Probiotics: Better off dead?

By Janet Raloff, 16:26 PM August 26, 2009

Vast and diverse microbial ecosystems form within our guts. Trillions of bacteria strong, these communities help digest our meals, manufacture vitamins, kill pathogens, neutralize food-poisoning agents and boost our immune defenses. When antibiotic therapy or disease wipes out huge numbers of these intestinal squatters, bloating, diarrhea and more can ensue. Ewwwww.

Fortunately, medicine has developed starter cultures of beneficial germs to recolonize antibiotic-ravaged guts, to boost immun...

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