A new type of yoghurt has been found to be effective against bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, according to a new study.
A type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or over-use of aspirin and or other nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs causes most stomach ulcers.
During the study, the research team led by Dr. Hajime Hatta, a chemist at Kyoto Women's University in Kyoto, Japan, found that H. pylori seems to rely on a protein called urease to attach to and infect the stomach lining.
The team suggested that drinking yogurt fortified with urease antibody could help ward off stomach ulcers.
During the study, the researchers injected chickens with urease, and allowed their immune systems to produce an antibody to the protein.
The team then harvested the antibody, called IgY-urease, from chicken eggs.
Hatta and colleagues theorized that yogurt containing the antibody might help prevent the bacteria from adhering to the stomach lining.
The team later recruited 42 people infected with H. pylori, who were asked to consume cups daily of either plain yogurt or yogurt containing the antibody for four weeks.
They found that levels of urea, a byproduct of urease, decreased significantly in the antibody group when compared with the control group, indicating reduced bacterial activity.
"The results indicate that the suppression of H. pylori infection in humans could be achieved by drinking yogurt fortified with urease antibody," Hatta said.
The antibody was eventually destroyed by stomach acid, but not before having its beneficial effect.
Hatta said although the yogurt appears less effective than antibiotics for reducing levels of H. pylori, it is a lot easier to take than medicine and can be eaten daily as part of regular dietary routine.
The study was presented at the 237th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.