each of the bacteria, affecting their ability to function. These results emphasize that nanoparticle waste is not an innocent by-stander in the microscopic living world.

Reducing Hospital Infections with Friendly Bacteria

In hospitals, the risk for an opportunistic Clostridium difficile infection is quite high after antibiotic treatment. C. difficule infection leads to diarrhea and requires yet more antibiotics to treat. In a large, open study involving tens of thousands of patients in Canada, probiotics were combined with general preventive measures to see if the numbers of patients succumbing to the infection could be reduced. Very significant reductions of the infection were noted, and the severity was also significantly lowered.

VSL#3 Loves Your Liver

VSL#3 is one of the most widely accepted, effective probiotic mixtures available on the market and is used for several intestinal ailments. In New Delhi, however, scientists attempted to see if it could be successfully used to improve the response rate of patients being treated for liver disease (cirrhosis). VSL#3 significantly improved the response rate in the patients and also reduced inflammatory markers.

Alcohol, Probiotics and a Toast to Liver Health

Using beneficial bacteria as a way to reduce inflammation in alcoholic liver disease has shown promise in earlier studies. To gain insight into the some of the mechanisms behind this effect, researchers from China measured liver inflammation after Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG therapy in a rodent model of alcoholic liver disease. Treatment with the bacteria reduced signs of hepatic inflammation and liver injury. This appeared to be the result of the probiotics reducing the sensitivity of immune cells to toxins produced by the intestinal flora.

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