According to the CDC, food-borne diseases cause nearly 76 million illnesses, 325 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. This year, salmonella-contaminated peanut butter caused 691 infections in 46 states, while e. coli-tainted spinach made 200 people ill in 2006. In fact, as a recent Harris Interactive poll found, 73% of Americans are as concerned about food safety as they are about the war on terror.
Scared much? Fear less! We found a little, chewable tablet which, when taken three times a day, might make us immune to at least one of these illnesses.
A recent study from University College in Ireland found that probiotic strains helped reduce incidence, severity and duration of symptoms of pigs infected with salmonella, the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in humans. Probiotics are living microorganisms that regulate bacteria in the immune system and digestive track.
Researchers don’t know exactly why they work—they just know that they do. Some theorize that probiotics work to strengthen the intestinal lining, allowing it to act more efficiently as a barrier to destructive organisms, or that the antimicrobial substances that they secrete can destroy harmful bacteria.
Which brings us to probiotics. In the past we’ve written about kombucha, a tea rich in probiotics that also includes naturally occurring active enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols which combine to improve digestion, regulate metabolism, enhance immune function, aid weight loss, balance the appetite, assist liver function and maintain the health of skin, hair and cells.
Today, we’ll just settle for not getting sick, and to that end there’s patent-pending Vidazorb, chewable probiotic formulations that contain five billion bacterial colony-forming units (CFUs) per dose. Five billion might seem like a lot, but the fact that the human body is made up of a staggering one quadrillion bacteria and the gastrointestinal tract hosts a massive 100 trillion bugs puts it in perspective. In a system this big, we need a lot of tiny bacteria—five billion, to be exact—so we can start worrying about bigger things.
Like war, maybe.