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General Health Channel
Reported January 17, 2013

Healthy Bacteria Helping HIV Patients?

 

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Probiotics can do wonders to help the digestive system, as many have heard if they have ever seen a yogurt commercial. It turns out that the good bacteria found in foods like yogurt may offer even better results for people who are HIV positive. 
 
Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease discovered that by supplementing probiotics in patients with HIV, even those currently being treating with antiretroviral drugs, can improve gastrointestinal immune function and lower inflammation in the intestines.
 
Intestinal inflammation is a serious concern for individuals with HIV because it harms intestinal walls. If the walls are damaged, then intestinal microbes can leak into the blood stream and cause infections such as C. difficile. 
 
The study tested whether or not probiotic supplements would in fact help HIV patients by using macaques, a type of monkey, infected with SIV, a model to HIV in humans. The SIV infected macaques were then given only antiretroviral drugs or antiretroviral drugs along with probiotics. 
 
Results showed that the macaques that received the drugs and probiotic supplements had less intestinal inflammation as well as better gastrointestinal immune function. 
 
Further studies need to be done using human HIV patients to ensure that they would have the same benefits, but these results are promising for the development of new routines to improve HIV treatment.
 
Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation, January 2013
 
 
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